There were plenty of other interesting observations. Despite the fact that I selected students that exhibit problems behaviors as well as students that did not, the problems still persisted within the discussion, even with students that they do not typically interact with. While this is surprising, it is not at all discouraging. In fact, it was good to see the students coming together, even if they do not typically interact with each other in the larger classroom context. Additionally, each group developed a sort of group leader. This was not necessarily someone that led the discussion, but rather was consistent in contributing comments that were a distraction to the conversation on hand. The others were humored by their behavior and at some points made working within the groups difficult, but I am familiar with these behaviors already.
When I inquired about specific distracting behaviors in the classroom, most students applauded me efforts to reduce them in the classroom. However, I feel there was an error in a way I approached this with the students. I feel that I made them think that my goal was to find a way to stop problem behaviors after they start occurring. What I am really trying to do is to abolish problem behaviors before they happen; prevent behaviors from occurring in the future. I feel this was lost on my students.
I still have another group to work with tomorrow, so I will not draw conclusions just yet. Rather, I will use the lessons I have learned from the conferences today to guide and shape the conversation tomorrow with two new students groups. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s reflection to see if there will be any changes or new evidence presented.