The Puzzling Truth : A Practicum Observation Of A Mentor Teacher & Senior Government Students

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The Disconcerting Truth:
A Practicum Observation of a Mentor Teacher & Senior Government Students Thirty-six desks were placed in six rows of six and each one faced the SMART board awaiting the third block seniors to come in for their government class. The adjacent cement walls had no artwork, posters, or examples of student success. In a list of three, the only whiteboard contained the class’ plan for the day, but the faded green marker rendered it indecipherable from across the room. The objectives were, “1. CNN News, 2. Begin Chapter 3 Vocabulary, 3. Preamble,” with no explanation or elaboration. From the back of the room, a screen separated the government class from another history class. There had been chatter echoing
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When the video ended all but three students were on their phone or asleep, some of each of these two categories even have headphones in. Rather than address the situation, the MT called from his desk that it was time to move on to their next activity. Though the board listed vocabulary and the majority of the class were pulling out the classroom set of textbooks from under their desks the MT pulled up another video. He asked the class if anyone already knew the preamble. When no one answered the question the MT asked what the preamble was or where it could be found. Again, no one answered. Clicking play on the School House Rock video there was an instant symphony of groaning and recognition. As soon as it finished the students were told that they had one week to memorize the preamble and recite it in front of their peers for a test grade. The class was instantly full of chatter, mostly complaints and questions- none of which were answered, but the MT announced that anyone that performed the preamble at the end of class that day would be given extra credit, which seemed to quell about half of those talking. The last activity on the board was the vocabulary, some of the students were working on it and others were reading and practicing the preamble, some alone and others in groups. Confused I asked three students what they were doing with the vocabulary. They showed me the twenty vocabulary
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