In Division 4, Discovering Different Types of Teaching

By Division I Media & Journalism reporter Isabel

Last month, the Division 4 Humanities classes visited several schools around Boston to examine different forms of learning. They observed a variety of classes to see choices that teachers make -- like what kinds of students they called on -- and they particularly focused on choices that seemed based on gender. The class has been learning about education this trimester, and the school visits were an opportunity to observe learning as an outsider, rather than an active student.

I interviewed Naomi, a Division 4 junior, about her experience. She visited the School Within a School at Brookline High, and observed classes including “African Literature” and “Writers of Color.” She noticed that students in these classes often called on each other, rather than relying on the teacher, and she also noticed a lot of conversations between the students. She also observed that in African Literature the boys were more comfortable talking than the girls; Naomi thinks this might have been because there was a male teacher. In Writers of Color, however, it was the opposite -- the girls were more comfortable talking.

Now, the students are creating projects in which they write marginalia around the notes they took during their school visits. This will show their thinking about the visit, along with the connections they made between their observations and authors they’ve read -- like bell hooks, Paolo Freire, and John Dewey -- throughout the class.

Naomi said the opportunity to do a school visit was amazing. Reflecting on the trip, she said, “Being able to observe different teaching styles gave me a chance to understand my own education in the context of others.”

Meridian Academy