ERIC Number: ED222474
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Where is the Subject Matter?: How the Social Organization of the Classroom Affects Teaching.
Anang, Arlene; Lanier, Perry
Two ninth-grade classrooms and the dynamics between the social organization of the classroom and the teaching of subject matter were studied. A general mathematics and a social studies class, both geared for the academically deficient, were observed during one academic year. Observations focused on student and teacher behavior in the two classes and on the events, both social and academic, to which students and teachers reacted. The two teachers differed in their goals, expectations, and classroom organizational structures. The mathematics teacher's goals focused on the students' general knowledge and attitudes about the specific subject matter, while the social studies teacher's goals were oriented toward general skills that were applicable to most subjects. The social studies teacher viewed the students' learning problems and limitations as "end-point factors"--factors that prohibited the teacher from teaching or focusing more on subject matter. The mathematics teacher treated these problems and limitations as "beginning-points"--the place to begin planning and instruction. The mathematics teacher supported students as he worked directly with them, and he encouraged them to attempt higher level tasks. The social studies teacher attempted to gain student cooperation and participation by reducing the level of risk in any task through giving answers to the students and making classroom work easy. The differing goals and expectations of the teachers influenced their choices and the depth to which they could present subject matter. The relative positions of the subject matter and the social organization in the two classrooms affected the students' opportunities to learn. (JD)
Descriptors: Classroom Environment, Classroom Techniques, Grade 9, Group Dynamics, High Schools, Individual Instruction, Mathematics Instruction, Social Studies, Student Reaction, Student Teacher Relationship, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Behavior, Teacher Response, Teaching Styles
Institute for Research on Teaching, College of Education, Michigan State University, 252 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824 ($3.00).
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Inst. for Research on Teaching.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (Los Angeles, CA, December 1981).