ERIC Number: ED272617
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Ethnography of the Worst Class Syndrome.
Gillick, Maureen T.
An ethnographic study was conducted in an elementary school to test the theory that teacher's self-described "worst classes" were those with a predominance of remedial reading students. Predictions of worst classes were made upon the basis of the schedules of students in the school reading laboratory. Designated teachers were asked to identify, using criteria of their own choosing, which was their "worst" class. During interviews with the teachers, the theory was supported, but it seemed likely that the presence of a significant group of reluctant readers in a class was only one of several characteristics that made it teacher's "worst." Other common factors were found to be: (1) a higher ratio of male to females students; (2) a higher incidence of students from the lowest academic rank; (3) a large number of repeating students; (4) a large number of repeaters who are simultaneously taking two or more sequential courses in the same subject; and (5) class scheduled late in the day. The identification of patterns characteristic of "worst classes" can be useful in alleviating some of the teachers' problems. It becomes imperative, for instance, that a teacher be aware of the sequence of learning that a student, because of repeating the class, may be experiencing. Classes that build upon prior knowledge will suffer if they are taken concurrently. Moreover, simple scheduling changes can modify many of the "worst class" patterns. (KH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: For a related document, see UD 025 022.