Punjabi Language Classroom Observations - Creative Writing on Teaching

8 pages
1990 words
Middlebury College
Type of paper: 
Creative writing
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The following is a reflection of what takes place in my classroom. I am Mrs. Grewal, and I teach students who are born in the United States but have a Punjabi origin. They are in my class to ensure that they get to learn of the Punjabi language and become proficient speakers of the language. My class is Punjabi 2 which is mainly made up of the tenth and eleventh-grade students. I am currently teaching the class as an intern and help the students learn the unique language. The class is made of students who are diverse in how they learn and interact with each other. The students often engage in other school activities and attend other classes around the school. The class often acts a way of taking the students back to their roots and helping them keep in touch with who they are. I always ensure that activities that take place in the classroom are inclusive of the opinions of the students. Therefore, when I was working on developing class rules at the beginning of the year, I ensured that each student was involved so that they would own these rules thus adhering to them. The paper therefore focuses on gaining an understanding of the dynamics of the classroom including how the class physical arrangement will affect how the students learn, the various forms of collaborations that take place in the classroom and their importance, the teachers classroom management system and how it affects the environment in the classroom.


I often have a specific arrangement for my classroom. There are four rows of tables with three tables in each row which ensure that students can sit next to each other. The arrangement also facilitates students helping each other out, engaging in pair-sharing and working together on assignments. The classroom also has some whiteboards where the students face as the class is in progress. I always use the middle whiteboard as the screen for the projector as I facilitate the class and display lessons and activities students need to engage in. Every student access to the necessary information and objectives for the specific class as it is often displayed on the white board. As the teacher for the class, I have also displayed various items made by students on one wall of the classroom. Some of the items include drawings that are a representation the Punjabi culture, which help the students to often reflect on how the culture and language could be. I also ensure that I display various posters that are necessary for the students learning experience. The rest of the walls around the classroom display posters that have information on what the School expects from each student regarding achievement and behavior. Above the whiteboard used as the screen for the projector, I have placed another poster that has information on the annotation of a text in Punjabi and students are often encouraged to refer to the poster as they work on any assignments, texts or documents that require annotation.

Students conduct in the classroom reveals that they have an understanding of the rules and procedures of the classroom. There is often a form of organization in how they conduct class activities and how they settle down for the start of various learning activities. I have a developed website (Class Dojo) which I often use to plan the participation of each student in class activities. The Dojo is always effective in randomly selecting students to engage in reading from the board or share a response. Students are also motivated to participate in class through the awarding of Dojo points that are eventually included in their quarterly results. Students are also encouraged to read and share out loud, and I have inculcated it in how they participate as they always stand and share out loud for the rest of the class to hear them whenever they are selected to share a response. There are instances when students will engage in off-task behaviors. These behaviors include talking with other classmates, playing with phones, concentrating on their Chromebooks or being on a web page which is unrelated to what is going on in class. There are instances when I often notice the off-task behavior, and I always address the student at a personal level. I often talk to the student and ask him or her to stop the off-task behavior and take away the gadget that he or she is using for example phones. When I catch students talking to each other, I usually separate them to stop their unnecessary interactions. There are limited cases when I send some students to the Intervention Center (IC). It can happen when I feel that the student behavior is overly disruptive to the entire class.

In addition to the school rules, I have also implemented my class rules. I expect that during class each student has no food or drinks, no headphones or cellphones. Every student called upon to read or give a response, is expected to stand while doing so and have journals and a fully charged Chromebook for class. Students are also expected to access Google Classroom for projects, lessons, and activities that pertain to the class. Another rule is that every student will speak Punjabi at all times as long as they are in my class. In instances where students violate the rule, the culprit needs to stand in front of the class sing a Punjabi song as he or she dances to it. It is important that students do not speak English in my class and the consequence of singing before the whole class ensures a form of adherence to the rule. Any student who violates a class rule will face the consequences on a step sequence. They can be sent to IC; some get a verbal warning, I often call their home in some cases, visiting an administrator or school counselor, suspension and expulsion. However, the class is subject to mild forms of punishment especially a mediation with me as the teacher or calling their parents, and they eventually change. There are no instances of more serious consequences like suspension or expulsion.


I believe that my students need to have a meaningful and respectful learning experience and therefore I work on structuring the class in a way that fulfills the function. As the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP) Standard 2 stipulates, every professional teacher needs to develop and maintain an effective environment for student learning (CTC, 2009). Specifically, Standard 2.2 calls for the encouragement of productive and constructive interactions among students and a reflection of diversity through the development of effective virtual and physical learning environments (CTC, 2009). It is necessary that students have a virtual environment including Google Classroom, Chromebooks and the Class Dojo which I often use in my class. Both the virtual and physical spaces usually help and develop the learning experience of students. My class is diverse to the point of including students from all over the town and even the state. I also have space on one of the classroom walls with items that best describe the Punjabi language and culture in totality. Such a class characteristic ensures that the diversity existent in the Punjabi language helps develop the appropriate type of motivation, interaction and relationships the students have amongst themselves. Students gain the unlimited freedom to express themselves, know each other therefore developing positive relationships and friendships in the process.

According to Curwin, Mendler, and Mendler (2008) (2008), a teacher will feel more connected to the students if he or she is more aware of his or her students, their home life, their surroundings and their culture. It is necessary that teachers have the ability to know their students more than what is available on their Aeries profile. The teacher can develop the appropriate connection with the students and identify the themes and topics to include in-class activities that will help involve the students at a personal level. The class environment will be fun, enjoyable and safe once students develop a connection with each other and their teacher (Saphier, Haley-Speca, & Gower, 2008). According to the stipulations of Standard 2.2 of CSTP, I work on encouraging my students to engage in productive and constructive interactions. The physical arrangement of the class where students sit next to each other and help one another as they engage in constructive and productive interaction. As the teacher, I encourage students to correct each other in case they make mistakes on the pronunciation of words or if they are struggling with understanding any concept. The class has students who in my opinion, seem like good teachers and I usually give them an opportunity to work with the rest of the class as I help one student. It ensures that the class is more student-centered than instructor-focused because there is a significant amount of interaction between the students as I guide them on what to do.

The class is also characteristic of the Standard 2.1 of the CSTP which focuses on the promotion of fairness and respect thus ensuring social development within a community that is caring (CTC, 2009). I always treat my students with value and dignity. As I guide the students, I am always careful not to put them down in cases where they are not correct, or they have made a mistake. It is necessary for Punjabi learning students to be treated with respect and inspiration to protect their self-esteem and help them to improve their learning experience further. They are always proud when at the end of the class they have a precise grasp of what has taken place during the specific class.


Working as an intern with the Punjabi class has had a significant impact on my overall teaching experience. My career is in its initial phases of development, and I believe that the interaction that I have encountered so far is necessary for my development as an effective language teacher. So far, I have learned to develop a fair and respectful environment for all students in my class. I have also identified how to make the classroom experience as interactive and fun as possible to ensure that students enjoy class even as they interact with new concepts in the class. Diversity is essential in such a class, and it is necessary for me to work on including different concepts of the Punjabi culture into the course content. I also focus on including more fun activities for example learning songs in the Punjabi language which will ensure increased interaction among the students. I also understand that the language is new to the students and even though they have a Punjabi origin they are accustomed to the English language. They need a step by step instruction and guidance to ensure that they enjoy the class as much as possible. I will incorporate more activities in the course that will help the students develop their interest in the language. For example, I will get exercises from online sources including educative videos done in the Punjabi language and demand that students engage in these activities as groups. I also plan on pushing students to do more research by themselves through assigning of tasks that students will work on when away from class. I believe that my form of punishment for when students speak English during class time is also helping students learn the language as they have to sing in the language as they dance. Other forms of punishment also ensure that students remain disciplined and act as the class and the school demand. I will also ensure that students continue to interact and help each other out to help them develop working relationships that help them not only in my class and around the school but in their day-to-day lives.

As a teacher, the dynamics of the class are often important in determining the progress the students make. It is important for the physical arrangement in the class to include representations of...

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