What disciplines apply to the classroom?

This entry is a response to a post. It was never sent…
Bear in mind that teaching involves a number of disciplines. Most of the research into these disciplines is either inchoate or controversial. I’ve seen a lot on how the brain operates in learning recently and feel that some folks are going way beyond what we can say with any certainty about the brain. You have to always test out recommended techniques in the classroom, for yourself and your students.
Other areas of equal importance are culture in the classroom: Lisa Delpit’s book Other People’s Children gives lots of explicit examples of how both students and teachers of a cultural background other than the standard issue White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, the culture on which so much classroom practice is based.
Also, abnormal psychology, which accounts for the variation in thinking, emotions, expressive and receptive abilities, etc. of our students (and ourselves).
Of greater importance is learning psychology, pretty much what is meant, I believe, by “whole brain teaching”. I am always amazed at how many teachers use judgmental, moralistic terminology in accounting for student performance, as if we all exist in a Dickens novel. “I say, sirruh, you seem quite the dullard!”
Curriculum design is another major area we need to know something about; I’m just starting a book now on the way math is taught. As one of the walking wounded from math classes, I would love to see where I went wrong. Friends who are steeped in mathematics tell me that the reasoning I use in linguistics is the same as that in math. Hmmm. But linguistics uses words and math uses………. gasp, numbers!
The stuff of daily teaching: classroom management, lesson plan design, administration, etc. all are composed of the above basic disciplines. I would add the politics of civic life b/c our school policies and funding come out of that and to understand what is happening to the schools we work in and to be part of shaping their future, we need to understand the forces impinging on them.
SO!!!!………… (and I’m sure I’ve left out some major stuff) I’m just sayin’……
—–Original Message—–
Hello! I teach French I and II to 8-12. I just attended a workshop on whole brain teaching and thought it had a lot of really great potential, but am not sure how to apply it to the foreign language classroom. I was wondering if any of you have incorporated this into your classroom, what your positive and negative experiences have been, and what suggestions you have for implementing it mid-year in a French class. Also, keep in mind, I teach on a cart so I am rather limited in what I can have in the classroom.
Thank you so much!

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