While a culture exists for a country, it can also exist for almost any organized and ongoing situations. Mostly a teacher governs culture in a class. They set the rules and the environment, but a class culture emerges independently of a particular teacher and students, and area of study affect the outcome of a class culture. This essay looks at the cultures of three of my class and compares and contrasts the differences of various classes. Names identifying the teachers of the classes have been changed for their protection.
The teacher did not laydown any formal rules for the class at the onset, but there are a lot of informal rules that govern the class. When a student wants to go to the bathroom, he for she does not say anything to ask permission, he or she simply leaves. Since the teacher spends must of the period at the white board going over equations, the class is self-governing. It seems everyone in the class is there to take it as a general, and the material is not easy. This keeps students from chatting with one another. In math subject, missing just one subtle equation can result in not understanding an entire chapter, so people pay close attention.
The teacher is fairly detached from the student. Their teaching style is lecture, which is only stopped if a student has questions. If one of the students does not understand something, it is his or her responsibility to let the teacher know that. The teacher is very slow the methodical when explaining things, but for those who are too shy to ask questions, if they do not understand something the teacher does not go over things more than once if no one has a problem.
Many of my classmates seem just barely below moving up a letter grade, so there is a lot of focus on bringing up grade just 2% points and the upcoming date of a test governs the anxiety level within the class.
The second class is drastically different from the chemistry class. This class is a Fein Art Class. It is a dance class which teaches dance moves and performance. There is a classroom portion, and there is also an auditorium portion. 50% of the grade is based on attendance, so this class is well attended. The chemistry class is also well-attended even though there is no attendance grading, but since people do not want to miss a lecture, it keeps students coming.
The seating pattern is random. Students come and they do not seem to consistently take the same seats, with the exception of a few girls who always sit up front.
This is a fairly informal class. There is a lot of talking during the classroom portion and joking. Teacher B does not seem to mind this commotion. The information in the class is easy to retain. Teacher B) is fond of saying that if a person shows up to class, there is not reason a student should not pass the class with flying colors.
The rules of the class, especially when practicing dance moves, are to show respect to others. This teacher does allow food and drink in the classroom, but so long as students do not leave garbage in the class.
Since different students have different aptitudes at dancing, the teacher only grades based on the written tests and attendance of the performance portion. The teacher does not grade based on who learns the steps quicker, but only on who was there to learn them in the first place.
The third class is a Social science class in the subject of psychology. This class, like the other two, has around thirty students. This class is less laid back than the dance class, but more laid back than the chemistry class. There is not seating arrangement, but female students tend to gather up front tin the classroom.
The general atmosphere of the class of light. Sometimes because we have been sidetracked in a previous class the professor needs to get through two PowerPoint in a single period. Teacher C makes the PowerPoint’s available to students online, and since there is no attendance grade, attendance can vary wildly based on whether or not it is a nice day outside.
The teacher teachers off of a PowerPoint, but this is just as a guide. Most of the material Teacher C recites from memory. There are a lot of group projects in this class and as a result all of the students really seem to know each other and interact with each other inside and outside of the classroom from the friendships they have made within the classroom from often working in the same group.
The environment is more upbeat than the chemistry classroom, but I do not blame this on differences in teaching style. Subject is bound to dramatically affect the atmosphere of the classroom. If the subject is something that is difficult, such as a math subject, then there is going to be less opportunity for a culture that is light and jovial. But this also makes a point that the less anxious a student is about the subject that is being taught, the more vibrant and light that a classroom culture will emerge. Even the most encouraging teacher is no match for what for some students can be a discouraging subject.
Personal observations of three of my classrooms.