Thursday, October 05, 2006

Rictus Grin


I am writing this after my half day (well, three periods) at school and I am going back this evening to assist in the open evening. I have loads of 'Observations' to write up too! So, I tell you now, I am only getting this information in now because (a) I have a brief bit of freedom and (b) some of it I found fascinating.

First off, the Rictus Grin. In period 3 today, the group of PGCE students at School A had a lesson together with a teacher who was going to explain classroom management to us. He arrived 30 minutes late because he had to exclude a pupil. What an introduction.

He then proceeded to tell us probably the most fascinating insight into Secondary education I have ever heard. First off, the layout of the classroom:

At the back of the class, you have the noisy pupils (who may/may not do their work, but often know their stuff whenever there is a classroom discussion. The centre 'chunk' of pupils normally can get rowdy, but when they are interested, they get involved and whenever they aren't - they don't get involved. This centre chunk is your standard, average student. Right on the front row you have the pupils that want to look clever - though they are not neccessarily clever. Possibly dumb-asses (Napoleon Dynamite would sit here I would imagine).

Okay, the left and right aisles really depends on where you teach the class. Okay, if you can imagine the white board at the front of the class, in the centre. The teacher will stand on either the right or left hand side when using the board. The pupils closest to him, and the aisle going back, are the worst behaved (from after the second row, because the one student at the front will be quiet and wants to be segragated from the class). These pupils use this space because they can do alot of things and get away with it, because the teacher has his/her back to them. Therefore, the students on the opposite aisle are generally pretty knowledgeable - and towards the back they become more 'social', so they probably know their stuff but don't want to appear to be geeks.

Problem is, I teach Art whereby the class layout is completely different.

Most of us in the class were fascinated - because where ever we came from, whatever school we went to, in classes set out in such a way that was exactly the case. I never even noticed at the time.

Now, the guy spoke so fast we were all writing as much as we could because every single thing he said mattered. This is so far the only point in the course where I wish I had my dictaphone.

The Rictus Grin though is the grin, laugh or smile that a pupil may give after being told off. It is akin to a twitch and it is purely reactive - if a pupil feels scared or embarressed, the automatic emotion is the 'rictus grin' and if you are unaware that it is automatic (rather than a cheeky grin at the teacher or a laugh directly at the teacher) then normally - and if unaware, understandably - you will tell the pupil off again for being cheeky or rude, when that is not to be done. It is an automatic reaction. In many cases it is the alternate reaction before he/she is about to cry. Fascinating stuff.