My first thoughts when talking about back talking in the classroom are:
- noises in the back of the classroom
- bad words
- comments out of topic
- intended to lose class time
- Dialogue (student-teacher-student-teacher…)
- complaints and arguing
- negative situation in a classroom
Based on the Dr. Fred Jones’s Tools for Teaching “Dealing with Backtalk” along with my own experience I can talk about a situation dealing with back talking during a History class in California.
We were about 30 students in the class and most of us were Mexicans. Well the class was about American History and the reality was that none of us were interested of any of the history of other country besides Mexico. So there we were just sitting with no motivation or enthusiasm for learning. One of my guy friends sitting all the way back was constantly whispering and talking about everything except for the topic. After like 10 minutes he asked, “Why was the reason of learning something about a country that hated Mexicans?” So the teacher reaction was to actually answer saying: “You need to take this class because it is on your schedule but if you want to leave, feel free to do it but don’t ask why you get an “F””.
The reaction of my friend was to change the playing manner to a more serious attitude and started to ask more questions like: “well, you say that because you are a gringa and you don’t like us as well, so f….. it”. He left the class really mad at American people and American history. After a month he got arrested for painting graffiti in the teacher’s car (“I HATE YOU MORE THAN YOU HATE ME!!”). He never return to class and got into many more troubles.
I think what happened was that the reaction of the teacher should have been different. She reacted really offensive when the student was only reacting to his own feeling about U.S History. She should have answer something like: “You will actually learn in this class the opposite of what you are saying, and by learning some of the U.S history will lead you to a better understanding of the culture and how it isn’t that different from your own culture”. She could have stayed silent also and continue with the class.
The teacher’s reactions affected this guy’s feelings by offending his own thoughts instead of staying calm and continue with the class. In my opinion she acted as wrong as the student when she answer back and said that he was in her class because he NEEDED TO BE THERE, not because she wanted to give him class.