Fieldnotes 2/8/13

abenjamin's picture

On Fridays I work with a 2hr long class with 4-6 year olds. Usually, the weekly projects correspond to modern artists, but this week they worked with the Valentine's Day theme. There are 9 students in the class (8 girls and 1 boy), in the full age range. 

Exerpt:

During this class, something that stood out to me was Ms. A's helping the kids with many of their projects.

Cut-out hearts: fold square paper, draw half of heart, cut out along line. Some kids needed/wanted more help with this process than others. Ms. A would fold and draw for many of them, I was trying to show them how to do it by example, then see if they could do it on their own. Maybe this was a little too challenging?

Much of my experience has been with slightly older children and/or in more "educational" environments (schools and a museum that was all about educating children through creative projects). But should this placement (an art center) not be as challenging as a school? It's always still a learning experience. Also, because I am working with younger children (4-6), where is the line between encouraging challenging learning experiences and helping out with things that might be too advanced for a certain age group? Especially for young childred, there are certain developmental ages that really dictate what a child is capable of doing (i.e. scissors with the 2 yr olds).

Maybe I should read up on these stages...any suggestions?

Comments

jccohen's picture

helping/doing/teaching

abenjamin,

I'm wondering whether the teacher is feeling the press of time, number of children, their focus (or not)...?  And yes, I agree with your impulse to model and coach as a way of helping the students develop their capacities in the context of this project.  While kids are of different ages and (alway) stages of development, I think it's almost always possible for a teacher to find a way to enter with the child that guides them into stretching their knowledge/skill, as you're trying to do here.

In terms of these as fieldnotes, I think it would be useful for you to go for denser, richer description -- of the space and how it's being used, the teacher and students, and the interactions.  For example, if you gave a fuller, more detailed description of one or several of these instances in which the teacher is doing for the child, or maybe one of these with a constrasting example, this might help both you and your readers to see/understand more about what's going on here (the ethnographic question for getting at local meanings).

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
randomness