Classroom Observation Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Teaching Type: Essay Paper: #48984507 Related Topics: Classroom, Classroom Management, Observation, Child Observation
Excerpt from Essay :

Mrs. Menocal, 1st Grade, Somerset Academy, Blended Classroom

Professional Background -- BA in Elementary Education, MA in English. 15-year veteran, taught English at the Middle School level, and both 3rd and 1st grade at the Elementary level. Additional curriculum certification in literacy.

Specific Training -- 30+ hours in literacy and development reading; classes in ESL and teaching immigrant children to read. These classes have been very helpful in teaching in school systems with diverse populations.

Consultative philosophy -- Regularly consult with school counselor and peers on development issues for children; particularly children who are outside the bell curve.

Development issues -- First graders still exhibit a great deal of "preschool" behavior and thus need help in both socialization and cognitive growth areas. Most of the class is fairly equal in their physical and mental development, with the exception of a few who are quite gifted and have obviously had a great deal of at home stimulation....

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Socially, these children have both matured a bit more and have higher cognitive needs, thus making it a challenge to integrate into a class of early readers.

5. Challenges -- Our school is set up in first grade for a broad, early reading curriculum. Having 3 students who are well beyond this level intellectually, but clearly at first grade socially and emotionally, poses some challenges. We can work with para-professionals, more advanced reading materials, but the simple fact is these children need far more 1 on 1 time or are otherwise quite bored.

6. Dominant issue -- For all in first grade, attention span is the most difficult teaching issue. The "regular" and slower students often have trouble concentrating on their work long enough to remain effective at the learning process. The gifted children finish their work in most assignments, particularly reading, well ahead of the time needed for others and if not given the right stimuli, tend to act out and cause behavioral issues.

7. Significant issue -- We seem to have plenty of resources for children who are slower or who have special needs, but not enough for brighter, or gifted children. This is particularly true when children are gifted in one area, but either medium or even slower in other areas -- they just "don't fit." This is challenging for the teacher as well as the student, because it demands a hands on approach and to be constantly "on" so these students are not bored.

8. Addendum -- I believe in the environmentally rich classroom, and even at first grade level believe students should experience learning more than simply be "taught." It is my job to…

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Summation -- Mrs. Menocal was quite pleased with the interview and depth of questions. She was particularly excited about sharing her views on the environmentally rich classroom, which tends to incorporate the constructivist approach to learning within her day-to-day planning (see below).

Development Theory in the Classroom- Much of the professional world has a theoretical basis. This is not to rigidly ensure that each person act/react in a similar manner, especially in the classroom, but to establish a basis for commonality within a particular career orientation. One of the most enduring theoretical basis for contemporary classroom education is, ironically, one that finds it roots in Piaget, Dewey, and most recently Vygotsky and Bronfenbrenner. In different ways, all of these educators used a constructivist learning theory, and Mrs. Menocal is a firm believer in its viability for all ages of learner.. Constructivism, of course, is a theory of knowledge arguing that humans generate knowledge and meaning by way of experience. In science, for instance, this implies epistemology and experimentation, not simply lecture and instructor-generated knowledge (Kim, 2005). In general, social constructivism views each student as having unique needs and backgrounds -- and is quite complex and multidimensional. Social constructivism not only allows for this uniqueness, but actual encourages, utilizes, and even wards it as part of the learning process (Dougiamas, 1998). It encourages the student to arrive at their own version of the truth, of course influenced by their own worldview as well as the nature of instruction. The responsibility of the actual learning, then, resides with the student, and emphasizes the importance of the student remaining actively involved in the process. The motivation for learning is based, in many ways, on Vygotsky's "Zone of proximal development" -- a theory that posits that learners are challenged in proximity to their current level of development, yet slightly above.

Constructivism was abundant within Mrs. Menocal's classroom; from the use of exploratory questions and allowing students to "discover" answers on their own, to the pushing of the envelope several times when moving children out of their comfort zone and into a new zone of learning. I believe that, in the modern classroom, it is necessary to combine constructivism with a more realistic ecology for the learner. This is a synthesis of models, beginning with existing framework and gradually evolving forward. This is known as a conceptual change model which is a way to aggressively move forward with a concept that is plausible and reaches a learning conclusion that is satisfying and robust. One might literally


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