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Reflective Protocol

hl13's picture

Relfective Protocol (an incident from last week)

  • What Happened?: J, Z, and R are all in a group (J and Z are boys, R is a girl). I told them that I would tell them where to sit that day, Z , R, then J. A and J looked upset (I was separating them), then J made a face and said, “I won’t sit next to R.”
  • Why Did it Happen?: This class is 9 boys and 2 girls, and I have noticed the children pay a lot more attention to gender than last year, particularly the boys. They make frequent comments about boy and girl colors, etc. Specifically, J and Z have been growing very close, but to the point that they exclude others and suffer in their schoolwork by talking to each other. They in particular react negatively to “girl colors” and like to talk about things that are only “for boys” and laugh at “gross things,” etc. They also often only chase each other during recess where tag is the main activity, or will stop playing if a slower child is “it”. I separated J and Z from sitting next to each other because since this closeness started, it has been affecting their schoolwork, but it was clear that not only did Z and J only want to sit next to one another, J did not want to sit next to a girl. This could also have something to do with R having fairly unique behaviors: she gets very anxious, likes to talk a lot, is sometimes loud, gets very worried and cries. In general, often some children handle peers with special needs or who are simply different very well, but I’m not sure J is one of these. In some ways I think he just needs to practice interacting with different types of people.
  • What Might it Mean?: Like I have stated above, it might mean J just needs practice dealing with people not like himself. It also definitely has to do with the developmental phase children are experiencing at this time. It is also definitely impacted by the lack of interaction with other girls his age he has in school, since the class is dominated by boys.
  • What Are the Implications for Practice?: A gender balanced classroom I have noticed is in some ways very important when both genders are present. I don’t think that a balance is necessarily the only way to go, but I think it definitely improves the classroom environment. I think separating J and Z during the day would be incredibly important, so they interact with other members of the class. This is why I thought it was great that they were separated this week when centers groups changed. Also, I think it’s important to address these issues directly to the students, which is why I always tell them “There’s no such thing as boy colors and girl colors, and all colors are good and the same”. I also immediately told J, “That is not a very nice thing to say at all. You are not being a good friend to R, and we are all friends in kindergarten.”