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Guided Individual Reflection Protocol from Field Notes 2/19

jcb2013's picture

West Philadelphia Elementary School, Kindergarten

*Pseudonyms were used in this entry.

Guided Individual Reflection Protocol (McEntee, et al., p. 52):

Step 1. Collect Stories: During my lunch break today I jotted down some notes about events/situations that had occurred.  This was so that I could my full attention to my students while they were in the room, and so that I wouldn’t forget any event, even ordinary events, that had occurred. 


Step 2. What happened? During the journaling activity today Samuel decided that he wasn’t pleased with the situation.  Instead of voicing this clearly, the crumpled up his piece of paper that he was supposed to write on.  He blatantly crumpled up the piece of paper in front of me, while I was directing him not to, because he would have to use it anyway.  He continued to crumple up the piece of paper, and then asked for a new one.  I stated that I had clearly told him that that was his only piece of paper, and that he still had to use it to write his journal entry.


Step 3. Why did it happen? Samuel is a good child, but he often struggles with his need for attention, and constant help.  Before he attempts anything on his own, he always asks for help.  If help is not given to the extent that he would like, he will continue to call for me, get out of his seat, and/or follow me around the class.  This is a problem because it hinders my ability to help other students, he is not learning on his own, he rarely completes assignments because he refuses to attempt them on his own, and because his up-and-down activity/behavior is distracting to the other students.  I have been instructed by my supervising teacher to ignore him when he does this.  When I see that he has tried I can help him with his work, otherwise I’m told to tell him to attempt it on his own first.  When the paper-crumpling incident occurred I was instructing him to write his name on his paper, and to try to write a sentence about the story (that had been read) on his own.  He appeared (through body language, whining, and his actions) to not like that I was not willing to help him right away, but was unable to vocalize his thoughts/feelings. 

            While I was following the advice of my supervising teacher, and I felt that I was doing what was necessary to help him adapt to the routine of the classroom, I could have prompted him to explain why he couldn’t start the assignment on his own further.  Maybe helping him vocalize his wants/need could help him to understand that he can attempt work on his own, or if he can’t, can help me to understand the kind of help that he needs. With the other 22 students working on the assignment as well, I was distracted, and missed this opportunity to open up dialogue with him.  His history of attention seeking had also led me to become stricter about him attempting the work on his own first without any aid.



Step 4. What might it mean?  As a student teacher, I am working on classroom management as a skill to develop further.  In this case, I was trying to monitor the whole class, without getting pulled away by one student at the very beginning of the activity.  At this point in the praxis work, I am trying to increase the general assignment quality and completion of the whole class, not just a few students, so my attention has been less individualized than in the past.  I will have to continue to work on my management/monitoring skills, while also keeping dialogue open with students to prevent acting out in the future.


Step 5. What are the implications for practice? I will need to sit down and explain to Samuel how I will be responding to him from now on.  I will explain to him that he cannot continue to get out of his seat, and call my name when he hasn’t even attempted to start his assignment.  I will explain to him that I will not help him with an assignment until I see effort on his side (whether verbal or written).  This means that even if he has nothing written, I will take the time to talk to him about his thoughts, attempts, etc. on the assignment.  That way, I will give him an opportunity to express himself more fully, provide him with any help that he may need, while hopefully helping him to understand the routine of the classroom.  I think this discussion is important because he should know that I am not “ignoring” him because I don’t care, but because I feel confident that he can attempt the work on his own.  It is also important for him to learn the routine of a classroom, because cooperation, and respect for your peers is important, and will help him to succeed for years to come within the classroom environment.