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Week 6 Field Notes

Mmacdougall's picture

Week 6 (4/18)


This week, after play time, which transpired as usual, the class had a visitor for Circle. Julien is the husband of one of the teachers in the younger class, and also a college professor. He came in to talk to the class about the brain and how senses work. Since Julien is bilingual in English and Spanish, he directed circle time in both English and Spanish, consistently engaging Victor in one-on-one conversations and asking Victor if he could translate certain words to English for the other students. Julien was a very dynamic teacher, and the students appeared enthusiastic to have a change in the day. Julien passed around models of eyes and ears, letting the students play with them and take them apart. He also brought some rat skulls and brains for the students to look at. After the presentation, the students had a special “brain” snack (that was jello molded like a brain).

So What

I was excited to learn that Julien was coming into the class, and that he was planning on teaching in Spanish for Victor after last week’s issues over Victor’s non-understanding of the other students. It was interesting to see a new adult interact with the students, though Julien was clearly very aware of the philosophy of the school and the way the class operates. It was a good opportunity to see didactic teaching brought into a normally very free and open environment. I was impressed that the students were generally very able to sit and pay attention without much interruption, when this is not normally something they are asked to do.

Now What

In this coming week, I am going to concentrate more on what happens during circle. I am going to look to see if any of the calm listening that the students exhibited during Julien’s visit is apparent when they are working with their regular teachers. I think that their behavior differences are indicative of the comfort these students have with interacting with figures of authority, based on their general familiarity. Also, unrelated to my observations this week, I am going to be thinking about the students’ understandings of mine (and Amanda’s, the student aide, who is also graduating this year) place in the classroom and its transience, in an effort to figure out the best way to close out my time with the class. 


jzhou's picture

I like your idea of thinking about the students' understanding of your position. My questions is how you figure out their understanding of your position in the classroom. Are you gonna talk to them or infer from your observation?