Elementary School Observation This observation will help you focus on the experiences and environments of school age children. To Prepare: Make an appointment at an elementary school. Read about the concepts you will be looking for in the classroom so you will know what you are observing when you see it. Do some outside research (Newspapers, Journals, Internet) on issues relevant to the elementary years (bilingual education, multicultural education, small class size, overcrowding, crumbling school buildings, teacher training, certification and evaluation, etc.) so that you will be aware of how any of these potentially influence the children’s experiences at the school you visit. You will be commenting on at least one in your analysis so make sure you have enough information to be able to pick out some examples or non examples. During Your Visit: When you go to observe for one to two hours, go to the office first to check in. While observing, do not interrupt or bother the teachers, but be sure to thank them before you leave. Spend the first few minutes looking around and getting oriented. You might want to focus on a couple of children who seem different from each other to use as examples. Take general notes for your own use. The paper will have three parts: 1. Set the Stage A general summary or description of what happened during the 1 to 2 hours you observed. Briefly describe the classroom and what happened in the classroom during your observation, include the school you visited and the grade. 2. Observation and Analysis Thoroughly consider the following four topics Describe two components of the classroom which support industry, and two which could lead to inferiority. Define what Erikson meant by inferiority and industry and make sure to tell how the examples you are using are a good snapshot of this concept.What kind of teaching strategies are used to teach curriculum like Math and Reading? Give two specific examples and discuss what you think children are learning from each and how you think they are learning it with reference to specific concepts about thinking and learning that you get from your text or other information source (be sure to give a reference). Based on your observation, what are children learning in this classroom about understanding others’ beliefs and feelings? What evidence did you see that illustrate how children’s individual needs being met? What thoughts about current issues about our schools did you have during your observation (from your preparation research)? Identify and discuss one issue and how you see it reflected or influencing the classroom where you are observing. You need to include a research citation (reference) for the source of your outside information. 3. Reflections Give thoughtful and thorough answers to each of the following 6 questions: What did you learn (new) about elementary school children from this assignment? Note: “nothing” is not an acceptable answer. What did you learn (new) about the elementary school experience from this assignment? Note: “nothing is not an acceptable answer. What insights did you gain about yourself and your elementary school years? Note: If you have previous experience with elementary school age children then observation will not be necessary. Take what you know from previous experiences and apply it to this paper. Book for this class: Infants, Children and Adolescents. 6th edition, by: Laura E. Berk
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