I began my observational experience with a P.E. class by Mrs. Patterson and an assistant teacher who helped her. This teacher usually has from forty to fifty students in her class, and this time was not an exception. First, Mrs. Patterson instructed the students on how to play the game Four Square. She implemented a point-based reward system to encourage children initiative to participate in the game and win. Team Two was maintaining the leading position, which contributed to its confidence and anticipation of a soon victory. However, other teams managed to overtake it, and the failure led to a sense of humiliation and disappointment in children from Team Two. This episode’s observation reminded me of Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development (Mercer, 2018). In particular, stage four, Industry vs. Inferiority, is relevant to the experience of Team Two. When encouraged in learning and succeeding, children develop a sense of competence, while failure can result in the feeling of inferiority.
For the next game, Mrs. Patterson started to give directions to the students and then asked them to show understanding of the instructions. However, the teacher did not explain her expectations in a completely clear manner, and the children left their position, relocating to where they thought they were to go. The teaching assistant managed to return the students to the original place, and Mrs. Patterson repeated her explanations, providing clear instructions for children. Such an approach proved to be successful this time, and the students demonstrated understanding. This scene made me think of Hunter’s Making Model of Mastery Learning (Mercer, 2018). She suggested asking for students’ demonstration of how well they interpreted the subject or instructions. Teachers would benefit from implementing this model and providing immediate feedback as Mrs. Patterson did. Eventually, all the class activities were appropriate for improving students’ cognitive, physical, and affective development.
The second class I attended for observational purposes was Music. The teacher Ms. Holland had 18-20 students in the classroom. She began by greeting them and proceeded to give the children instructions on what they were to do. The game of dancing and singing, suggested by Ms. Holland, incorporated Jensen’s Brain-Based Learning Theory and involved movement as the means of strengthening learning and memory (Mercer, 2018). The teacher made sure to add new vocabulary, concepts, and steps to the game, which kept the students engaged and excited. Furthermore, a connection between the music class skills and language art concepts was clear, which resulted in the lesson’s efficiency for children. Overall, the activity was highly appropriate, contributing to the students’ physical, cognitive, and affective development.
The third class I attended was Language Arts with Mrs. Page. The lesson began as the students were comfortably seated on the floor around the teacher. Mrs. Page used an exercise that incorporated different knowledge and skills, as suggested by Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory (Mercer, 2018). She used a calendar to help the students grasp the concept of time by counting the days of school, hence, implementing a visual-spatial intelligence technique. Besides, the counting by 5s contributed to the development of linguistic-verbal and logical-mathematical intelligence. Moreover, the discussion of weather and seasons helped the children build on their science knowledge.
The next activity I observed was Mrs. Page’s questioning of random students at the board. She worked together with the children to answer the questions, encouraging and supporting them. This observation reminded me of Vygotsky’s Theory of Social Development since the students actively participated in the learning process (Mercer, 2018). The teacher involved the principle of social interaction to increase the efficiency of studying. Mrs. Page’s Language Arts class incorporated engaging and effective activities to enhance the students’ physical, cognitive, and affective development.
Mercer, J. A. (2018). Child development: concepts and theories. SAGE.