University of Puerto Rico at Humacao English Department Humacao, P.R.
Case Study The Palmas Academy District: Humacao
Laura C. Donato Sanes 842-09-2730 Practice Teaching Prof. Aníbal Muñóz Claudio
Table of Contents
Introduction ………………………………………………………..……………….……. 3
Demographic Information ………………………………………………………..……… 4
Justification ……………………………………………………………………………… 5
Hypothetical Account …………………………………………………………………… 7
Work Plan # 1 …………………………………………………………………………… 9
Part II: Analysis of Student’s Situation ………………………………………………... 11
Work Plan # 2 ………………………………………………………………..………… 13
Part III: Final Reactions ………………………………………………………...……… 14
Introduction “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” -Plato
A case study can be defined as an instruments used by the teacher for the academic and personal improvement of a student. The main purpose of this instrument is to investigate the root of the causes that are impeding a student from achieving academic goals and getting a full academic experience. Whenever we see students struggling in learning we must find a way to help the student in order to obtain the desired result, which is to see them grow and acquire knowledge. Because every student is different, we must conduct several instruments of investigation and prepare an individualized plan of action that will help the student overcome his obstacle and pick up the learning pace. Like one of the greatest philosophers, Plato, said, human behavior flows from three main sources… and one of them is knowledge. As an educator and promoter of knowledge, it’s my duty to help those that have the need of this main source. Knowledge is a key ingredient in many things in life but to have it, as a main ingredient of our being is even greater. This project will present documented evidence of the student I have chosen to help and reports that will keep you, the reader, updated on his progress during this semester. I have confidence that by the end of this semester my student will overcome the obstacles that he is facing today.
Demographic Information In this study case we will be evaluating the limitations and progress of the student Alejandro Gonzรกlez. He is a 5th grade student, in the 502 group, at The Palmas Academy at Humacao. He is 10 years old and his hobbies include, cycling, listening to music and playing with iPad. His parents are Anamarie Gonzรกlez, a speech pathologist and Luis Gonzรกlez, an engineer. They are both high school and university graduates. His home address is P.O. Box 579 Humacao, P.R. 00792 and he lives with both parents. Alejandro comes from a Christian background and was born in San Juan P.R. According to his group profile, he has the basic resources a student needs for home works, projects and studies. He owns or has access to a computer at his home and he has Internet. He uses the school library and he wishes to be a tennis player when he grows up. This is the basic information of the student I have picked to be my case study.
Justification Why is it that a student who has every resource at hand to have good grades and academic achievement is not getting good grades or academic achievement? As I investigated a little further about the possible reasons this could be happening to Alejandro, I found out that Alejandro has been diagnosed with ADD; Attentions Deficit Disorder. His evaluation said, he is easily distracted and has difficulties in math mechanics and word problems. He omits letters when writing and needs continuous follow up. The recommendations are, ADD accommodations, preferential sitting and extra time during tests, projects and homework. He needs to read the instructions of every assignment or test twice and the teacher has to repeat the directions to him. The school has provided with all of these accommodations because the school has an area assigned for these types of special cases, called the learning center, in which they receive the help they need. The learning center provides these students with individualized help such as, special education teachers, psychological help and occupational therapists. Inside the classroom and during a regular class the teacher has assigned him a seat, which limits the possibility of Alejandro getting distracted. Also, whenever there is a test, instead of taking the test in the classroom with the same requirements as the rest of the group, he goes down to the learning center where help is provided and extra time is given so that he can finish his test. Still, even though he is receiving all 5
this help his grades are above average and I canâ€™t help to be curious about why this is happening. Could it be that this is the best he can do? Or could he improve his grades with even more help? Could it be the strategy that the teachers have been using that is not working with him? These are the questions that will guide me through this process and hopefully my input will help improve his grades.
Hypothetical Account Why is Alejandro getting bad grades if he’s receiving all the help and resources that he can get? During my observation stage I noticed that Alejandro is a very well behaved student. He is shy and introverted. He doesn’t talk much and doesn’t like to read aloud in the classroom. He isn’t a handful in terms of behavior but he doesn’t participate much in class either, so that’s not exactly a good thing in this case. I have four different hypotheses that I think are the main causes or reasons to this situation. First I think that maybe Alejandro is receiving all this help but the strategies that the teachers are using are not working. Most students in this school have been here since kindergarten; Alejandro has been in The Palmas Academy since pre-K. Which means he’s been in a resourceful environment for a long time. This is a red flag because after several years of constant help and therapy his grades should be a lot better. My second hypothesis is that maybe his parents are not giving him follow up at home and so this causes him to set back all the progress he’s made in school. This could be a possibility because education comes from team teaching; it is not limited to the school and the classroom. Good education comes from a supporting group of people such as, teachers, parents, extended family members and even peers. My third theory is that maybe he needs even more help than the one that he is already receiving. Just like math needs constant practice in order to be proficient in the subject, perhaps Alejandro needs constant practice in all of his classes to improve and gain proficiency. My fourth and last hypothesis is 7
that maybe this is the best Alejandro can do with all the help and all the efforts that he makes. This is something that I consider because sometimes people, parents and teachers expect us to get to the highest level of academic learning, which is great, but sometimes we forget that each student is unique and different; and maybe that student that we as teachers, parents or people are pressuring to do better is already at the top of his skills. Of course this is no excuse to not teach or help him improve but it could be the case that Alejandro might already be at the top of his skills.
Work Plan # 1
Date January 27-31
Activities Purpose Make observations and consult Choose a minimum possible case study candidates of three students as with my cooperating teacher. the possible candidates.
Persons Involved • Mrs. Iralys Sanabria (Cooperating Teacher)
Administration of Group Profile.
February 5, 2013
Narrowed my observations to two students.
To know my students in terms of their home environment, health conditions, aptitudes, interests, etc. Selection of case study candidate.
February 18, 2013 Select a student based on the information that was gathered. February 19, 2013
Sitting Arrangement February 20, 2013
February 21, 2013
Ask his other teachers, such as Mrs. Jennifer, his Science teacher, Mrs. Ida Spanish teacher, Ms. Annalorena, his Social Studies teacher and Ms. Yelitza, his Math teacher, about his performance in their classes.
Focus on Alejandro’s behavior and evaluate his performance in class. Eliminate distractions by rearranging the students near him. Gather information about his general performance in school.
• • • •
Students Miss. Donato (PT) Mrs. Iralys Sanabria (CT) Mrs. Iralys Jossheid Santiago Alemán Alex Báez Díaz Mrs. Iralys Sanabria (CT)
Mrs. Iralys Sanabria
Mrs. Iralys (English) Mrs. Jennifer (Science) Mrs. Ida (HomeroomSpanish) Mrs. Analorena (Social Studies) Mrs. Yelitza (Math)
• • • •
Inform his parents about the case study. February 27, 2013
Assign him a study partner. March 3- March 7 Monitor his progress. March 10 – March 14
Explain the purpose of the case study and how I will be working with Alejandro. To help Alejandro stay on track and be less distracted during his classes. To verify if the new measures that were taken are giving good results.
• • • • • • •
Mrs. Iralys Annamarie González Alejandro Mrs. Iralys Mrs. Ida (homeroom teacher) Mrs. Iralys Mrs. Ida (homeroom teacher)
Part II: Analysis of Studentâ€™s Situation During my initial observations, I had four hypotheses that I thought were the reasons why my student, Alejandro, was not getting the grades a student in a resourceful environment and receiving all types of help should have. First, I thought that the strategies that his teachers were using were not the correct ones because they were not getting the desired results from Alejandro. Second, I thought that his parents were not getting involved in his academic learning process. Third was that maybe he needed constant practice and even more help than the one he is getting and last but not least that perhaps Alejandro is already giving his maximum effort. I decided to investigate and acquire background information on his situation. I spoke to Mrs., Iralys about Alejandroâ€™s situation in class. She explained how Alejandro has been in therapy for the last three years. She said that although they have been slow and subtle, she has seen some changes and thinks that he is going at his own pace. I also spoke to Mrs. Ida, which is his homeroom teacher. She explained how his parents are very hard working and sometimes they donâ€™t have the time to follow up his progress and school works. I then proceeded to talk to his learning center teacher, Mrs. Sylvia Rosaly. I asked her about the type of help Alejandro is receiving at the learning center and what type of skills are they looking to improve in him. She explained that Alejandro has been with her for the past three years and that their main focus has been math skills. I asked her about the rest of his classes and of course English. She explained that since he only goes there for an hour a day and most times he gets there with extra work from his math 11
teacher which gives her little time to work with his other classes. The learning center only has 3 teachers and Mrs. Sylvia works with a lot of elementary students. One of the teacher focuses mainly on teaching Spanish as a Second Language and the other works with secondary students. After acquiring this information, Mrs. Sylvia and I created the agreement that I would go to the learning center Tuesdays and Thursdays during Alejandro’s free time, from 2:10-2:45 and help him with English. I also received an email from Alejandro’s mom explaining how she was concerned about Alejandro’s grades and that she approved the extra help from my part. The first thing I did was assign Alejandro a new partner. I spoke to a fellow student that seats in front him. Her name is Brenda and she is one of the best students I have in my class. I explained how Alejandro could use some guidance during my classes and that if she could help me out with that I would be very grateful. She agreed to help Alejandro when it came to class works and assignments but I was always there to intervene in case Alejandro needed more help than the one receiving at the moment. After going through my initial work plan, I started seeing progress. Alejandro has had a great improvement in his grades; he went from a D average to a B average. Because of his great progress, I feel that I accomplished my goal with Alejandro. He’s more attentive and he is also participating in class. Before, I had to negotiate with him to have him participate in class, but now Alejandro has even given oral reports in front of the class with no difficulty at all.
Work Plan # 2: Since everything I did with my initial work plan gave me the results I was looking for, I decided to not add more work to Alejandro right now. So far he has improved greatly and I was able to break him out of his shell a bit. Of course he is still shy, but not as shy as before and I have been able to see this in my class every day. His class work, homework and even tests scores have improved a lot and I donâ€™t want to overwhelm him with more work. So I have decided to send a progress report letter to his parents instead. My goal is not to just help him improve his grades but to also love English. I feel that if I add more work than the one I have already given I might create a different reaction towards the language than the one I would like to get, which is love for the English language. After spring break vacation my plan is to send Mr. and Mrs. GonzĂĄlez a progress report on Alejandro. I will explain how great their son is doing and that he has improved his grades to the highest degree. I feel very proud of Alejandro and his accomplishments.
Part III Final Reactions: Throughout this semester I have been assisting the 5th grade student, Alejandro Gonzรกlez, so that he may improve his English skills and grades. When I started observing this group I noticed that Alejandro, although well behaved, was not participating in class and the level of his assignments needed to improve. I asked his teachers about his performance during their classes and they told me that he gets distracted easily and does not complete class work. They also told me that he needs extra help, which he receives at the learning center. After speaking to his learning center teacher, Mrs. Sylvia, I realized that he only receives help for Math. She explained how she can only help the students improve in one of their classes because she is the only learning center teacher for the elementary students. She also said that she knows that he needs the extra help in English as well but because she has so many students, she has not been able to help him with any other subject. After my investigation I had learned that Alejandro was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). He has special accommodation inside of the classrooms and is receiving therapy in and out of school. However, because he was not receiving extra help in English, his grades were not improving. After asking permission from his parents and explaining them the purpose for my case study, I decided to assign him a new partner inside of the classroom; this way she could help him during class work. During the month
of March, the first three Thursdays were separated to help him with homework and to further explain the material given in class. I was surprised when I first heard him speak English because he is actually very fluent in the language. He has very good pronunciation and he is able to construct sentences when speaking; grammatically he needed some improvement especially when it comes to spelling. Other than that I noticed that it was more a matter of giving him a follow up with the material and work. After those first three sessions I gave him a break. I wanted to see how he did on his own after receiving my help during those three Thursdays. Thankfully, I could see the progress in his class work and home works. The follow-up started paying off and Alejandro is even participating in class. I gave two projects that required oral presentations and although he spoke in a low tone of voice he was able to deliver a very good report. So far Alejandro has improved his grades from D average to a B average and has maintained it. I feel so proud of Alejandro because he is an example of someone that only needed a little bit more of attention. His parents had explained how difficult it is for them to give Alejandro follow up at home because of their jobs, so they depend a lot from the learning center. My cooperating teacher and I both recommended to his parents tutoring, especially now that he will be going to sixth grade and could be very challenging for Alejandro. We explained how the learning center only works with the most challenging subject that students have and that he needs follow up from other classes as well. His parents thanked us for the help and I think they will be taking our suggestion because they saw the improvement in Alejandro as well. I am glad I chose him as my case study. Once again reassuring how teachers can make such a big difference in a studentâ€™s life. I donâ€™t want to be that teacher that no one remembers; I want to be the teacher that students
talk about and say â€œhey remember Miss. Laura? She was the best teacher ever; she inspired me to become what I am today.â€?