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Running head:  FUTURE  CLASSROOM  

Future Classroom Community Service Learning

Olivia Heidt 000267600 Wednesday, November 14,2012

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For volunteer work I volunteered at a local elementary school in Red Deer in a grade 1 classroom. My expectations for this volunteer experience were to observe how students interact and learn techniques for the future when I become a teacher. My expectations were to see how to handle certain situations and apple these concepts and analyze how a student may think.

September 24 Today I had the opportunity to test the students in there reading. For me this was an interesting experience to see how each student learns and how they may approach a challenge. As a future teacher I find it very interesting to sit there and see how a student interprets a word when they do not understand it. On one of the spectrum there were students that understood everything while on the other end of the spectrum there were students that did not understand a thing. Some students I did not get a chance to test because we either ran out of time or they were not cooperating with the teacher and my self to read. One student in particular is coded and has an educational assistant to help him through out the day. He is a distraction to the students at time when he has tantrums. Today while the students were working he had a tantrum and was rolling around on the ground crying. The reason that the teacher and I observed would have been because he came to school tired that day and did not want to do his work. While this tantrum is going on it distracts the students. While the tantrum was going on and the teacher and


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educational assistant were trying to get the boy out of the classroom I was trying to get the students all focused. This was tough as the students were wondering what was wrong with him and why he was crying. We had to tell the students “he was having a bad day and just has to go for a walk”. Most of the students were quite concerned about this and did not get their focus back for there work. Even though these students are only in grade 1, I could see while I was testing there reading that self-esteem was starting to show up in personalities. The definition of selfesteem is a person’s evaluation of their own self-worth- that is the extent to which they view themselves as good competent, and decent. (Aronson et al, 2010, p.18).An example of this from today was that when I was testing the students some of them would not challenge themselves. If they did not know the word they would just look at me for an answer and not try to sound it out. One students self esteem seemed to be so bad that when I did challenge her to sound the word out she started to cry. It seemed that there is so much pressure on kids now a days that they have to be perfect and are already comparing themselves to one another at such a young age. October 1 As the first month of school is almost over, I observed today that the students were getting much more comfortable in there surroundings. This was noticeable because the students were much more interactive with one another and much more interactive with the teacher and any teacher that came in. Today I helped the students with writing and a thanksgiving activity. The students were learning what Thanksgiving is about and what are they thankful for. All students had many different answers from being thankful for the food they eat to the toys that they play with. This showed all the different types of backgrounds that each student comes from which helped me to be able to get to know the students. Every Monday they also have a celebration since this is a Catholic school. I attended celebration time with the students, as this is


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time for the teachers to prep and collaborate. During celebration the students are asked to be quiet and listen to what is being said. While observing this I noticed many types of non-verbal communication going on between students. Non-verbal communication is defined as the way in which people communicate, intentionally or unintentionally, without words; nonverbal cues include facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, body position and movement, the use of touch, and eye gaze (Aronson et al, 2010, p.91). In the teaching world these are extremely important to a teacher, as there are many non-verbal cues a teacher needs to pick up on. Nonverbal cues are just as easy for a student to pick up as a teacher can. For example while sitting in the celebration a little boy keep moving around and could not sit still. This to me by observing his movement meant he was very bored and may act out soon. This also goes along with learning as with a student displays this type of behavior they may be displaying that they do not understand the concept or that they are done and bored. October 15 Today I was testing students on their alphabet and seeing if they could recognize the letter and say the sound. As I was doing this one on one with each student, it was interesting to see how each student approaches and analyzes the situation. As I was observing I could tell each students schema was arranged differently. Schemas are mental structures people use to organize their knowledge about the social world around themes or subjects and that influence the information people notice, think about, and remember (Aronson et al, 2010, p.59). While testing the students many remembered a certain letter because of a certain experience or a particular rhyme that helps them to remember it. This is priming which is known as the process by which recent experiences increase the accessibility of a schema, trait, or concept (Aronson et al, 2010, p.66). If a student for example remembers that letter because they were learning about


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yesterday that would be priming as they are remembering the experience. Also today during music one of the boys had a tantrum that made all the students leave the classroom and go to the library to finish our lesson of music. The students were much better this time by not being distracted. This showed that the students were in fact much more focused and comfortable with everything and knew that the boy just needed time. October 22 Since Halloween is coming up, the student’s work was all about Halloween in every subject. They were all so excited and I helped them with counting and reading. One boy in the class whom cannot stay focused for a period of time had extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is the desire to engage in an activity because of external rewards or pressures, not because we enjoy the task or find it interesting (Aronson et al, 2010, p.137). This boys extrinsic motivation was that if he completed five minutes of hard work then he received five minutes of computer time and so on. This system worked great for him as we had a timer and he got to push the button to start the timer and then he knows when it ends. I found this quite interesting as it helped him learn what everyone else was learning but in a different way. As teachers we need to adapt to the student they don’t adapt to us is what I have found through volunteering. Some children in the class do have intrinsic motivation which is the desire to engage in an activity because we enjoy it or find it interesting, not because of external rewards or pressures (Aronson et al, 2010, p.137). I found this type of motivation mostly in the girls as they liked to write and print. While the boys need the extrinsic motivation to get the work done. Another type of extrinsic motivation that was present in the class was that when a child behaves properly the teacher would let them put a marble in a jar. Once the jar is full of marbles then the class will get


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to have a pizza party. This helps all the students to strive towards something and get students to remind one another about there behavior. October 29 Today was black and orange day, and the classroom was a sea of orange and black as I walked in. I was testing students again today on their sight words and seeing if they could get all of them. Students that I tested the first day there were doing better and students that were doing good at the beginning of the year got all the words with no hesitation. Some students still had low self-esteem when it came to challenging words. For one they would not challenge them self when it came to a word they did not. I believe, as an up and coming teacher that is a major issue that I need to focus on is the self-esteem of the student. If the student does not have good selfesteem then they will not succeed. Also along with the self –esteem we can relate the fundamental attribution error. The fundamental attribution error is the tendency to overestimate the extent to which people’s behavior stems from internal, dispositional factors and to underestimate the role of the situational factors (Aronson et al, 2010, p.12). This plays a factor because an observer or teacher, when a child does not get the words or numbers we can jump to assumptions and blame the parents for not practicing the words with them. When in fact they might just not understand them and is a slow learner. We don’t know what is actually going on in there life and why they are breaking down crying. We are jumping to conclusions when we need to talk with the student as not everyone has a good day. Through this volunteer experience I have learned many different things that I can now not only apply to my future teaching experience but also to my own life. Working with students I noticed that not only do other children have self-esteem issues but also it can start as early as grade 1. Also with the fundamental attribution error, we need to talk to that student and not jump


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to conclusions and assume certain things. All students will have a bad day and break down; we do not know the history of that breakdown. As a future teacher not only am I a teacher I am a safe zone for this students to come and talk to me about anything that may be going on. This way we know why they may not be working, or they’re coming to school with no lunch. Reflecting on this experience I will be continuing to go and help with this class. I feel that this experience has shown me how to observe a student and with all that I have learned so far in social psychology I can apply those concepts and try to understand what the student is going through. Before this experience and knowing these concepts I would not have fully thought why a student is acting a certain way. Now though through as much as I have learned this far I can put a couple concepts to that situation and try to understand what is going on. This will impact my future teaching career greatly and I hope to use my social psychology each and every day to try to analyze and understand a situation.


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References Aronson,E., Wilson D. T., Akert M. R., Fehr B. (Eds). (2010). Social Psychology (4th Ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education,Inc.

CSL Project  

Social psychology, volunteer, community

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