Field Story

Hello and welcome back my fellow blog readers!

In this blog I am going to talk to you about my field placement. What’s field placement you might ask? Field placement provides students with supervised hands-on experience within their field of study while fulfilling academic requirements; like an internship.

Looking into my field experience:

I am currently in a head start Pre-K classroom with students of the age of three and four. Out of all the field placements I have been to at my time at Millersville, this is my first time ever being in a head start classroom. Head Start programs promote school readiness for children from birth to five from low-income families by supporting the development of the child emotionally, socially, nutritionally and their psychological needs. Head Start programs are funded federally from the government.

With me only attending my field placement two times so far, I observed that the majority of students were English language learners and that the students spend more time in free play then instructional learning time in their daily classroom schedule. Not only that, students engage more in free play then instructional learning time. This only led me to ask the typical question of a child which is “Why?”

What I wonder:

In my field placement the students engage and participant more during free play time than instructional time. Which led me to the question, “Why is play so important at this age? And what benefits does play have for English language learners?” From what I gathered from my research it seems that play is important at this age and especially for English language learners because it allows students to form social skills, including how to use the language to communicate, initiate contact and resolve conflicts with other peers. This is important for English language learners because in previous studies English language learners had a hard time forming friendships because of not knowing how to communicate verbally, but play allows them to do so.

Importance of Play in Early Childhood

http://momtrusted.com – The importance of play in early childhood education is immense. Knowing all the type of play and the benefits of each will make you a…

With the majority of the students being English language learners, this made me wonder if the students were participating in play more for a reason. From what I observed during my field placement most of the student lack confidence during instruction time because students either don’t know the letter they are being asked to identify or they don’t know how to pronounce it and are scared of trying or being incorrect. They usually stare at you in silence until being given the answer or other directions. Several investigations have shown English language learners develop through a silent period in which they speak less and listen more. Therefore, teachers need to keep that in mind when English language learners are trying to obtain new information and knowledge.

Overall:

Overall, all future educators are going to encounter English language learners at some point during their career. It is important to have patience with these students and making sure they are receiving the needs they might need compared to other students. Not only that, it is important to understand their home life and their cultural heritage since those are all things that affect their emotional, social, nutritional and physical self. Furthermore, it is important for teachers to observe their behaviors during free play and instructional time because it can help you gain knowledge on their social skills and many other skills as well.

Additional Resources:

A Qualitative Study of the Play of Dual Language Learners in an English-Speaking Preschool

 

A Lifelong Learner

Welcome to my first blog at Millersville University! In this blog post I will share my story on why I wanted to become a lifelong learner for young children.

It all started when I started to attend elementary school. After school, I would usually want to play teacher because I enjoyed elementary school a lot. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher when I would make my sister and all my neighborhood friends play teacher with me. I was a little bossy when I was younger and I had to be the teacher every time we played. I would teach my friends lessons, give them tests and homework, grade their assignments and even assign them to classroom jobs.

During my first grade academic year, I remember doing a numerous amount of reading assessments with my first grade teacher, like a running record. My first grade teacher took notice of me struggling in reading and other literacy skills.

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My first grade teacher recommended to my parents that I should take summer reading classes to promote my literacy skills and help me be better prepared for second grade. I remember feeling upset and frustrated that I needed to go to these classes over the summer and couldn’t play with my neighborhood friends. I remember feeling like I wasn’t smart or good enough because I needed to put in more time and work into school than my friends.

Until one day I started to feel relief and grateful. As much as I dreaded going to reading classes over the summer, I do have to say it was beneficial for me and really did help prepare me for second grade. I started not to care if I took longer than my friends when it came to completing assignments, I started to improve my literacy skills when taking my time and believing in myself.

Therefore, I want to create an inclusive classroom where all students can achieve their goals in whatever learning style works for them and get students eager to learn. I don’t want any of my students to ever feel not smart or good enough because I remember the feeling and each and every child as the potential to achieve their goals.

The educational philosopher’s I admire the most is Lev Vygotsky and Abraham Maslow.

Vygotsky theory on zone of proximal development is important to know when trying to develop an inclusive classroom because there has been times where students are presented with information that is too hard or too easy for students and then they lose interest or behaviorally act out.

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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is also important when trying to have students achieve their goals. If children are hungry, tired, scared or don’t have their needs met, they will not learn. Having a school district provide breakfast and lunch for students is important and beneficial in my opinion. If I worked in a school district that couldn’t provide that, I would make sure to have snacks, extra clothes and other essentials that the students may need.

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My professor and peers are teaching me about the why and how of early childhood. I have received field experiences since I started here freshman year and it is beneficial for my peers and I to practice teaching strategies in our placements and receive that experience working along students and teachers. Suggesting ideas and learning new information is always beneficial.

As I continue this path as a lifelong learner, I will continue to learn and grow. Education is constantly growing and changing and it’s my job to keep up with it. I want to be that teacher that helps my students learn, grow and achieve their goals. I want my students to develop a love for learning, like I did.