Observing Communication

I work with children ages three through five so I decided to observe a two and three- year-old class since I was not around this age group as much. In walking in the classroom, I started to observe the teacher interacted and communicated with the children.  The class consisted of 9 two and three-year-olds. There are seven boys and two girls in the class.  As I entered into the class some of the children were playing in the housekeeping area and others were on the floor playing with blocks and floor puzzles. The teacher was cleaning off the tables because they had just finished their breakfast. The teacher had her back against the class as she wiped off the tables and swept the floor.  Every now and then, the teacher would tell a child to sit down or be quiet but never stopped what she was doing or make eye contact with the child she was talking to.  When she finally finished cleaning she told the children to clean up because they were getting ready to have their circle time. When they were done cleaning the teacher gathered all of her materials for circle time and sat on the floor. The children sat on the floor in a circle. At this point the teacher was at the children’s level.  In the media segment Kolbeck states how vital it is for the teacher to bend down on the child’s level so that he/she is able to talk and listen to the child (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).  During circle time, they sang a song that allowed each child to stand up and dance when their name was called. Some of the children stood up when their name was called and those that did not stand up to dance the teacher skipped their name.  When the song was finished, the teacher asked each child their name, birthday, and age.  For the most part most part, majority of the children did not know their birthday and last name but they knew their first name and age. Some had to have assistance from the teacher.  After circle time they broke up into their center time. I did not observe the teacher communicated with any one child at any point.
However, I noticed the teacher communicated with a child when he was doing something they should not.  For example, one little boy was throwing blocks. The teacher hollered out the child’s name and told him to, “Stop throwing the blocks becmaxresdefaultause he may hit somebody with one.”  The teacher was not paying attention to the children play
ing and she was walking around and doing other things.  One philosop
hy that Kolbeck suggests is that
teachers watch children play so that they can learn about that child (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).
Within this class I learned that the 2 year olds in this class used verbal words as well as body language to express themselves.  For example, the teacher turned on the cd player and played music and all the children jumped up and started dancing, spinning around and jumping up and down.  They were even trying to sing the words to the song even though they did not know all the words. This assured me that the children enjoyed listening, singing, and dancing to the music.  In the media segment Kolbeck children use their bodies a lot to communicate (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).  At one point I finally heardDrawing Workshop for Children the teacher ask one little girl what she was drawing in the art center. The little girl responded with “my mommy and daddy.” The teacher then asked her to tell her more about her picture and she did. Then there was the time when she was talking to the little boys in the block area and they were talking to her about spaceships and swords. Stephenson (2009) states that “many children were eager to spend time with an adult who was keen to listen to them. The challenge was to search for ways of talking with them that they would find engaging and that would allow them to share their ideas” (p. 90). The children did not mind speaking with the teacher and she found a way for them to further express themselves and go into detail with open ended questions. As a group there was a lot of verbal talking even if the children did not say words correctly but as individuals every child seemed to be on a different level in their speech/language skills. During circle time I feel like the teacher could have interacted more with the children to get them to talk and share ideas like reading a story and ask them questions that would encourage them to give a detail answer besides yes or no.  Overall, I feel like the teachers communicated to the children with respect. The teachers did not use a lot of short phrases and simple
words with children but complete sentences.  Even though they stuck by their schedules the teacher did not let the children know what they were going to do next they were just told to clean up and sit down. In the article “The nature of teacher talk during small group activities,” it was revealed that the teacher’s conversation with the children were limited to telling them what they were going to do next (Rainer Dangei, & Durden, 2010).   “Teacher talk is a powerful classroom tool.  Studies document the importance of teacher language in children’s development, in early literacy development, in children’s perceptions of self and others, and in facilitating play (Rainer Dange,i & Durden, 2010, p. 74).  How I observed the communication between an adult and child is different compared to how I communicate with young children.  When working with children especially young children, I try to find creative ways that the children can communicate and use their words.  I talk to them and get them to tell me a little about themselves indirectly such as their favorite toy, activity, color, sport, food and then ask questions and make statements. Whenever I speak with my children, I get down to their level and to talk as well as listen.

In reading this week’s resources, I learned that it is important to watch how children play because it tells a lot about the child (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). I also learned that when interacting with a child, we should allow the child to respond.  The teacher must create a space where the adult and the child is able to hear and listen to one another (Stephenson, 2009). One way I feel that I can improve is the strategy that Stephenson (2009) mention which is stepping back and how I can actually learn how much a child is trying to tell me if I only just listen and hear them.

References

Laureate Education, Inc. (2011). Strategies for working with diverse children: Communicating with young children. Baltimore, MD: Author

Rainer Dangei, J., & Durden, T. R. (2010). The nature of teacher talk during small group activities. YC: Young Children, 65(1), 74-81. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Education Research Complete database. http://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=47964033&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Stephenson, A. (2009). Conversations with a 2-Year-Old. YC: Young Children64(2), 90-95. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Education Research Complete database. http://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=37131016&site=ehost-live&scope=site

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2 thoughts on “Observing Communication

  1. Dionna,
    I agree with your observation regarding the circle time, “The teacher could have interacted more with the children to get them to talk and share ideas like reading a story and ask them questions that would encourage them to give a detail answer besides yes or no.” This would have been a great time to activate their schema and build language skills. Rainer and Durden (2010) encourage us to plan activities that initiate conversation and promote thinking skills.
    Reference
    Rainer Dangei, J., & Durden, T. R. (2010). The nature of teacher talk during small group activities. YC: Young Children, 65(1), 74-81. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Education Research Complete database. http://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=47964033&site=ehost-live&scope=site

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dionna, great observation. During your time in the classroom you observed a lot. Some of the things that you observed was negative. For example, you stated that the teacher was cleaning up after lunch. While cleaning the teacher did not make eye contact with the class to make sure they were on task. Having your back to the child means that the teacher was not being attentive to her class. At some point the teacher was supposed to engage with her class. When young children are not being attending to things happen. Never tell a child to “be quiet”, instead encourage the child to use their indoor voices. According to Dangei and Durden (2009), “it’s important to consider the actual words we say to children.” As you speak to the children remember to make eye contact. In doing this children will feel valued as a person. During circle time you stated that the teacher skipped some of the children because they didn’t want to participate. The teacher should have encouraged the children to participate. She should have told the children that they could have done something else instead. I enjoyed reading your post. You pointed out a lot of details. Thank you
    Reference:
    Rainer Dangei, J., & Durden, T. R. (2010). The nature of teacher talk during small group activities. YC: Young Children, 65(1), 74-81. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Education Research Complete database. http://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=47964033&site=ehost-live&scope=site

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