1. Does your student speak a language other than English at home? Do any of his/her family members speak a language other than English?
My student - Sera’s - home language is Chuukese. Her entire household speaks Chuukese.
2. During your observations, when was the student talking and participating more than other times? What were the circumstances (group size, one-on-one, activity)? Why is it important for you to notice this?
Sera participated the most when she was working with her peers. At one point in class, the teacher called her and another student for small group work. Sera answered all the questions posed to her, but she did not seem actively engaged in the instruction. However, once she began working together with people of her own age, she became considerably more lively and worked more diligently (at one point, even ordering her partner to get to work).
Learning that Sera works better in groups is important because she may feel uncomfortable or intimidated by more knowledgeable others, particularly if there is also a large age gap. There is more pressure not to mess up. However, when she is with her peers, she can rest easy as they are around the same academic level and she knows that, like her, they are fallible. Taking off this pressure by putting her into her preferred group style can help her feel more confident, be more engaged, and learning will be more fun.
3. How does the student interact with peers? Are there times the student appeared more interactive than others? What were the circumstances (subject of the conversation)? Why is this important?
Sera interacted well with her peers. She seemed to be the most active during fun activi...
... middle of paper ...
...tions or takeaways that resulted from your shadowing observations.
Up until my observation, I had thought Sera was a shy and quiet student who was isolated from her peers due to her struggles with English. This isolation is what I had previously observed with ELLs in my other classes and assumed to be the norm. Before class begins, I typically find her sitting quietly next to her mother, watching the other students play. Shadowing her, I believe it is possible that she may simply not be a morning person, as she is definitely a people person. So, in addition to learning more about Sera, I learned more about myself. This shadowing revealed some of my hidden biases, ones which could potentially interfere with my instruction in the future. Every student is different, so making sweeping generalizations based on one factor (in this case, Sera being an ELL) is never wise.
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