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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hola! Yesterday when I arrived at the International School of Madrid, the principal asked me if I would help out in the nursery classroom instead of in the kindergarten classroom that I have been working with. Of course I was willing to do so and I was looking forward to seeing what a nursery classroom looks like. The children are two-three years old and adorable. However, all of them speak Spanish and hardly any English, which was obviously a problem for me. It can be very frustrating to have a child speaking to you and not being able to understand, to respond, or tell them what to do. Despite this, I did enjoy being in the nursery classroom. There are 26 students, which I think is too many. The whole scene was chaotic. There was always someone crying or screaming, which made it difficult to get anything substantial done. The day started with the students playing in the classroom. They played with blocks and toys, drew, looked at books, played in a sand box etc. Then the teacher had them all sit on the mat and she read them a story. Although I was pleased to see that this teacher had more books in her classroom and was reading them to her students frequently, the book was totally inappropriate for their age and level. It was way too long, with way to many words, and the story was much too complex for two year olds to follow, pay attention, and understand. This became obvious as I watched the students become increasingly fidgety and distracted while the teacher was reading. I think these are things that I notice a lot while I have been at the school in Madrid because of the amount of time we spent picking and choosing books to read during my first prac last spring. The classroom was large, and was pretty standard in terms of what we would expect to see in America as well. There was a circle rug in the front, a book case, several small tables for group work, stuff to play house with, a sand box, and a place the students can play with water. While in the nursery classroom, I noticed that classroom management seems to be the most important factor for the teacher to consider, especially in a room with 26 two year olds. Normally the teacher has a teaching assistant in the classroom with her all day, but since that person was absent yesterday I was meant to take her place. The teacher, Ms. Locket, seemed to have a decent amount of control over the classroom. The students would scream and cry, but would respond quickly to Ms. Locket. If she was reading a story to the students, many of them would be chatting or crying. Often times she would ignore them, but sometimes she would tell them to be quiet or put them in a time out in the corner. It is hard to judge if the management methods that she uses are effective, because I only saw them in action briefly. I am curious how she handles the students when they have conflicts, as two year olds are often pushing each other and tattling on each other. The experience was pretty overwhelming, but eye-opening and enjoyable nonetheless.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shelby.. this definitely sounds like a learning experience! I would certainly be overwhelmed in this classroom of 26 two-year-olds, especially when I couldn't speak the language! I too was surprised by the number of students in the classrooms I worked in. In my school in Scotland, I worked between two grade 4 classrooms and one classroom had 31 students and the other 27 students. There was an aide that only came in a few hours a week to work specifically with certain students in reading. The younger classrooms were capped at 22 students, but had no regular aide. I think this hinders learning in a way because individualized attention is so hard to achieve. I'm looking forward to prac-ing back in Boston with closer teacher-student ratios!


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