The artifact below is a journal I kept while partaking in my Literacy for Second Language Learners class at Winona State University. The reflections I wrote after spending time volunteering in an English as a Second Language classroom. I volunteered in the fifth grade ESL classroom at the Winona Middle School. I was able to attend the classroom on ten different occasions, totaling 15 hours.
In this type of classroom students are in a small group setting where they can be given more individual attention to strengthen their skills in the language of English. Students who are learning English as their second language are diverse learners because they unlike mainstream students in the United States classrooms are not fluent in the English language. Many of these students were not born in the United States and with their family moved here. These students must do the required coursework of the classroom along with working to become fluent in English.
This experience addresses the standard of diverse learners. Specifically my time in this classroom demonstrates substandard A, which is being able to understand and identify differences in approaches to learning and performance modes and multiple intelligences, and know how to design instruction that uses a student’s strengths as the basis for continued learning. My journal addresses this standard because being in an ESL classroom a teacher needs to be able to identify different ways to approach a child’s learning. By keeping this journal I was able to observe and reflect on different types of instructional strategies for each individual child.
By observing a teacher and her ESL classroom I was able to view different instructional strategies for teaching diverse learners. The strategies and techniques I learned through this classroom connect to my education program because I can relate these techniques to any classroom I am involved in. Students who are learning English are not the only diverse learners in a classroom, but I can use the same strategies or similar strategies to instruct other learners.
This artifact shows my best work because it shows my own thoughts and views. For others and myself it is beneficial and interesting to look back and view my thoughts and opinions at that time. By connecting my observations and reflections to literature or professional journals it also shows me that my thoughts and observations are credible because there is research backing up the same interpretation I saw in a classroom.
If I were going to modify this artifact I think I would have attempted to be in the classroom more frequently in a shorter time period. I attended the classroom every Tuesday and Thursday for 5 weeks and I was able to observe quite a few hours but I felt I wasn’t able to see the classroom day to day. I would come on a Tuesday and they would be doing a totally different unit or lesson then when I was there the previous Thursday. I think it would have been more beneficial for me to attend the class for two weeks straight or three times a week so I could have seen a more realistic viewing of their daily classroom.
Also with my journal I think I would add more to my reflection. If I could do it all over again I would sit down right after my observation and write on a piece of paper thoughts and feelings I had immediately after I observed. While I was in the classroom I was able to interact and help teach the students so I found it difficult to find time to take notes while I was in the class. I would have liked to keep a piece of paper right next to me during observation so I could write down thoughts as they came to me.