Saturday, January 14, 2006

3 Robbers




The Case of The Three Robbers SOLVED!
Cynthia Ballenger's article "Reading Storybooks with Young Children: The Case of The Three Robbers" provides the reader with a sense of the internal thought processes a teacher undergoes when trying to make a lesson fit an expected goal or outcome. Ballenger encounters a problem when student behavior and responses in a story telling setting are different from her own experiences and desired outcomes. The process of teaching can be frustrating when objectives and results do not match. The situation prompts one to be flexible and creative to find a resolution. Ballenger is guided towards reflection: “before trying to fix anything, we needed to know… what the children were saying and doing” (2004). In the case presented by Ballenger her reading of The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer to her class was recorded and needed to be supplemented with a careful reflective analysis of what her students did and said during the reading process. This allowed her to reflect on the process of teaching with the BTRS (colleagues). She reconsiders her goals and the practice of story telling based on this documentation of experiences, problem solving with the BTRS, and working further with students in a bilingual (ESL) early childhood classroom.
As a teacher candidate I find that Ballenger’s article contributes to my understanding of the process of teaching. I understand that most teachers’ are guided by a philosophy of education that informs their practices in the classroom. Ballenger’s problem is not unique to bilingual (ESL) classrooms because any teacher may encounter a situation when their beliefs and experiences differ from the experiences of his or her students. How a teacher faces this conflict of philosophy and experience is telling of his or her professional aptitude. It takes time and creativity to document and go through the process of self-reflection. What I liked about the process that Ballenger undertakes is that she does not just question why the students interrupt during story telling but why she should be so bothered by their discussions. Ballenger seeks to understand and meet the needs of her students following different cultural patterns for discourse and story telling. She makes the experience of learning about and through cultural difference very real.

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