The two observations for this study were done by the inquirer at a reception class, at one of the primary schools based at Newham, London. However, in observing the provisions of the data and information protection Act, the names of the teachers, students and the school will be kept anonymous…
The observation class had 24 learners, all from different community background; 3 support teachers and the class teacher. The children fall between 3 and 4 years, and during the start of the class, they were all sited on the floor, as the teacher took the class register. Due to their varied community backgrounds, approximately 80 percent of the learners are bilingual: they are of language and national backgrounds foreign to the U.K. The observation reports for observation 1 and 2 are included in this report as Appendix 1 and 2, respectively. Qualitative observation was the primary qualitative tools of inquiry used for this particular observation study, towards ensuring that the study gave as much information as possible, through the two observation cases. The narrative method of reporting is used in presenting the information and the inferences drawn form the two observations: narrative reporting was an effective evaluation and reporting model for this observation. The principle of ‘emergent literacy’ is used to describe the wider conception of learning, for the learners between the ages 0 to 5. Under this conception, emphasis is placed on informal learning strategies and learning settings, using a variety of activities and exercises, for example the activity of fighting dinosaurs, which looks very informal, but offered an effective learning experience for the children (Yarden et al., 1999). Critical evaluation and analysis of the resources and the strategies used during the exercise As explained by Maria Montessori (1870-1952), young learners, during their initial years of schooling, require a systematic and orderly way of training and education – so they can master different skill-sets, one after another. This is in line with Whitehead (2010), who advocates that learners, during early years of learning should be taught using activities like writing and reading exercises, incorporated into plays. For example, during the second activity, the teachers required the learners to write or draw names of things they were familiar with, for example dog and cat, as a way to improve their comprehension of the letters of the alphabet. The activities helped them to explore the surroundings around them, so they can create sense from their perceived experiences. The two activities for the class are developed according to the standards of the EYFS syllabus, which incorporates learning in fun to do activities, and plays or games. For example, through the activity of the fighting dinosaurs, the social and communication skills of the children were greatly fostered (DCSF, 2008). According to Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934), instructors are obligated to carefully observe, design and plan study activities in a way that will challenge the young learners’, next level of conception and learning. From the current case, it is evident that the teachers had designed the activities in a careful manner – so as to enhance and simulate the interest of the learners in the learning incorporated into play. For example, through the first activity, where different children were supposed to act-out different roles, the creativity of the children was fostered – for example, they were supposed to make dinosaur sounds. The group that was supposed to protect the baby dinosaur was to build a wall to shield it, which greatly improves the motor skills of children within their age range. According to Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), special emphasis should be placed on ensuring that children are not taught concepts or ideas that they may not be ready to take-in. For example, in the second observation, the teacher only required the children to draw words of common things ...
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