Analyzing Problem 23

The best way to show someone how to speak and communicate is to start off with the basics. In Problem 23, a teacher begins by dictating a short sentence, “I love the puppy.” Students are then expected to write down the sentence with the correct spelling. She adds on to the writing experience by asking for all the students to write down an additional 7 spelling words. She then begins an interactive activity of correcting all the words and having the students correct each other. This is a good opportunity for the students to practice their words as well as practice play with others. Later on she introduced a book for the group to possibly one day read, but for today their job was to translate images into words and try to figure out the story.

There were some conflicts in this program though. One girl continued to try to jump ahead. She would see patterns in the words and that would cause her to go to the next word before anyone else. While her eagerness and confidence could be admirable, the child does not yet have a solid grasp on language well enough to go alone. This is what led to her having two words incorrect. Part of her job right now is to listen and learn. Her jumping ahead also harms the other children’s learning, it takes time from the teacher and then repeated instruction is needed.

In the passage, there are points where the teacher’s frustration can easily be seen. The troublemaker girl is excited at the book reading, and the teacher’s tired response of “Well, just calm down” could be the response of a bored teacher who’s done this activity countless times in the past. Her repeated attempts to tell the girl to calm down lead a reader to believe she is frustrated by a girl who never listens.

Looking at the child’s response to the teacher, an argument for their initial meeting and social standings with each other could be the cause of her disobedience. The teacher likely made the mistake of trying to be social and placating in the past, become a friend figure rather than the teacher. This can cause a conflict when she tries to teach concepts to the children, especially to troublemakers, as they don’t feel the need to listen closely or to stay engaged.

One comment

  1. Eric Drown says:

    This is a solid analysis of the social situation depicted in Problem 23. I’d love to see it enriched by a more explicit use of the idea of Discourse and the Building Tasks to characterize the dynamics of the interactions. There are relationships being built, identities in play, dominant and non-dominant Discourses interacting…. Practice using the technical language of Discourse analysis because all pieces of expert writing have bits of jargon (sign systems) they use to build significance and knowledge, and to establish their writer as an expert. This is a crucial move to learn how to do to become a professional.

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