8.1.1 Special Need Field Experience
A log entry is a short report that describes in a factual way any incident of educational interest that occurs in the classroom, the hallway, while children are getting off the school bus, etc. They can describe interactions between children, children and adults, or children and materials in the environment.
Drama activities: The children were taken to the theatre hall where the teacher gave them a chance to try acting various roles as part of fun activities and not so as to compete. While the drama teacher encouraged each of them to act, I watched as they played various activities.
Observation: The children were so much uninterested in the acting when left to act on their own. They were however, so keen to teachers instructions. They followed the instructions and some acted so well to my amazement.
Critical analysis of the observation: I think there were immense lessons learnt from the children with special needs. The fact that those with emotional disorders had great passion for roles they were given indicated that a realization of their talents would make them be just like the normal students. The courage found in the physical challenged made us realize the need to keep on encouraging them that they can do better always. All they must be taught is that they are unique and beautiful in their own ways.
Industrial art activity: The teacher gave the children modeling clay for this activity. We supervised them as they made models of what they loved most. Those without an idea of what to make were encouraged to model their own families or even their houses.
Observation: The students made sketchily modelled members of their family. At least most of the students had a rough idea of the composition of their family. Most could model their moms, dads and elder children in their families. Those who molded their houses had rough time partition the house. They however, tried to put windows, doors and a rough. Some students however, could just play with clay by trying to hit others with it or even just making balls.
Critical analysis of the observation: This was a chance for the children to physique something appealing to themselves. Those children who have trouble with abstract ideas had a chance to grasp literally. By molding the family for example, it became easier to teach them the composition of the family. We could also use the houses they made to teach them shapes which might have been difficult for some of them to understand while in class. The most important thing is that these children learned different things differently.
Photography activity: The special children were taken to the field for photography lessons. Each child was taught how to take pictures. Special attention was given to the pictures of what they loved in the field. They took photos of each other as the most important part of the activity.
Observation: At the onset of this activity, the children shy off from doing anything. They could hold the camera with lots of fear. As this activity progresses, a child called David started gaining courage, most of the time he could take pictures even without advice of the teacher. He took so many random photos of his friends. The other children enjoyed the session by having different styles of posing.
Critical analysis of the observation: Photography is one of the most important skill to the special need children. Through photography, they gained confidence. They also learned how to love and appreciate their work through the awesome photos taken. Most importantly, they learned the skill of sharing when they showed their friends the photos they had taken. Photography therefore proved to be a very important skill in their lives.
Sporting activity: we too the children to the field and supplied them with balls. They played various games with me acting as the couch. My duty was to ensure fairness in the games as they compete. They were all enthusiastic of winning the matches.
Observation: The boys and girls all played their lungs out as they struggled to win over each other. Since they were in teams, two of them Tom and Jackson took the roles of being captains of their teams. Tom gave instructions to everyone and scolded anyone who proved sluggish in the field. Jackson was keen to telling his mates to be observant so as to mark their opponents. The enjoyed playing together and talked in the field after the games as though they have been long time friends.
Critical analysis of the observation: The sporting activity proves to more than just important. It was the best opportunity through which they bonded and interacted at a personal level. They became more open and released their emotions of joy, fear or even dejection freely. To Tom and Jackson they got a chance of exercising leadership skills without an opposition.
Dining hall activities: We took the children for meals in the cafeteria together with the teacher. We interacted with them paying attention to how first they eat and in whose company they enjoy the delicacy they are provided with.
Observation: One student by the name Paul was found to eat so fast. I observed Tom when he was eating alone and at some point I forced him to sit in a group of other young people. When in solitude he wanted the teacher to feed him and the teacher did this without complaining. When he was with others he tends to be so observant on how others are eating and therefore reduces his pace to suit the others. He was also mindful of dropping food in the table carelessly.
Critical analysis of the observation: Having children doing things together is useful in developing behaviors. A lone in seclusion they tend not to care and do things to suit their appetite without caring about the environment. The development of these children should therefore ensure social interaction. This will ensure growth of a well behaved child who is able to blend in every environment.
Drama sessions: We took the children for drama classes. Here they sang, danced and acted various roles. The teacher was training the singing group on how to pronounce the words and also how to use various cues while singing.
Observations: The children were shy to dance before the teacher. Singing was however, not a big deal. However, as they mastered the words, they could freely sing without caring about the pitch of their voices. As they echoed the words of the songs in a rhythm, beautiful started to either, node their heads or body parts. The more they sang the more they danced or moved any of their body parts that they could. This went on until all of them could sing the song. At the end of the session even the dull kids were had bright faces.
Critical analysis: This session clearly proved that music is therapeutic. The fragile and fearful children brighten up at the end of tedious and long training session. It was not only beautiful to seeing they smile, but seeing them speak up and share their joy after singing their hearts out was most fulfilling. One could not be satisfied more than this. This proved there is bright hope for the children especially if they will still be having music classes. Special attention should be put to rock music when dealing with these children as it has soothing and therapeutic effects as approved by scientists.
Boarding vehicle activity: The teacher instructed the children to go and board the bus. He was keen on helping those who could not. Special attention was paid to Andrew who was on wheel chairs and Simon who had a mental defect. We looked keenly at Andrew’s mood as we carried him to the bus. We did the same for Simon.
Observation: Simon cried a lot when asked to board the bus. He was so much terrified when the bus started moving. Andrew on the other hand struggled to get into the bus. We seemed to be delaying him while carrying him. He even tried to hope from our hands so that he could get in faster. We got terrified when he almost fell down. The children struggled to gain entrance to the bus as each of them wanted to be the first to secure a seat.
Critical analysis of the observation: Children react differently to different situations. They also have different fears speed being one of them. Some fear being enclosed thus they would not wish to even get into a vehicle. Other children however, would strongly wish to overcome their inability. They do not care about the risk for as long as they conquer in the long run.
Reading activities: We provided the children with books and various reading materials. Almost all the books were those they had been taught to read. I moved around and checked as they read. We did not recommend what they should read but informed them to read what they loved from those books.
Observation: Every child opened their favorite pages and started to read. Interestingly, one child known as Johnson opened up an assignment page. Some children shared what was in their books with their friends. The rest of the child got glued in the books reading their most awesome pages.
Critical analysis of the observation: People love different things for as long as they are appealing to them. Just like one man once said, ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison. What someone loves would be useful in understanding what they are passion about. John for example would be so passionate to do a work that requires hands on expertise, since, he loves to do and see the fruits of his work almost immediately.
Cooking activities: The teacher took the children to kitchen and with the help of the cooks gave them the menus for cookies. We tried preparing cookies. However, each mixed his/her own cookie according to the menu that was provided. Each of them was then told to eat his cookie after they were ready.
Observation: Some started eating the dough for preparing the cookie before it was even baked. Most were however patient and waited for their cookies to be ready. The funniest part was in eating since some of them did not like the taste of their cookies.
Critical analysis of the observation: The power to follow instructions is not found in everyone. The virtue of patience is also endowed in few lucky individuals. It is funny to see the feeling of dejection and disappointment in someone’s face when their projects fail just like it was seen in those with tasteless cookies.
Pet walking sessions: We used the pet in the school for this activity. We encourage the children to take their favorite pet so that we could walk them round the school.
Observation: Most children were scared of the cats and dogs. They cried and ran away upon barking of the dogs. Those who did not fear however held their chosen pets tightly and never wanted to let them go. The fearless children encouraged others to gain courage.
Critical analysis of the observation: Not every child is comfortable close to an animal. They however, care so much about their favorite animal and never want to let them go. The sound of the barking dogs or meowing cat is also perceived differently with the children’s’ auditory system. To some the barks of a dog indicate danger or possibility of attack thus they get into tears upon hearing such barks. Other only care about the joy and comfort they get by being close to the pets.
Tennis playing activity: I took the children to table and lawn tennis. While acting as the couch and referee at the same time, we took about 45 minute playing with two teams. Children who played were chosen by their fellows to be the ones leading the teams.
Observations: Each team group of the children tried so hard to ensure they win. No one wanted to allow the ball to fall down as that would make them risk losing. The rest of the team members cheered as their leaders gave shots of win. They encouraged their leaders to play harder. Those who could not talk only smiled as their leaders won. For once, all the children were joined together in a tug of war and team spirit.
Critical analysis of the observation: Playing is a good way of bringing together children. Those given opportunity to lead have to do as diligently as they feel the burden laid upon them. The enthusiasm of winning brings brightness to everyone’s face. For this reason, more engaging games would be considered therapeutic.
Cleaning activities: I supplied the children with materials for cleaning the houses and the compound. I later instructed them to thoroughly clean their classes. I supervised as each of them used his or her tool of work to ensure tidiness in the classes.
Observations: The ladies were more enthusiastic about cleaning than the boys. Every child however, ensured their sitting positions were swept clean. As they cleaned, most boys opted to collect litters rather than do the sweeping. The activity was conducted within a short period and one lady Tracy, mentioned that they were in a hurry to go and play. Team work prevailed as they carried out this exercise.
Critical analysis of the observation: No one wishes to be left as the bad one. This is seen by the way each of the children struggles to ensure their locality is as clean as the others. Interestingly, they work best when someone is observation whatever task they are doing. The spirit of togetherness is what makes the work to end within a short time. Encouraging such children to always work as team is found to be useful as they complement the weakness of one another.
Award day activities: I decided to prepare special gift, which in this case I called awards for all the children. Having had a busy week with them I felt it was wise to appreciate each of them. My awards were similar and of different colors. I allowed every child to pick his favorite color of award.
Observations: Every child was thrilled by the idea of receiving a present. Most especially the ladies were particular in picking red, pink or purple colors. The boys on the other hand only picked what came to their sight. A girl by the name Tracy wept bitterly when she could not find her favorite color. Her disappointment overshadowed her joy of receiving a gift and she started calling the teacher names, since her favorite color was not preserved.
Critical analysis of the observation: Receipt of gift is joyful to any young person. Difference in color or shape would kill uniformity of the gift since children only want that which they love whenever every ones is seen to pick what they love.