Sunday, October 3, 2010

Service Learning: Week 4 - Public, Private, and Physical Space

In Sao Mai, every room has about three teachers to attend to 10-12 children. While the teachers have control over their children, it seems to me that there is not so much control in the classroom. The teachers follow the bells and schedule that Sao Mai sets up for them. Their daily routine isn't something that the teachers seem to pick, but more of what the whole school does. When the bell rings, it means it's time for studying, eating, sleeping, etc. The teachers don't get to decide what to with the children per say and that in itself, I think is something that needs to change. Each children in the classroom is at a different level and unique. Sometimes, when it's time to study or play, the children who arent't capable of playing seem to be left out. The other day when it was time to learn and the teachers focus on one kid at a time, the other children always seem to be really bored, or think it's time to go crazy. While that one child doesn't have the full attention from that teacher. Or what they are teaching the children, seems to be unnecessary. One time, the teachers were teaching children how to stack cups and one of the boys was already passed that and thought stacking cups was a waste of his time, so he started crying and wandering around. However, Sao Mai does offer private lesson to the special kids who do seem to be making a progress such as in speach. During certain times, another teacher will come in and take one of the children away for speech therapy. This makes me think that in terms of public space, the classroom is a public space and the children and teacher all share that one space. The term in itself gives the impression that the public space is something that should be shared and equal. The children in that classroom should all be treated the same and do things together and the same. But privately, the children do get private treatment. They go have individual lessons where I assume that teaching is done one on one and is more focused. So in that private space, the child is able to progress more. This makes the me think that although Sao Mai is a very structured and organized school, the classroom being a "public space" in my eyes is not as effective as it could be. The individual classes seem to garner more success. Also, thinking about Sao Mai in itself is a private school, only special students and the ones that have parents who can afford it, send their children their for their special needs. However, the classrooms being a public space do not actually have much focus on their children and their learning. It is only with the private lessons that their needs are more addressed.

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