From: Nancy Smith
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 18 Aug 1996
Remote Name: pax-ca26-42.ix.netcom.com
Hi Eugene and everybody--
I like your field note a lot. I'm trying to apply the five core questions to your field note:
>1. How do we know that children are learning?
I don't think that this event has evidence of learning.
>2. What could children learn from computers and computers games?
It was not a computer game.
>3. What's the difference between school-based learning and everyday learning?
I feel things like that can and can't happen in school. Kids can become mad at each other in school as well but destruction of each other's activity products would attracts the teacher's attention and would lead potentially to punishement of the kids, so kids are more careful in school, I guess. In school, many interpersonal conflicts among kids often occur away from adults' eyes. In informal settings, like Barrios Unidos, kids can probably afford much more open behavior. That is why I think we should be really careful about interfering in kids' conflict to avoid supressing the conflicts like it happens in formal settings. We probably should find a way for a "soft" guidance.
>4. What's the difference between learning alone and learning as part of a cultural community of practice?
Working alone does not allow interpersonal conflicts to occur. Working alone does not allow to kids to learn how to work together. I also wonder if Maria and Kate learned that their contruction should be either more solid or protected against possible incidental destruction from other people wandering around.
>5. What's the best environment to promote learning?
It's difficult to say. On the one hand, for the activity sake, it maybe better if the conflicts that Eugene described would never occur because kids wasted their time and energy on re-building their marble tracks. But on the other hand, the kids had an opportunity to work out their relations and problem solving. I guess, it would be better if there was somebody who help them.
Eugene, I'd like to know if both peers alternated their marble tracks after they were destroyed to make them more solid or more protective against possible incidental destruction.
Zhenya, I'm thinking about your question regarding the difference between inquiries and reflections. I don't know, maybe "inquiries" are about YOUR drives of looking for something while "reflections" are about making connections?
I found both Eugene's and Zhenya's reflections about non-verbal vs. verbal communication intriging. I'm leaning more toward Zhenya who argues that verbal communication is crucial for resolving interpersonal conflicts. However, I also appreciate Eugene's point about cross-cultural differences. I'm a white middle-class female and I don't know much about using verbal and non-verbal communication in Latina/o communities.
I also have another spin on this issue. For some reason, it is very difficult for me to imagine boys who would behave in such non-verbal manner in their conflict as the girls, Eugene described, did. I expect boys to be more verbal in such a conflict. But maybe I'm wrong.