From: David Scott
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 08 Oct 1996
Remote Name: octal-lab-mac07.ucsc.edu
Ana, girl, 6 years old
I spent some time with Ana, the young girl Jakob also wrote about. I found it interersting how she often said "I can't" and threw up her arms in distaste. It was very cute. This happened while she and I were trying to assemble a house (really just a cube) using these new-fangled building tiles. They were very difficult to piece together, and Ana found an opportunity to use her favorite phrase after her every failed attempt to stick two of them together. I found myself wanting for some good ol' Legos. I was raised on Legos and I knew they would be easier for both of us to use. We weren't making much progress because she couldn't get any tiles together without me helping her more than I felt comfortable with. I didn't want her to get frustrated, so I suggested she check out the "Lion King" game she had noticed earlier playing on a computer. At that point I left her to Jakob's care.
A.C. said that she couldn't speak English, but obviously she knew the words "I can't". I wonder if anyone had bothered to teach her the words "I can".
I do feel a little bad about my decision to suggest to Ana that she try another activity because she seemed to have a clear goal in her mind -- that of constucting a house -- and I wanted to be able to help her see this goal to completion.
I realize that it is important to provide support and encouragement for any child who is trying something new. But not all of the activities will be appropriate for the entire range of children's ages we will be dealing with. It might be useful for us educators to play the computer games a little before the children to get an idea of the difficultly involved.
How can we better shape the children's activities instead of just letting them play whatever games they want? What are our goals in spending time with them? Exactly what learning should we be encouraging here? What is the difference between what we are doing and babysitting?