From: Mercedes Monaco
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 22 Oct 1996
Remote Name: ss1-pc09.ucsc.edu
Ed asked: do you feel that when you are in this context that if a kid is anxious, the teacher or expert who is teaching also needs to be anxious, or not? In other words, do they need to give back what the child is feeling?
I definately don't think that a childs anxiety should be reflected back at them. I do however think that its a somewhat natural human response that can be difficult to control.
Also, this event really made me think how much a role the kids play in the context of learning. How the way the interact with others may either get the person anxious / furstrated vs. calm and relaxed. What are your thougthts on this?
I agree. Kids emotional state make a huge impact on who they are working with. Usually you hear about it in indirect ways, like, "I had a hard time working with him/her today." Often what they're saying is that the kids mood rubbed off on them to some degree.
Also, what doyou think Edgar learned fro this experience?
I think he learned from trial and error. With the Hero game he was learning in that way how to live longer and he was learning about it in the whole computer problem. Basically I think he learned that things don't always work out and thats ok.
What did you learn as well? I think I learned not to assume I know how a child will react and to just relax and go with the flow while I'm working with kids.
Annie wrote: Another interesting thing to look into would be how children's moods affect their teachers and vice versa. I wonder if frustration can be contagious in a class room Who knows?
Annie, I definately think its contagious. I wonder how we could come up with a way to test it that would be ethical. I feel uncomfortable intentionally manipulating people's moods, ya know?
Edgar, 6 year old boy, Eugene (the prof), David, age 21?, Maurice 23?
I spent most of the day with Edgar. He was extremely personable. When I arrived Edgar was seated at a computer playing Hero. I had never seen this game before so I just sat down to watch him. He enjoyed the game and I watched him make mistakes and die, and come back the next time avoiding the mistakes. He usually knew when he was doing something to keep him from dying and always smiled while doing. ie: When you move the guy under a bolder, the boulder falls, which can kill you. After discovering this Edgar would move right up to the boulder, then look at me smiling, and try to move the guy as quickly as possible under the boulder so as not to die. He had this move down well and was always excited after he got out of it alive. I think that was his favorite part of the game. He was moving the little man around, going after the hearts, when all of a sudden some error type screen came up. Eugene told me he had just loaded the game and for some reason the mouse didn't work so we couldn't click the button we needed. So, we restarted the computer and the game. After about three tries David showed us what to do and it was all better. (Thank you David). The amazing thing was that Edgar was great through out the whole thing. When his computer was being re-booted, or having problems, he would just watch the kid playing a game next to him. He and I had bad luck that day. The C.D. computer stopped working for us and Maurice and another guy from Barrios Unidos tried to fix it, but it didn't work. Edgar just sat there watching them. He never got upset and after they left he asked if we could restart it one more time to see if it would work and even though I knew it wouldn't I told him how to restart it so he could participate in it all. It didn't work, so he just moved on to play jacks at another computer
I had a great time working with Edgar mostly because he was so calm. If he had known the phrase I'm sure he would have said repeatedly, "Its all good." If something didn't work he'd find a new way of entertaining himself. This had a great effect on me. Normally, kids get anxious and annoyed and I feel like I have to do something, which makes me anxious too. This time I could be as calm as Edgar.
How is it that a six year old can be so relaxed and flexible when so many of the other kids are not?