From: Annie McDevitt
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 26 Nov 1996
Remote Name: porter-lab04.ucsc.edu
Filogonio, Male, Age 10
On Friday at Barrios Unidos, I played with Filogonio. It seems like every time he comes, he plays the same game or with the same program, The Lion King. I don't know if maybe it would be better if he switched around and tried different games. There might be skills which he could learn from different games. For example, Filogonio can play this game without needing to understand english. It might be cool if he could play a game which would challenge his english capabilities. I haven't tried to suggest he try another game because he seems very content with what he's doing. Anyway, he started to play the game where you have to use the mouse to turn a card over. The card has a picture of one of the characters from the Lion King and you try to find its match. So we started to play it together. Filogonio would beat me everytime. Maybe I wasn't trying hard enough, but he seemed to have a really good memory. I didn't really notice any strategies he was using to remember. It just seemed like he had a photographic memory. I should ask him how he remembers so well. He would get really excited and start saying things like "Voy a ganar,voy a ganar". So I would joke with him and tell him he was cheating. Then Mercedes played the game with him and she won. Then he didn't seem to enjoy it as much. Maybe he only liked to play it if he was winning. The reason I know he didn't enjoy it was because he didn't want to play anymore, he lost interest after Mercedes won.
I think Filogonio and I were experiencing collaborative learning because we were taking turns and competing against one another. Then again, I'm not sure what we learned from one another. I learned that he had a good short term memory, better than mine, which was interesting to me. I also learned that he prefers to play games when he's winning. I don't think he necessarily learned anything from me though or that I was guiding him. I think the game was top down because it was teaching memorization skills without drilling. Filogonio saw the point of the game as winning or finding as many matches as possible. I don't think he was aware that he was improving his memorization. It was an informal experience because we were using a game to learn. My time with Filogonio made me wonder if kids have better short term memories than adults. But Mercedes seemed to do better than him, so maybe it's an individual thing. As well I wonder if kids are usually more motivated to stick with something when they appear to be doing well, or better than other kids. If that's true, then that could have a very negative impact on kids who speak english as a second. They might get very discouraged after always seeing other kids do better than them. If they don't have the feeling that they are ever achieving anything then they might be tempted to give up. Accordingly, it's important that limited english proficient kids are engaged in activities in which they can use their language and see that they do have valuable skills.
I think I chose to work with Filogonio because I really like working with kids who are primarily spanish speaking. It's a challenge to me and I enjoy exploring how they learn and ways to teach so that the language difference isn't a barrier.