Observations of a Classroom

My reflections are based on my observations of an art lesson of year 7 students and their teacher who facilitated a practical 90 minute lesson (Appendix). My reflections draw on the theories of Piaget and Vogotsky to offer possible explanations for the actions observed during the class. I will attempt to validate teacher and student actions and interactions as part of a larger educational developmental milieu.   Piagets theory provides a frame of reference by which the teacher can conceptualise the behaviours of students and plan educational activities consistent with their development (Wadsworth, 1973). Piaget’s theory recognizes the traditional goals of education, but does not agree with all the traditional methods.   (Kamii, 1983). Children construct their own knowledge by giving meaning to the people and places and things in their world. Piaget said ‘Construction is superior to instruction’ (Travers, Elliot & Kratochwill, 1993). Vygotsky states that children learn best when they are doing work themselves and creating their own understanding as opposed to being given an explanation by adults.   Vygotsky has the zone of proximal development (ZPD) as central to his theory. It is explained as the distance between the most difficult task a child can do alone and the most difficult task a child can do with help from peers and teachers   (Mooney, 2000).

My observations are consistent with Piagetian principles and compliment Vygotsky’s theory. The normal open interaction of students, discussions between the teacher and groups of students allows students to interact in valuable ways. Group work allows children to coordinate different points of view, and to compare outcomes (Wadsworth,

1973). The group I observed demonstrated the view of the child from a Vygotskyian perspective of a social child. The sharing of ideas and the social interaction created a climate where ideas flowed and if a group member got stuck, discussion amongst the group...