Alice Peterson Class Room Issues

7502 Words Mar 20th, 2016 31 Pages
CASE STUDY:
Alice Peterson

An experienced elementary school teacher is having problems with a pre-first grade class in which every student brings unique (and difficult) problems into the classroom, leading her to wonder if she is reaching anyone.

Alice Peterson drove to work mentally agonizing over the same dilemma that faced her every school day: how to help her students learn. Alice taught a class of prefers-grade children at the Mason Elementary School in Eastvale, a small town outside Chicago. This year was proving to be the most challenging and the most frustrating of Alice’s twenty-eight-year career. The Eastvale school district served a heterogeneous school population. More than 40 percent of the
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Parents’ attitudes were crucial to the success of this program. If a child detected a negative attitude about pre-first grade from his or her parents, the child would be likely to develop the same attitude and might benefit less from the extra year. Accordingly, the district often accommodated parents’ wishes.

Since it was typically the middle-class parents who rejected the pre-first class for their children, the students actually placed in these classes often came from poor, disadvantaged, minority backgrounds. Furthermore, since there was only one pre-first class in any school, all the least mature 6-year olds were placed in one classroom rather than distributed throughout several first-grade rooms. Despite these two drawbacks, Alice initially had seen the assignment as a challenge and believed that she could make a difference in these children’s lives.

Alice tried to ensure that her students developed a sense of confidence and self-worth, which the experience of “failing kindergarten” had already undermined. She began the school year using kindergarten curriculum and in January began to introduce first-grade materials. In this way, she hoped that her students would have a head start relative to their peers when they entered first grade the following fall. Alice had followed her game plan this year and started using more advanced materials after Christmas,