Monday, January 29, 2007

Sarah Michaels "Sharing Time"

This reading reminded me so much of when I was in elementary school and the times when we were asked to bring something to class for "show and tell." I remember that I enjoyed the time taken to do things like this because it was an opportunity for me to tell everyone of some exciting or different thing that my family and I did. I recalled this because Michaels mentions sharing time in Mrs. Jones' class as a "unique speech event" where the children used a "highly marked intonation contour" that they did not do in other activities. I think that most children do like when a special time is set aside specifically for them because it is when they are able to share something of their like. It is when they can tell the other kids that there is something different or special about them. I think that it is an opportunity for kids to feel important and unique because they are sharing something that other kids may not know about. For example Mindy had the opportunity to tell the class about her experience at camp and how she learned to make candles.

Another thing that I found interesting was her findings in the differences in discourse between white and black children. Perhaps it is that I have not spent much time around young children, but I had not thought about this before. I would not have thought that there were differences in the manner that they described events. I did not know or think that there would be differences in focus of topics between the white and black children because they are a group of children of the same age and are all in the first grade. Although at the end of the reading she does analyze Mrs. Jones conversation with Deena and does try to make it a little clearer and explains that perhaps Deena was not given the opportunity to explain herself because of Mrs. Jones' questions. I think that what she meant by this was that the questions simply confused Deena when she was trying to find the words for the connections she had already thought of.

I do agree with Michaels when she says in the conclusion that what causes these types of problems are "unintentional mismatches in conversation style." What I think this means is that teachers are used to or set to a certain way of teaching that they probably attempt to get the child to make sense of things too quickly and try to help them by asking questions. Although it may not be that the child forgot what they were talking about, but they are simply searching for the words to explain what they are thinking.

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