This quarter, I am taking an internship education course. This course gives me the chance to observe and interact with elementary school students at the UCLA Lab School in the real school setting. The lab school is affiliated to UCLA. Researchers and professors at UCLA implement their research findings in the classrooms. Children at the school also participate in researches.
A lot of ideas teachers adopted at the lab school is so different and new to me. For math, unlike other schools where teachers teach children algorithm, teachers here do not teach much algorithm to children. The first and second grade students have only learned plus so far. The teacher told me that they have not taught children how to do minus and multiplication. Instead, to solve more challenging math problems, students are encouraged to develop their own strategies such as grouping the numbers, using supplementary physical materials or counting up the numbers. Teachers explained to me that children are still very young at this stage, allowing them to use their individualized methods are beneficial to their cognitive development and will prepare for their future study. I found that all of the children in the class enjoy math including the ones are not really good at it.
Children at the lab school are also nice to people they do not know. In both of the classes rooms, after I introduced myself to the children for the first time, I asked them if they had any questions for me. A lot of them raised their hands and asked me all kinds of questions from my favorite color to my birthday and TV shows. I realize it is really essential for young Chinese students to be able to express themselves and ask questions just like their American peers.