Ethnographic Observation: Merrill Elementary School Children

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Throughout the semester we examined ethnography, which is the study of different cultures and their practices. This examination of ethnography helped us implement cultural understanding and appreciation in our Lighted Schoolhouse lessons with elementary school kids. In this paper I will analyze and reflect on my ethnographic observations at Merrill Elementary School. My first visit to Merrill Elementary School was on February 23rd. Though this was just an observational visit, I was really nervous about interacting with the kids. I have had little to no prior experience with children so I was not confident in my ability to converse with them. The class that my group members, Nick, Yeng, and I had were the second graders. When we got into the classroom, we introduced ourselves to the kids, there were eight boys and one girl. The same was true in our future…show more content…
They were really intrigued by the Yekuana homes and the shape of the structures that represented the universe and everything inside of it. One question that I asked the kids before the presentation “what kind of people do you think live in the rainforest” received some questionable answers. Two of the answers were African Americans and Indians. I didn’t know what to say in response, but I felt like they were drawing those conclusions from stereotypes they’ve learned about. It was difficult to determine whether the kids were being actively discriminatory against the people in their answers, or if outside influences shaped their implicit biases because they were just seven/eight year old kids. My default reaction was to give them the benefit of the doubt, but it made me wonder what influenced them think that way (parents? teachers?

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