0LAUK0 PRE2016 3 Groep18 Interview

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Interview elementary teacher in training

With Eveline Engering

To gather more information about how teaching is done on elementary schools and whether a robot could be implemented in this kind of education, an interview is conducted. The first person we interviewed was Eveline Engering. Currently she is studying Pabo in the ‘Fontys Hogeschool Den Bosch’ to become an elementary teacher. This is why she had much experience in different elementary classes over the last two years. She worked in the following groups: 1&2, 5, 7 and currently she is teaching in group 3 in a dutch elementary school.

The following questions were asked to gain more information about the basics of our project.

When teaching elementary school kids, what are important (speech) patterns?

There are a few qualities that a elementary school teacher needs to have. You need to be deductive, pedagogic sensitive and of course you need to master everything you are teaching. Besides these skills and knowledge it is very important to have a good relating with your students. If you know more about your pupils you can connect the things you are teaching to their direct world, and that is very effective.

When approaching pupils it is important that no negativity is used. When for example two children are sitten near to each other and one is really paying attention and the other is doing something else, you better compliment the pupil that is doing well instead of saying the other is doing something wrong. The pupil who wasn’t paying attention will experience the compliment as something he wants too.

Another thing that is important in the educations of elementary school kids, is that the process is more important than the result. This means that the result could be worthless while the whole process was good. It is more important that the pupils learn the process to a result instead of focusing on the result. How this is done is by feed up, feedback and feedforward. In elementary schools this means that you start with feed up: telling the goal of the assignment (for example: Today we are going to finish chapter three). Next feedback will be given in the form of telling the pupils where they are at the moment (so for example: You are now at the beginning of chapter two), and finally give feed forward in the form of telling the pupils what they need to do to accomplish the goal.

Is it important to use some kind of body language while teaching elementary school kids.

It is very important to have an open attitude. This is because all pupils need to feel fine to ask for help or anything else. Also positive gestures are important to complement what you are saying, these gestures can for example strengthen a compliment. This way they will learn to understand nonverbal gestures. While teaching gestures help to support the learning aspect by adding a visual aspect. Young children really benefit from this addition.

Do you have the feeling that you are understaffed at the school?

Yes I do. The increased size of classes today lead to less personal education. With large groups it is hard to focus on individual pupils. Nowadays the focus is to keep level of the group at one level, this means that the education is given at a mean level. In order to get everyone to the mean level of knowledge, an extra focus of the education is on the pupils who are under this level. Because of the large groups and focus on the pupils with a lower level, kids with a higher level receive few or none support in the current elementary school system. Sometimes they need to help the kids with a lower level, or get extra assignments which they need to make without support. In this way, according to Eveline it is possible that these smart kids don’t use their full potential, which is too bad.

Not only in the class rooms it is noticeable, but as well after school. Because of the increase in group sizes and therefore also the increase of paperwork the pressure is high.

Do you think that some kids will benefit from personal learning?

I think that personal learning will be a good thing for all pupils. When pupils are learning at their own level, learning will go most efficient. As said weak learners already get a bit extra attention, so it would be a good thing to introduce personal learning by the smarter kids.

Which group of kids will benefit the most of personal learning?

The smart kids are less helped by today's system! So in Eveline’s view they will benefit the most when adding personal learning in our current system.

Which subjects are most important for this group of kids to learn, and in your view can be done by a robot?

In my view only the theoretical subject can be taught by a robot like math, language and for example geography.

Do you think that a robot in the classroom can add something in elementary school classes?

Yes, I think that a good function robot which is able to add some personal learning really can add something to elementary school classes. This because robots are really interesting for young people. I once made a robot out of cardboard and put it in front of the class and together brainstormed about the function of the robot. The whole group was really excited and enthusiastic about the robot. We called it henk and imagined it doing a lot of stuff. This was in group 7 so you can imagine what a real robot can contribute in elementary school.

Do you think that kids will experience learning with a robot as fun learning?

Like I said in the previous question I definitely think that learning with a robot will be experienced as fun learning.

Do you think fun learning is an effective way of teaching?

Yes I really do think that it is an effective way of learning. This I know because we use it all the time to teach children things like math and languages.

Stick to their environment.

Do you use educational games to learn skills to kids?

We use educational games all the time, especially by the lower classes. One example of a educational game is that we throw two dices and let the kid add it up, or retract it from each other. This really learns the meaning of numbers to children. We use this around class 3 and 4, because around this age kids begin to understand what numbers are.

Which groups are most suitable for implementing personalised learning with a robot ?

I think that every kid in every elementary school class will find the robot very interesting. But the simple educational games will be more suitable for the lower classes. The robot could be interesting for higher groups if you implement some kind of programming game to teach children to simple program a robot. You can for example maybe make a game where the kid needs to program the robot by voice. And the robot will act on this just like the kid mentioned.

Interview with occupational therapist

With Fleur Bennenbroek

Fleur is an occupational therapist and works with children on the field of academic skills, fine motor skills and concentration. She works with all kind of children of the elementary school. After I explained our idea and vision I asked her some questions to focus on children's behaviour. She was very positive about our ideas and the project itself. In the beginning when explaining our idea she said that she thinks the higher lower game is too easy for the 3rd grade children because they can count to 10 already in 3rd grade. For the game with the dices with letters she advises to check out Boggle, because that is a game she plays sometime with children. She thinks that one of the most important things is that the child has to actively participate in a game like throwing the dice it self. Because children like to do things theirself.


When teaching elementary school kids, what are important (speech) patterns?

Some kind of incentives come more direct to the children based on noise. Speaking is more direct, different tones helps the child to keep attention to the robot. Strong incentives are more direct and the child can keep attention better.

Is it important to use some kind of body language while teaching elementary school kids.

Children like to do things or copy things like moving. So it is smart to let the child show something like body language. Or let the child really play with the robot. She suggested something like that the robot has to move their arms 10x in the air and the child has to do it also himself and has to count along. She also advises that the children has to be as active as possible when working with a robot.

Which subjects are most important for this group of kids to learn, and in your view can be done by a robot?

Writing, math and language. Writing is very hard because some handwritings of children she can’t read herself let alone a robot can do it. Language and math is a good idea to do with a robot. Recognizing letters is something for group 3. Something like showing a letter and the child has to write is himself on a ipad for instance can maybe be a good idea.

What is the best way to learn a child something?

It is per child different but she said that moving helps a child to learn better and that they remember it better, this was scientifically proven she said. A lot of children are sitting slouched or are sitting on 2 legs from the chair, this is because children seek movement (especially boys). She thinks the robot can help these children get movement.

How will a child react to something new?

It depends on how interesting it is. Every child finds a robot interesting and fun, but maybe a few can be scared by the robot.

Do you think a robot can teach a child something/ what?

Yes, especially math or spelling a robot can teach, but spelling is hard because there are so many rules like Jantje snoeper or using dt etc. She thinks the block game is a good idea to teach the children spelling.

Does fun learning really helps a child to learn something?

Fun learning helps a lot to learn a child something extra. A game helps a child to learn something because the child has more intrinsic motivation. When the motivation only apply to the teacher a child can learn less. When children are coming to Fleur to learn writing or reading, the most doesn't like it in the beginning because they are not good at it. When she tries to do it in a fun way then the child is more motivated, and the child can actually learn a lot then. An unmotivated child is hard to learn something to, it has to come from both sides.

Do you think we can learn all the classes of the elementary school something with a robot?

Yes you can use a robot in any case, it is only the skill level what is different to teach a child really something. Even children of group 8 does find a robot interesting. The programming game is a good idea, because the child really has to remember something. The child finds if very fun when the robot is moving based on what they said.

Is the robot applicable on your job?

I don’t think so because occupational therapy is especially based on fine motor skills, fingers and writing. It is very hard to apply these to a robot, because the robot has to detect something of the child how it is dealing with something or does something.