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Classroom Observation Reflective Summary Essay
When I was preparing to conduct my ethnographic study with the Muscogee (Creek) women of Oklahoma, my professor, Valerie FENNELL, told me that I should take the attitude of "treat me like a little child who knows nothing," so that my informants would teach me what I needed to know about the culture. I found this attitude to be very helpful in establishing rapport, in getting the community members to explain things they thought I should know, and in inviting me to observe activities that they felt were important for my understanding of their culture. DeWALT and DeWALT support the view of the ethnographer as an apprentice, taking the stance of a child in need of teaching about the cultural mores as a means for enculturation. KOTTAK (1994) defines enculturation as "the social process by which culture is learned and transmitted across generations" (p.16). Conducting observations involves such activities as "fitting in, active seeing, short-term memory, informal interviewing, recording detailed field notes, and, perhaps most importantly, patience" (DeWALT & DeWALT, 2002, p.17). DeWALT and DeWALT extend this list of necessary skills, adding MEAD's suggested activities, which include developing tolerance to poor conditions and unpleasant situations, resisting impulsiveness, particularly interrupting others, and resisting attachment to particular factions or individuals. 
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These systems for observing teachers’ classroom practice are based on professional teaching standards grounded in research on teaching and learning. They use systematic observation protocols with well-developed, research-based criteria to examine teaching, including observations or videotapes of classroom practice, teacher interviews, and artifacts such as lesson plans, assignments, and samples of student work. Quite often, these approaches incorporate several ways of looking at student learning over time in relation to the teacher’s instruction.