Carol Frank’s article really made an impression on me relevant to my upcoming classroom ethnographic observation. Frank’s use of comparison between the student-teachers and her own notes was impressive. I could see myself being tempted to say “the classroom was noisy,” rather than “the soft, classical music ebbed in and out, as the kids interacted with each other.”
Purcell-Gates’ article is a theoretical review of the field of ethnography. While Frank centers on the “how-to” of ethnography, Purcell-Gates concentrates on the theories and states that ethnography is “qualitative research” rooted in the concept of culture”(93). It is a literacy research methodology used for research in which questions such as “why, how, what is happening, and what does it look like?” (93). Purcell-Gates goes on to explain the elements of ethnography.
At this point in my ethnographic observation of classrooms, I intend to follow Frank’s model for note taking and note making. I am trying to do my homework and think hard about what my biggest challenge will be in the classroom and am making lists of the kind of things I will be investigating: example, the dynamics in the classroom between the Instructor and the students, is the Instructor’s teaching philosophy visible in his methods of teaching? I will also make an effort to keep the ethnographic perspective of a student-teacher when performing my observation.