A Lesson In People Watching

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By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Carly Ackerman, a teacher at Boys’ Latin Charter School in Philadelphia is teaching her 10th grade composition students about ethnography…not by reading, but primarily by field work. As sophomore Marcus Smalls put it, it’s observation…”observing people, how they act, and the tone of the area.”

Going to Liberty Place, Rittenhouse Square, 30th Street Station and the malls at the Gallery in Philadelphia, she asked them to put aside their preconceived ideas, not to be uncomfortable in an unfamiliar place, be a researcher and observe.

Then they had to make connections between what they observed with what they were reading, their personal experiences and observe what was happening in their own homes.

Smalls noticed for the first time that his mother was busy all the time and said, ”She inspired me because she doesn’t let anything distract her.” I also hope he noticed how teacher Carly Ackerman has inspired him.

Read more in The Public School Notebook blog.

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