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Fieldwork reflection

Working in Irvine Music and Art Center, I have encountered many situations that allowed
me further investigate this program. This program emphasis the importance of homework that
assigned from school. Therefore, most of my time is simply assist students to complete their
homework. Although this program has its own weakness and strengths, this reflection will only
be focusing on the weakness that I spotted on my field work site.
Before stating and explaining the weakness of this program, I have to first address the
importance of a goal. As we learned in the CRESST, setting clear goals and desired outcomes is a
cornerstone of afterschool program success (Huang et al., 5). A clear stated goal is essential for a
quality afterschool program because students know what is expected from them, and thus avoid
confusions and waste of time configuring what is the mission of the day. In my fieldwork cite,
staffs and students come in with zero information on what to do for today; so most of the times,
the first 30 minutes of the program is wasted by waiting for the program coordinator to come in.
This lowered the participation level of the students because they have no clue of todays tasks.
Further, students might feel alienated to the program because of the confusion.
On this note, the weakness of this program is centered on the goal. One of the
consequences that associated with this is expectation. According to Eccles, the Expectancy-Value
theory is the impact of task specific expectations for success and related constructs on a variety
of behavioral choices. If we expand this, this theory can be also applied to the students from my
fieldwork cite. Based on the theory, we make choices that we think is going to be successful and
valuable in the future. However, if we do not have a clear agenda for students, how can we
convince students believe that what they are doing right now is going to be useful in their future?

Thus, it is crucial for program staffs and coordinators to realize that a clear stated goal is the
foundation of an afterschool program.
Further, if we look at this weakness in terms of engagement level from organized
activities, we can see how it can seriously impact the whole program. According to Vandell,
parental factors are also a determining the participations of a program. If this program do not
have a clear stated goal for their students, most parents would assume that their kids are wasting
their time in this program, and gained nothing. For instance, on my fieldwork cite, the
coordinator emphasis a lot on the parental satisfaction. We have to do our best to help students,
so that their parents would feel this program is somewhat helpful. What the coordinator did not
realize is that without a clear goal, it is extreme difficult for staffs and students to work together
and hope that will turn into a successful product. I was tutoring an English Language Learner to
help him with his English homework. We finished the homework way before the end of the class,
and we left with nothing else to do. This is typical situation in my fieldwork cite because staffs
are only told to stay with a student and help them with their homework. Therefore, when parents
come in to pick up their kids, they would find their kids watching TV in the back or just doing
nothing. This actually caused loss of students. In the two month that I worked there, three
students decided to quit this program for this reason.
Additionally, if we evaluate this program with the degree of bridging alignment, I would
say this is a self-contained program. Even though I spent most of my time tutoring students, I
found out that the coordinators attitude toward regular schools is very negative. Because of the
fact that the coordinator herself will also come into a classroom and teach, I heard several times
that she criticizes the regular school homework being too easy. Therefore, the packet that she
provided for the afterschool program students are extremely difficult, and sometimes exceed

their knowledge limitation. For example, when I grade students packets, I noticed that a lot of
students leave their packet blank or just put down random answers. Therefore, I asked them for
the reason they leave it blank or put down answers that they knew are not right. They told me
because it was too hard, and it is difficult for them to seat for another 2 hours after school to do a
much harder work. Some students even told me that they were annoyed by the packet given to
them because it is too hard, and they could not understand it.
Lastly, if we assess this program using the LIAS tool, I think this program would mostly
receive early developing scores. Although there are some strength to this program, but this is a
relatively new program that just started for a year. They are still working to have a goal for their
program, and they are trying to implement meaningful and interesting activities for students. In
conclusion, this program is still developing, but I believe with time, they will become better
because the staffs and administrators are all passionate about teaching. Although there are some
weakness to this program, I think they would overcome it.

Reference List
Eccles, J. (2009). Who am I and what am I going to do with my life? Personal and collective
identities as motivators of action. Educational Psychologist, 44(2), 78-89. Retrieved
from: (Links to an external
Huang, D. & Dietel, R. (2011). Making afterschool programs better. National Center for
Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST), UCLA. Retrieved
from: (Links to an
external site.)
LIAS Observation Rubric. Learning in Afterschool and Summer.
Noam, G. G. (2003), Learning with excitement: Bridging school and after-school worlds and
project-based learning. New Directions for Youth Development, 2003: 121138.
Retrieved from:
Vandell, D. L., Larson, R., Mahoney, J., & Watts, T. (2015). Organized activities. In R. Lerner
(Series Ed.)