Today we visited the La Sienega public school and observed multiple classrooms. I myself observed a 4th grade and a Kindergarten session; they differed immensely.
The 4th graders were working on three digit multiplication problems. No manipulatives or learning supports were used, just a piece of chalk. The classroom was very simple. The days of the week and student names were hanging up on the wall. Their morning warm-up involved student volunteers coming up to the board to solve a multiplication problem. Often times many students began to daze off if a student was having difficulties with their basic facts. Aside from that, I really appreciated the way the teacher did not rush the student or make them feel pressured in figuring it out. He let each student break the problem down their own way using the chalk board. I liked that technique because it forces the students to know their math facts, rather than giving them ten hand-outs on solving problems they'll never refer back to. Each student appeared to have a high amount of respect for their teacher and peer up at the board. No background chatting was occurring and the teacher never had to ask them to be quiet while a student was working. Respect for others is something that is practiced religiously in the DR.
In the Kindergarden classroom things went a little differently. There was singing, circle time, workbooks for tracing and writing, and many things hanging on the wall. It functioned much like a Kindergarden class would in the U.S. The students were very polite and enjoyed our assistance in the classroom. I was able to really practice my Spanish skills when assisting some students on their workbook page ! What I really liked about this classroom was that they had a teacher aide. The classroom was a general education classroom with a high amount of students like many classrooms in Buffalo have. Her assistance made the teacher's job much less stressful and I wish all classrooms had the luxury of having an aide.