Saturday, February 11, 2006

On quantum physics and energy and stuff like that...

Please note that Squaregirl is NOT a quantum physicist, nor is she claiming to be an expert on quantum physics...please read with that in mind...

The exact position and velocity of an electron is very hard to find because attempts to "see" it involve bouncing other particles off of it. By doing this, you've just changed the electron's velocity, so your data is useless…

One of my more recent topics of interest has been quantum physics (albeit the abridged layman’s version of it). One of the things that interests me about quantum physics is that particles, atoms, etc. CHANGE simply by being observed…This is fascinating to me…especially in my own practice of developing theories, I have developed quite a few through my own observations of the children I have taught and worked with…My most useful “research” was done when I taught a class of eight boys on diagnosed on the spectrum, as I had the opportunity to observe eight children at one time, instead of one at a time, like most people usually get to do…

More often than not, I noticed that while all my students were individuals, there was something collective about their behavior. I noticed that there were days when everyone was happy, content and themselves, and there were days, that it seemed like ALL of my students were just having an off day (when I say having an ‘”off day” I am not trying to imply anything negative, but simply saying that they seemed to not be the way they were typically). The theories I came up with as to why this was were the following:

1. Something in the environment was causing everyone to be “off”, i.e. a full moon, the weather, the smell of new paint, etc.
2. I was the one who was “off” and they were responding to my energy…they were intuitive like that
3. My perception of them is that they were “off” when in fact they were not off at all

I have chosen to assume that all three of these theories plays a role in how I perceived my guys’ behavior, yet there was something that really intrigued me when I was teaching.

My classroom was a SELPA classroom and considered to be a “model classroom” (oh dear…do model classrooms have only one computer that is broken computer and very limited school supplies?). As a result, our class was observed A LOT (by parents, therapists, consultants, SELPA directors, principals, etcetera, etcetera) and when I say A LOT, I mean sometimes like three to four times a day. While I have no problem with the concept of observation in general, there were many times I recall shouting (in my head of course), “get out of our classroom already!” Here’s the thing…whenever people came into my classroom, my students CHANGED, sometimes subtly, sometimes for the better, but their behavior was almost always different. The amusing thing to me, was that my students rarely acknowledged the existence of the adults entering the room, and to a careless observer, it might appear as if they didn’t even know, but let me and the classroom aides tell you…THEY NOTICED. Another thing interesting to me, is the way they changed…see, sometimes the change was big and sometimes it was small, on the rare occasion they became better behaved, but mostly their behavior was a little more er, exaggerated (I really can’t put my finger on the right word for this, I would say “worse”, but I don’t think that “behavior” is good or bad, but just so people get the idea). Needless to say, I had some regular observers and non-regular observers, and I really began to notice a pattern. There was one particular consultant that came in and EVERY TIME she did, my student’s stims would increase, and they would become more anxious, (one of my students would run and hide his beloved legos, another try to retreat to the corner, another would approach me and try to pull some piece of jewelery or clothing, another would begin rocking). Then there was the district’s special ed. director, who used to be a Special Ed. teacher for years and she would just look at my students and they would behave like the angels I knew they could be…

My point being quite obviously that it really began to seem to me that the energy of the observer, changed what, or who in this case. Again, I am quite open to the idea that it is I who changed affecting my students or their perceptions, but I am not convinced that this is the entire explanation. I am quite certain that environment plays a role on the behaviors of the children I work with, but to me, environment includes not only chemicals and toxins, but things such as schedule changes, furniture placement, sounds, and most importantly the people that are in the environment. I think people tend to forget how much of an impact that the energy of people affects how children on the spectrum and everyone and come to think of it, EVERY LIVE THING, for that matter react, and we need to pay more attention to our own selves more often than we tend to do in order to help those around us flourish.

6 Comments:

Blogger Xia Diaz said...

I think you're on to something. If an atom or particle changes simply by being observed, why wouldn't we?

11:54 AM  
Blogger Eileen said...

You are so right Squaregirl. So many times I will say, "Andrew is off", but when I really stop and think about it, it is me who is off. Weird how he always seems to be "off" when it is that time of the month for me. He is so sensitive and picks up on other people's vibes. It is amazing to see how he responds positively to some people and not so to others.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Octoberbabies said...

I so agree with this. My kids and I always either feel good together, or we feel bad together. It cannot be coincidence.

7:56 PM  
Blogger SquareGirl said...

XD, exactly! it is something for us all to think about!

Eileen, I thought you would be able to relate! Truly amazing, isn't it?

Octoberbabies, agreed...the more we look at "coincedences", the more we realize that perhaps there is no such thing!

10:17 PM  
Blogger Kristina Chew said...

Fascinating post-----I read somewhere recently (can't remember where) that suggested that, due to a kid like Charlie having a language disability, he is much more attuned to non-verbal communication.

Another thing to keep in mind is how the mix of kids in a room can set each other off---seems obvious, but I don't think people always take it into account. Charlie has been very affected when certain kids have left or entered his classroom, or when they have had behaviors.

3:00 PM  
Blogger SquareGirl said...

Kristina, you are so right! How can I have forgotten to address the effects of my classmates on one another? That is a HUGE factor...witnessed first hand. It is indeed obvious, but often overlooked when placing students.

8:23 PM  

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