Aims • To learn how to observe children in one of their natural habitats • To understand how children experience their worlds and function in complex environments • To provide grounding for interpreting theory: psychologists’ descriptions • To understand individual children and the functioning of a group.
Focus • Getting Started • Observational Settings and the Observer • What to Observe • Observational Records • Observation and Interpretation
Starting out • Emphasize the importance of being “objective” • Concentrate on meaningful description • Try to think about how the world looks through the child’s eyes – how does she see and understand the physical space of the room, other children, the grown ups?
Observational settings andthe observer • Observing in the thick of it • Observing from the sidelines • Realize the purpose of the observation • Be sure to make the children comfortable with your presence in their classroom
What to observe • Depends on your purposes • Observe specific incidents or events • Describe each as fully as possible • Note what the child is doing and how she is doing it • Concentrate on the moment: make notes
Observational records • Field notes • Running records • Maps, drawings and photographs • Equipment
Observation and interpretation • Personal cognitive and emotional background is brought to the process of observing • Searching for patterns • Inferences may be made • A theoretical framework may be seen
Sample records: What was the observation purpose? Was there meaningful description? Was observation made through the child’s eyes? Was observation in the “thick of it” or “sideline”? Was child affected by observation? What type of record was it? Was interpretation provided? • Example 1 • Example 2 • Example 3 • Example 4 • Example 5
What is the child doing?How is the child doing it? 1. 2. 4. 3. 8. 7. 5. 6. 9. 10. 11. 12.
Observe??? 13. 14. 16. 15. 17.
Observe??? 18. 19. 20.
Why Observe? REVIEW • Watching children with a clear goal • Studying a specific behavior • Studying a specific ability
How to Observe? • Best from a distance without child knowing they are being observed • Avoid making assumptions • Avoid labels • Avoid conclusions; you are not qualified • Don’t compare children; development occurs at different rates
Be Objective! • State the facts • Remain objective at all times • Record a list of behavior patterns • Do NOT be subjective • Do NOT state opinions
Remember: • All observations are confidential • Problems should be reported to teacher • Observations are a form of assessment • Write notes in phrases • Tell what happened • Look for details