Observing and Assessing Project

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20 Hour Observational Practical Project

During a 20-hour observation project, I had the opportunity to focus on one student and use different observation techniques to monitor the student’s development in a particular domain. I focused on emotional and social development of a young child. This development is important for preschoolers because they are getting ready to go to kindergarten and they should know how to properly act with other individuals. Students at this age also need to know how to express themselves. I chose one student at the Lock Haven YMCA Childcare, to observe for 20 hours while focusing on social and emotional development.

A.F is five years, whose birthday is November 13, 2012, is one of the oldest students in her class. There are a few reasons why I decided to focus on emotional and social development with this student. To begin with, this student is advanced in terms of academics. She does well with math and reading so I wanted to observe something that wasn’t so easy for her. Also, when talking with the teacher she informed me that A.F can be challenging when it comes to working with others. While doing my setting observation I noticed that this student had a hard time with socially interacting and controlling her emotions. My goal while observing was to try and figure out some reasons that caused her to act out.

During the 20 hours I focused on two assessment methods, a checklist and an anecdotal record. These two methods allowed me focus on the behavior occurring during the moment. Also, these methods worked best with the two standards I chose. The first standard I used was, distinguish between emotions and identify socially accepted ways to express them. A checklist worked best for this standard because it was clear way of seeing if she could identify emotions. For this standard I mainly focused on identifying emotions. The second standard I chose was interacting with peers and adults in a socially acceptable manner. I used an anecdotal record for this because I would easily be able to see how she interacts with others. The following paragraphs discuss how the observation methods went.

I chose the checklist to measure which emotions A.F could recognize. I held up different posters with facial expressions on it. For example, the upset emotion had a picture of a little girl crying. She did not have trouble identifying any emotion that I displayed in front of her. This was not shocking to me because A.F is a very smart girl and seems to be advanced for her age. After I showed her the posters I waited about 20 minutes to then ask her if she could show me which emotion looked like, by doing it herself. Again, the student was able to make each facial expression easily. The emotions that I used were happy, sad, excited, sad, scared, angry, and tired. A.F enjoyed during this because she thought that making the faces was silly. After observing A.F being able to identify emotions, I thought it would be important to see how she interacts with adults, and if it is in an acceptable way.

An anecdotal record was the most appropriate measurement to observe A.F interacting with peers and students. I completed this during free play and during a read-aloud. I wanted to play close attention to how the student interacts with her friends. Also, I wanted to notice how her teacher handles her behavior. A.F made it very clear that there is one teacher who works best with her. Every time A.F is in trouble she asks for this teacher. While completing my anecdotal record, I noticed that this teacher calms her down the quickest. The teacher will talk her through the behavior and consequence. I think that this is very important to the student and it is an accurate way of handling the behavior. During my anecdotal record I observed A.F get into a serious fight with another student. She yelled and even threatened to hit the other student. When the student was punished her behavior only increased. It was clear to see that A.F wanted everything to be her way. She was very dramatic and was very territorial. Overall, A.F does not work in acceptable way when dealing with peers and other students.

During this observation project I have seen a few behaviors patterns that A.F shows. The first day I observed I noticed that she can easily be triggered and gets upset fast. This behavior happens constantly, A.F can be playing with another student and wants everything to be her way. She displays controlling behaviors of toys and other children. When I completed my anecdotal record, I watched A.F get into a fight, and watched her yell at students. I even saw her talking back to her teachers and mother. Another behavior I observed was how sweet she was when she was by herself. This was strange because she didn’t display any of the aggressive behaviors when it was just her and I at nap. AF and I completed a puzzle together and she wanted me to finish the puzzle, so she would show me where the pieces go. I strongly think that a lot of behavior is from being an only child. Those two behavior patterns are what I saw frequently while at the preschool.

A.F has many different strengths and weaknesses related to social and emotional behavior. Her weaknesses include not getting along well with others, being stubborn, and being bossy. A.F is used to getting her way at home so being at school can be a challenge. The teachers and parents are doing their best to get her ready for kindergarten and to understand that she can’t act like that. Besides her behavior, A.F does display lots of positive strengths. A.F is such a talkative young child and that is amazing. Young children should want to talk and be excited to talk to their teachers and peers. Also, the student is willing to help her teachers and friends. During snack time, I observed A.F offering to lay out napkins and get everything ready for snack. The student displayed lots of strengths and weaknesses that are related to the social and emotional development of a young child.

Using the two observation methods helped a lot with understanding the emotional and social development of a young child. During the 20 hours I spent in the classroom I learned a lot of information. It was a wonderful experience, and I’m happy with the information I gained. This information will help me in the future when I have my own classroom because I will understand how to properly assess any behavior a child may display.

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