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Observation Essay

526 words - 3 pages


The student is considered a novice as an observer of children. The student observes children to gain practice and understanding in child development. Students have an obligation to protect children and respect school personnel. Observers are usually visitors in the classroom. The observer must keep in mind that they are a disruption to the regular processes in the classroom and they should respect the classroom teacher’s direction.

The protection of the child’s rights in any type of child study is important. Regardless of the procedure used to collect information, the child’s protection is paramount. The child must not come to any harm (physical or mental) through participation in the observation process. Confidentiality must be utilized at all times. Talking about children ...view middle of the document...

Qualities of a Good Observer:

· Recognize personal bias and preconceived assumptions about children.
· Stay focus for a long period of time on whatever is being observed.
· Pay attention to details.


The most popular method for recording child observations falls under the heading of “narrative record.” That is a written description of the children’s actions. This is written in paragraph form. You describe what happened in factual terms; where and when and with who is also important to document. “Why” is the last thing you would worry about when documenting. That part comes when you summarize your observation.

Sample Outline

I. Introduction – State in paragraph form who you are observing, why you are observing and how long the observation occurred. Also in the introduction you need to describe the physical setting.

II. Body - Describe the child or children (sometimes teacher or parent) in general terms. Describe the relevant behaviors you observed and include quotations for any comments that the child or teacher made that may be important for your summary. Try to use as much detail as possible; include verbal utterances, facial expressions, head and eye movements and how the child uses objects such as toys or play materials.

III. Summary – The summary is very important to the assignment. This is where the instructor can judge your understanding of child development. It is important that the body of the paper is detailed enough to support your conclusion. You should try to use language that is specific to child development and to the assignment. For example, if you are studying play, you would want to be sure to use play terminology (i.e. solitary play, cooperative play, parallel play, etc.). In the summary you will want to discuss your own opinions about the behavior and/or learning that occurred during your observation.

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