March 9, 2010
The purposes of observations have become the most dominant method for learning children’s development as they are young. It requires a much more focus on the child’s behaviors, observation allows the teacher to get to know the child as a unique individual, rather than as a member of a group. Young children need to have models from a teacher in order to understand appropriate behaviors when being observed. Learning the importance of observations important, as is developing the skills of how to observe. Observation can be used for three major purposes: (1) to understand children’s behavior, (2) to evaluate children’s development, and (3) to evaluate learning progress.
Understanding Children’s behavior, young children have not mastered language and the ability to read and write, they are unable to express themselves as clearly as older children and adults. They cannot demonstrate how much they know or understand through formal or informal assessments involving tasks and standardized tests. Children cannot explain themselves adequately through language, evidence as to why they behave as they do is obtained through on-the-spot recording of their actions. Skilled observation is important to correctly determine what is behind a child’s classroom behavior. Misinterpretation leads to difficulties for both teacher and child stemming from the teacher thinking that one cause has led to the child’s behavior, while the truth may be quite different (MacDonald, 2006). Children communicate through their bodies. Their physical actions reveal as much about them as the things they say. A major accomplishment during the early years is the development of social skills. Children learn to interact with each other, and then become part of a social group. Observation of children at play or interacting in classroom centers reveals how social development and behavior are progressing.
Evaluating children’s development is the second major purpose of observing children...