The child I observed was a seven-year-old girl in Year 2 who sat on the second highest ability table in a mixed class. While not in school, she lived a substantial distance away meaning she travelled to and from school by car and was often the first child to arrive in the morning and the last to leave in the afternoon. I will focus on the social and emotional development of this child who, from now onwards, will be referred to as C.
I carried out two types of observation: these being narrative observation and time sampling. I chose to do both because the strengths of each help to support the weaknesses of the other. The main weaknesses of time sampling are that it causes the observer to miss potentially important behaviours that occur between the times the child is being observed and that the context of the behaviour is not recorded meaning that no cause and effect can be seen. It is because of these weaknesses that I chose to perform a narrative observation as well; this type of observation has ample detail and focuses on the whole of a scenario: that being the cause of a behaviour, the behaviour itself and the result of the behaviour. These strengths make up for the weaknesses of time sampling however, narrative observation also has weaknesses. Narrative observation is very time consuming and, especially when done for short periods, can be limited in the breadth of information gained.
Whilst having done both of these observation helps to limit the impact of their weaknesses, there are still flaws in them. Together they gather information that while moderately useful, is limited in what can be gained from it as they lack the combined breadth depth that could have been gained from carrying out more observations. I feel that it would have been beneficial to carry out another narrative observation on a different day. This could perhaps have been done at the same time or during the same lesson as this would allow comparisons to be made and could help eliminate anomalies that may have occurred as a result of, for example, C being tired on the day she was observed. I also feel that, given the opportunity, it would have been of use to carry out an event sampling observation with a focus on any aggressiveness towards others. Throughout the time sampling observation, this was a recurrent behaviour and would, if nothing else, have been interesting to see how often it truly occurred and if there was a regular cause for it. The time sampling I carried out is contained in appendix 1 and the narrative observation in appendix 2.
Harding and Meldon-Smith (1999) and Sharman, Cross and Vennis (2007) provide milestones for children’s emotional development. When comparing these milestones to C’s development, it can be seen that C has only managed to reach about half of the milestones for her age in emotional development and all but a few of those for cognitive development. With regards to emotional development, C displayed a tendency to sulk rather than have an...