1.) To provide the student with the opportunity to interact with, and to observe, someone of a different age.
2.) To provide an opportunity for the student to apply the material they are learning in a real-world situation.
3.) To evaluate the student’s ability to see the developmental characteristics described in the course.
4.) To allow students to see and apply the difference between observing and inferring.
Students are expected to write two (2) short observation reports, one on an infant or young child below the age of eight, and one on an older child, an adolescent, a young adult or an older adult. Each paper should be at least four to seven pages in length (1200 to 2100 words), and should explain with clear detail aspects of behavior which are important in understanding human development. The paper on an older person (due later in the course) may be based on an interview or interactions over time.
Each observation must include the following information:
a short description of the person or persons to be observed, their age, their relation to the observer, the setting of the observation, and the tasks, activities or situations involved. Tell me where this is taking place, and who is there, and how old they are, for example, the age of the child, his or her connection to you, and anyone else who is present.
2. the actual behavior observed, in concrete and detailed form. Students need to know the difference between observing behavior and making inferences about the behavior. “She is an intelligent child” is an inference. You cannot see intelligence or brightness. “She was able to do [particular task] that is usually not accomplished until [some older age]” is an observation of behavior that may lead to the inference that she is intelligent. You cannot see goodness, or kindness, or any general quality. You can, with carefulness, infer such things with behavior over time.
In grading this assignment, I will check to see if you are providing observed data. If you want to make inferences or general statements, make them at the end of the paper, so I can see you know the difference between observing and inferring.
3. an explanatory discussion, which ties what is observed into the course. This latter section is most important in terms of how the observation is to be evaluated. The observation should be integrated with the course reading, and with other material relevant to developmental psychology. I will read what you have reported that you saw. I will ask myself, did the student see that that is an example of receptive language, or object permanence, or attachment?
Specific directions for the observation of an adolescent or adult.
If you are doing your paper on an adolescent or an adult, you may wish to use an interview. You should prepare questions which will provide information about the person, and about material in the course. For example, you could ask questions that fit the stages of Erik Erikson. Or you could ask questions about how the person feels about their life, or what they think are their values. You could ask questions about the different aspects of their lives. You could ask about their childhood or their past, and ask how those experiences fit how they are today.
However, if you have a lot of contact with the adolescent or adult, you may simply observe them. The important thing is to be specific about what you observed. Exactly what did they do. If you report what they said, put it in context. What had happened immediately before? Do not make judgments; do not make inferences. Your job is not to analyze them but to see connections with ideas from the course.
Observations may be of a single individual or of the interaction of two or three individuals. (They should not be observations of a whole class.)
Observations may be planned or not planned. If you decide to go to watch a particular child playing outside during lunch time, and perhaps after school, or in school, but you do not plan any activities, that is an open-ended, unstructured or unplanned observation. If you decide you will ask one little boy to draw or scribble, and to make something with blocks, or to find something that is covered, that is structured, or planned.
Ordinarily the observations are done on children within a normal range of development, and usually on one child. However, students may wish to compare two or more individuals in one report including people of different ages or different developmental levels. An example would be a 2 year-old and his 4 year-old brother.
You may observe as often as you like. You can take a little time from a visit to a family on one occasion, and a little on another occasion. Just include what seems interesting and fits this course. The hardest part of this assignment is deciding what to observe and what to write about. You can observe someone who does not know he or she is being observed, e.g., a small child on a bus while you are traveling. Just try to estimate how old the child is, or ask. You can observe someone who knows they are helping you to do your homework.
Evaluations of observations. Observations will be evaluated in terms of correctness of grammar and style, clarity and objectivity of the observation, and depth and relevance of the student’s discussion. Observations should be written in correct English grammar, typed with double-space lines and proofread.
Papers should be in your own words. If you use someone else’s words, you must indicate where you got the words or information from.
Observation Paper Rubric
1. Description of setting, person(s), activities, tasks/situations, etc. 20points
2. Detailed description of behaviors or conversation 30 points
2. Integration of course material into paper. 30 points
5. Correct spelling, grammar, punctuation and APA format 20 points 100 points
The first observation report should be posted during the middle of the semester, and should usually be on a person under 8 years of age. The second observation report, due towards the end of the semester, should be on an older child, an adolescent, or an adult.
Examples of observation reports on at the top of the Brightspage page under Resources.
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1.) To provide the student with the opportunity to interact with, an appeared first on Skilled Papers.
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