A discussion about observation – how, what and why

In an online (freely available) journal called Early Childhood Research and Practice (edited by Lilian Katz, Jean Mendoza, and Susan Fowler), there is an article on ‘the importance of observation in early education’ (http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v7n2/forman.html). Authors, George Forman & Ellen Hall, present a really lovely discussion about observation. They look at the logic behind ‘observation’ as a teaching tool (and work through the what, why and how of observation), but go a little deeper than most, considering the finer points of ‘what’ and ‘why’. Some of their (many) excellent points include:

“Look for Laughter—Which Often Means That an Expectation or Theory Has Been Violated” (np)

“Look for the Aborted or Abbreviated Action—Which Often Means That the Child Has Changed Her Thinking or Is Thinking about What Strategy to Choose Next” (np)

“Look for the Co-construction of Knowledge—Where Children Are Supporting or Extending Each Other’s Work” (np)

“Look for Examples of Representation—Where Children Are Inventing New Ways to Capture or Express Meaning” (np)

“Look for Examples of Meta-cognition—Where Children Are Thinking about Thinking” (np)

They recommend the use of digital video embedded in digital commentary and point us to ‘videatives’ (http://www.videatives.com/videatives/demo)

Ref: George Forman & Ellen Hall (2005) Wondering with children: the importance of observation in early education. ECRP 7(2)Fall (http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v7n2/forman.html)


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
This entry was posted in early years education, Standardised Testing, Teaching excellence, The effect of multimedia on children/childhood and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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