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 . .t over a longer period, such as a term or a year, it is quite possible that, while she currently appears to be slightly behind her milestones, she could reach and even exceed these. More thorough observations could also have provided more insight into the causes for C’s development which would have been especially helpful when suggesting strategies to enhance her learning. As it is, I believe C has suffered from forming an insecure attachment as an infant and this has affected her emotional development and that she may suffer from at some dyscalculic tendencies, which has an impact on her perceived cognitive development. Even if she is in no way dyscalculic, the methods I have suggested to help would, with no doubt, help to improve her maths ability and, if used throughout her whole education could help give a vast improvement in her overall cognitive development.