Friday, May 3, 2013

Some Postings on Observations

A question on facebook was asked on another page about observations with children aged 0-2 ... The question was around whether we were required to do group observations for these children. I of course weighed in. As I do.

My responses were as follows:

"We are all so obsessed over observations. Its not your fault, its just the current climate! ... There is no requirement that you have to do group obs. You just need to show the child in a social context that is appropriate to them. Sitting side by side in parallel play with a peer is appropriate. If you are able to show that you know the child as an individual and that you know where they are in terms of their development and growth in relation to the outcomes and being belonging and becoming, then you're doing a good job. They dont have to be learning stories. You can do jottings, photos, notes, photo stories, just observations any which way you want with a story - but it doesnt have to be done as a "learning story" ... If you can look at their observations and see a true picture of them as a person, albeit a little person, then you're doing the right thing!"

Other comments were made which I wont post here, which inspired this further response:

"A traditional learning story follows a specific format and comes from NZ where they follow Te WhaIcantspellitandnotlookingitupi ... Over here in Oz people are just slapping the title "learning story" on observations ... there is simply a shift in the semantics and the focus - they are simply still observations with a new fancy name. I have always done observations as a story and I have always looked at all the development visible within the story. I just didnt do it as holistically as I do now.

As for what we have to do and what we should do, there is just so much gossip flying about. People are panicking and simply trying to do everything and almost anything they are told which results in panic and fear and being overwhelmed. Yes, I was queen of group obs .. but a group ob can be two children or three or five or 10. BUT the more children you have, the more the individual focus gets diluted and lost. And the point is seeing what the child thinks, knows, can do etc. How you get an accurate picture of this when there are up to 23 other individuals included is beyond me.

I picked up portoflios from a service I was doing relief teaching at ... and they were all group obs of 24 children. There were no individuals and mostly groups of 5-10 and of course the 24 ... I couldnt tell the twins apart. I couldnt even tell the twins apart from the other children in the group.

I suggest everyone really read the NQS QA1 and look at what it says. I also suggest that you look at the Myths and Realities available on the PLP website. The full version not the newsletter one. Its alot more in depth.

If you want to reflect on routines or principles or practices, then I suggest people do that in their reflective books - either personal professional journals or daily reflections or whatever you call it ... If I were a parent, I'd want to read about my child not routines or the educators professional development.

Stepping down from my soap box now!"

I need to gather my thoughts and put together a proper article! with collected thoughts. But you get the idea.

Well. I'm going to toddle off now.

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