The observation is very important for the assessment of the level of the development of a child. The observed child was a ten year-old boy.
The observation started on October 12, 2009 at 5 p.m. At first the child was observed in his family environment. At first, I arranged the meeting and observation with the parents of the child. Before I met the child for the first time, I took a conversation with his parents to explain them purposes of the observation and to reveal the background of the child, his traits of character, inclinations and peculiarities.
5-6p.m When I came to the child to get acquainted with him, it was about 5 p.m. The child had a leisure time and he was playing a video game, when his parents asked him to come to see me. At the beginning, the boy was quite unwilling to distract from his play and when he saw me he was a bit embarrassed. Nevertheless, after our acquaintance, as I communicated friendly with parents of the boy and the boy as well, he grew more confident in me and he became more friendly and open for communication. I spent an hour talking with the boy and his parents. I attempted to learn more about the child, his habits and behavior. I have noticed that the boy is communicative and readily gets involved in conversation, although he was a bit embarrassed at the beginning of the conversation, when he did not know me at all.
However, this was probably the normal reaction of a 10 year-old child on a stranger.
6 p.m. – 6.30 p.m., the child along with his parents had a dinner. The child behaved well, although he demonstrated certain unwillingness to eat the dishes offered to him. Nevertheless, parents had managed to talk him in and in the course of the meal they briefly discussed his school day. The boy responded vividly and with eager interest, being definitely willing to talk about his learning and his friends at school.
From 6.30 to about 8 p.m. the boy watched TV along with his parents.
From 8 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. the boy had a conversation with his mother, he shared his plans for tomorrow, but the mother had to pose suggestive questions to help his son to keep talking his plans for the next day. After that he prepared to go to sleep. At first he was unwilling to go to bed but he was apparently tired and about 9.15 he went to bed.
The next day, I started the observation of the boy at 7.00 am.
7 a.m. ”“ 8 a.m. The boy woke up and started to prepare to going to school. The boy was quite enthusiastic and I noticed that he was happy to go to school. He talked a lot about his friends he was about to see at school. At the same time, I noticed that the boy was a bit boasting about his academic successes, especially in math and English. Nevertheless, he was not too boasting but he probably needed the approval from the part of his parents and he got it.
8 a.m. .- 1 p.m. At school, the boy demonstrated his eager interest to math and English. In general, during the lessons he was quite attentive and focused on the subject but, from time to time, he slipped to talking with his friend, a boy who sat next to him and who turned out to be one of his best friends in the class. Nevertheless, his friend did not distract him from lessons. He was particularly interested in the spelling game, which he believed to help him at his spelling test. During the breaks, the boy communicated with his peers. I did not notice any significant, serious conflicts between the observed boy and other children.
1 p.m. ”“ 2.30 p.m. After the school, the child had been playing in the yard with his neighbor, another boy of 11 or 12. The boy was active and interested in the play.
2.30 p.m. ”“ 3 p.m. After that, he had a dinner.
3 p.m. ”“ 4 p.m. After the dinner, the boy read the book by Mark Twain adapted to children of his age. The boy liked reading and he caught the ideas and the general plot of the story he read but, from time to time, he needed the assistance of his mother or another adult to explain some episode or word.
At 4 p.m. the boy started to play a video game and ended up about 5 p.m. when I left him until next day.
7 a.m. ”“ 1 p.m. The next day, I kept observing the boy during his school day. Basically, his behavior was similar to the behavior he demonstrated on the previous day. I had a conversation with his teacher, who told me that the boy was quite successful in learning and his favorite subject was math. Finally, when I completed the observation, we parted.
In the course of the observation of the boy, I kept thinking about the classification of stages of cognitive development, by Piaget and extrapolated the findings of Piaget and Vygotsky on the child observed. In actuality, I have noticed that the boy basically meets his cognitive stage of development. His language is well-developed for his age. He can speak fluently although sometimes he faces certain problems when he attempts to use a complex word. In addition, his speech is not egocentric. At the same time, his speech is logically constructed, although the boy apparently prefers simple phrases and sentences and avoids complex sentence structures. He can think logically but his logic and thinking are concrete. He cannot always think about abstract concepts. In fact, such concepts as love, friendship and others are quite difficult for the boy. For instance, he perceives friendship just as his relations with his best friend or the boy living next-door. In other words, he treats friendship as a common activity he has regularly with the peers he likes to communicate with. His interest to math revealed his inclination to analytical thinking although the analytical thinking as well as logic were not well-developed because the boy often needed practical aids to use his analytical thinking and think logically.
Thus, taking into consideration all of the characteristics of the boy and his behavior, I concluded that the boy meet his current cognitive stage of development, which Piaget defines as the Concrete operational stage, which is normally attributed to children at the age of 7-12. The experience of observation of the child proved to be very important to me because it helped me to understand better the practical implementation of theoretical findings made by such researchers as Piaget and Vygotsky. In addition, the observation seems to me essential for the understanding of children psychology. At the same time, my professor’s suggestions helped me consistently in my field observation because they helped me to organize and plan thoroughly my work. Therefore, I have never come unprepared to observe the child. As a result, I have managed to meet my goals and defined the level of the cognitive development of the child and some of his psychological peculiarities.