Observation of a Child Essay

The child, which has been chosen to be observed, is a 14-yearold. His name is Kareem Jones.

Kareem currently lives with his foster parents. This boy is a quiet one in the class. Kareem expresses his emotions in the poems. Mostly they are about growing up and times, before he was placed to the foster care.

Kareem is very quiet, as it was stated by his teacher – Mr. Smith. Sometimes in life and job appears a need to deal with different people and it is always useful to know and understand the reasons of different behaviors, demonstrated by people. It could give and idea on how to deal with these behaviors.

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Between the second and third observations, Kareem’s teacher Mr. Smith was interviewed for clarification of the situation.
Observer: Mr. Smith could you please describe briefly, what kind of behaviour demonstrates Kareem?

Mr. Smith: Usually he is not active in classroom participation, but when he is asked, he gives worthy answers. His relationship with other kids in class is not too close, but sometimes he communicates with them…

Observer: I noticed he had a personal note-book, where he makes some notes and writing. Do you know what is he writing?

Mr. Smith: yes, I noticed it a while ago. I talked with him about it. He even gave me some of his poetry. It is about his childhood, he expresses his emotions. Mostly, they are not aggressive. There was one poem about the class. It was emotionally positive. It is hanging on the wall in class now.
Observer: do you think there is a problem with Kareem not participating in the class?

Mr. Smith: I try not to put pressure on him, but still to involve in class activities. I am concerned about Kareem’s involvement in the Class.

Running record
Observer: ………
Child Observed: Kareem Jones
Age: 14 years old
Date: 2/10/2009
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
School: Junior High school “I.S.285 Meyer Levin Junior High School”
Special Ed Grade: 8th grade
Setting: at school

The observation was conducted at the classroom during the class. Kareem is keeping silent most of the time. He is not willing to distract himself on something else, while teacher is speaking. He is not participating much in the class work. Usually he keeps listening to the teacher and to the respondents at the class. However, twice there was a situation, when teacher called on him with a question. Kareem properly responded to the teacher. His voice was not very loud and confident, but the answer was correct and he was looking at the teacher most of the time while responding. Generally, Kareem did not have a lot of gestures and movements. His poses were mostly still, no unnecessary movements.

Commentary: As we can see Kareem is 14 years old and it means that he is in his transition period. It is the period called adolescent it links childhood and adultness of the person. During this period there are a lot of biological changes. They often cause emotional issues. One searches own identity during this time. Often a feeling that none understands appears (Hjelle & Ziegler, 1992). Person develops own abstract thinking abilities, become more aware of own identity, obtain a clearer vision of own sexuality, self-analysis increases and develops self-reflection. These characteristics of the adolescent period of the person’s development could be the reason for behaviour demonstrated by Kareem, which is described above. As we could notice he is not willing to be demonstrative, not willing to make him-self a centre of attention in the class and among his peers. And at the same time, the fact that he “catches” teacher’s idea and questions means that he is thinking and he is in the class and in thoughts he is participating, but not showing himself much. This is acceptable behaviour for a 14-yearold (Hjelle & Ziegler, 1992).

Running record
Observer: ………
Child Observed: Kareem Jones
Age: 14 years old
Date: 5/10/2009
Time: 13:00 p.m. – 13:35 p.m.
School: Junior High school “I.S.285 Meyer Levin Junior High School”
Special Ed Grade: 8th grade
Setting: at school

The observation was conducted at the classroom during the class and a short break.
During the break Kareem is not socializing with hiss classmates, he is sitting at his desk, looking at the notes taken. While a short break he left the classroom for a couple of minutes, came back and was sitting at his desk. When his classmates were asking him something, he was answering calmly and shortly. At some point he took out of his bag a note book and had written something in there. When the class started he was ready from the very beginning, while for other kids it took several minutes to calm down. The same as during the previous observation Kareem is keeping silent most of the time. He is not willing to distract himself on something else, while teacher is speaking. He is not participating much in the class work. When the teacher asked Kareem a question, he responded calmly. His knowledge seems to be higher than average in class and his speech is smooth in the context of words he is using. There is not much of interest in his respond, but there is no aversion as well. His gestures appeared rarely and they were very calm, smooth and slow. His poses were mostly still, and there were no unnecessary movements.

Commentary: From both of observations we can see similar behaviour demonstrated. In both cases we can see distinctive characteristics of adolescent, but intensed in some way. We can suppose this reinforcement appeared for the reason of introversion of Kareem’s personality. He is quiet, inward, thinks, doesn’t act too much, absorbs knowledge, experience, teacher’s words, observes the class, but doesn’t get involved much in it. We could notice, Kareem is more oriented towards the inner world of ideas, imagery, and reflection. Introverts are seen, as reserved, quiet, shy, aloof, and distant personalities, who values quiet time alone for thinking and reflective activity (Laney, 2002). These distinctive features of introverts could be noticed in Kareem’s behaviour. From the observation materials it could be seen, that Kareem is in his thoughts, quiet, silent, not demonstrative, but he is in the process of thinking, because the attention for the teacher’s words is seen and when the questions are asked, Kareem is always ready to answer them. Also while observing, Kareem did not communicate a lot with class-mates, but he was responding, when asked questions. While the break, Kareem made some notes to his personal notebook, which is the evidence, that he is more about thoughts and may be producing some new ideas, as Laney (2002) was saying that introverts cannot start living, before they understand the life. There was not observed aversion, while short talks with classmates and teacher, which gives us one more reason to suppose that it is the personality’s introversion and adolescent’s characteristic, but not pathology or disorder.

Running record
Observer: ………
Child Observed: Kareem Jones
Age: 14 years old
Date: 9/10/2009
Time: 11:15 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.
School: Junior High school “I.S.285 Meyer Levin Junior High School”
Special Ed Grade: 8th grade
Setting: at school

The observation was conducted during the lunch time. Kareem was sitting at the table with other students from his class. While they were talking Kareem was just observing and having his lunch. He responded questions, which were asked him directly. His movements were calm and slow. He hadn’t a lot of gestures, when he spoke. When something funny was told by other students he smiled a bit, while other students were laughing. His facial expression is always serious. His glance is calm, static and down-directed, rather than up-directed.

Commentary: When the person’s look is directed more to the bottom and is more static, usually it means that a person is in to own thoughts, own experience (Laney, 2002). This is one more time shows us, that there is a confident possibility, that Kareem is introverted. But to make a definite conclusion, we need to conduct some more observing and/or psychological diagnostics. The process of socialization is in the progress. But what we can see – Kareem is absorbing from the social environment, but not giving the feedback to this social environment.

Basing on the three day observation, interviewing the teacher, and reading several of Kareem’s poems we can make some generalized suppositions and assumptions. During these observations Kareem was quiet, not demonstrative, seemed like he does not like to be centre of attention in the class and/or group of students. He was not expressing himself and his emotions in the class. As it seems, his emotions are not harmful. We could see emotional expressions of Kareem in his poetry. Mostly it is about times in his childhood. We can suppose that he can’t “live today” fully. Perhaps this is because of the adolescent period. But the attention towards Kareem’s behaviour and its’ changes should be shown in future. For adolescents it is acceptable to focus on own experience, thoughts and self-reflection (Hjelle & Ziegler, 1992),as it was observed. Also we can make a supposition, that Kareem is more introverted. A type of temperament of Kareem’s personality probably also makes the impact on his behaviour. Temperament is the aspect, which is caused by biological factors.

Bibliography
Laney, Marti Olsen (2002). The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extravert World. Workman Publishing, 330 pages.
Hjelle Larry A. and Ziegler Daniel J.. Personality Theories: Basic Assumption, Research and Applications. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Langua , 1992, 402 pages

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