This assignment will demonstrate your ability to observe adolescents in naturalistic settings, develop running records to record what you observe and describe, report, and interpret significant events. You will connect your observations to major concepts, principles, theories and research related to the development of adolescents.
Your observations will be recorded in running notes that provide an ongoing or minute-to-minute report of activities and interactions. Running notes should be titled and dated and include a brief descriiption of the location. Names of subjects should be coded to respect the privacy of each individual. Running notes provide the foundation for the report and should be carefully examined so that what has been observed and recorded can be related later to what the observer knows about child development and behavior. The observer should describe fully and specifically what s/he has observed in a factual manner. To complete your assignment you will write in sections.
Section I will be titled the “Introduction.” In this section identify the subject, location, dates of observations, length of observation sessions, and other pertinent information. Here you will report observed behaviors and events clearly and in rich and comprehensive detail. This section will contain narrative and descriiptive passages that will provide a context for the analysis of behavior and integration of theory and research that follows in section II. This section is where you will provide a descriiption of what you observe.
Section II will be titled “Analysis.” This section is where you provide analysis of what you observed. In this section you will connect behavioral descriiptions and cultural contexts to major concepts, principles, theories, and research related to the development of adolescents. You will integrate principles, theory, and research presented in your text and in class that is accurately cited and integrated into the analysis of the subject’s behavior. Here you will use principles, theory and research to lead to logical conclusions. Your field observation assignment should be a well-written document that follows the conventions of standard English grammar and usage.
Non-education students will cover the same topics and provide similar analysis, but will do so based on research from the text and outside sources.
Understanding Life at School for the Adolescent
The focus of this activity is on understanding life in school for the adolescent. For this observation assignment you should plan to observe students over a series of weeks.
At your field observation site, take field notes based on your observations of students. Section I of your observation assignment should address the following details:
How are the children dressed? Comment on neatness and apparent affluence.
Also note differences in dress among groups of children.
How do the students look physically?
What is their out-of-class language like? How is it different from their in-class language?
What sorts of emotions do they express with their language?
Do they use abusive language? Note differences in languages among groups of children.
If you are unobtrusive, you will be able to overhear fragments of conversations.
What do the children talk about? Teachers? Sports and cars? Grades?
The opposite sex? Clothes? Current Events? Tests?
Note differences in topics of conversation for different groups.
What groups can you identify?
(Groups are particularly noticeable in secondary schools.) Some groups you might notice are “jocks,” “druggies,” “skaters,” “snobs,” “nerds,” “preps,” and students of various racial and ethnic backgrounds. How would you characterize each group? Consider dress, language, race, interests, how physical, materialistic, and so on. How rigid is group definition? That is, are some students members of more than one group? Or do some members of groups at least mix with members of other groups? Are there loners? What are their characteristics?
Does each of the groups have its own “territory”? Which one has the most territory?
The least territory? How closely guarded is each group’s territory?
Dominance and Power.
Do any of the groups appear to be dominant? Which are the most and least powerful groups? What is the source of each group’s power (e.g., academic skills, athletic skills, muscle, “street knowledge”)? Do any of the groups depend on adult approval for their power?
Section II of your observation assignment should address these questions:
Summarize what you have learned about the students in each of these areas.
Who are they and what is it like to “live” in this school?
Relate the information you have gathered to information learned this semester regarding social development during adolescence.
Do these students appear to be “typical’?
Does what you observed coincide with what you have read in your text in reference to social development?
What do you know about the demographics of the area in which you observed?
How are the students you observed similar or different to you?
Preferably written about todays high school experience regarding the observation of the adolescents
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