Friday, 19 April 2013

PILOT OBSERVATION ( It is impossible not to socially enagage with a 6 year old who desperately wants to show you her 'Step, hop, step, pas de chat')

For my pilot observation I decided to observe a dance class of 5 to 8 year olds comprising of 12 girls and 2 boys.

I planned carefully beforehand my aims and objectives for the session:

I drew up a sheet with the various sections of the lesson I wanted to observe.

I chose not to participate in the class, but to observe from the back, in order to capture independently the required data and take notes.

I realised very early on that I was not going to be able to observe quietly and discreetly from the back of the class as I had hoped. Some of the children knew me and immediately their response to their own teacher was diverted, as they looked over at me, asked me questions and were unable to concentrate on the lesson.

It is impossible not to socially engage when faced with a smiling 6 year old who desperately wants to show you her "step, hop, step pas de chat".

I felt it was unfair on the teacher and made the decision to become involved and become an active participant. The teacher didn't mind at all, but I was then unable to observe and take notes as I had originally planned.  I was, however, able to witness the various teaching methods used in the lesson and the strategies she used for dealing with a disruptive student. However, my neatly designed spread sheet was sadly left blank. Despite this, I did enjoy the lesson, so all was not lost :).

Writing retrospectively was OK, but I felt that I missed the opportunity to view the lesson as a whole, and what actually happens, as an impartial observer. 

On reflection, I felt I was rather naive in my approach to the observation.  I do think it is a useful tool and one which may benefit my inquiry.

Judith Bell in her book "Doing Your Research" advises careful planning, piloting and practice as the necessary components required to get the most out of observation studies.  With this in mind I will endeavor to try again.

Bell, J.  - Doing Your Research Project - Open University Press 1992

No comments:

Post a Comment