understanding the world of young children


The undermentioned essay provides an analysis of observations carried out on a five twelvemonth old male child in a response category. The essay sets out the basic state of affairs and methodological analysis but focuses on analyzing the observations from a theoretical position. The experimental transcripts will be found in the Appendix and whilst they will be referred to and supply the nucleus of the information, this essay aims to take the following measure through analysis.

The focal country of the survey is the societal development of immature kids and this provides the experimental standards. Several parametric quantities need to be made expressed. First, there needs to be a acknowledgment of how an person ‘s ain socio-cultural background places them as a research worker. Second, there are the parametric quantities of the establishments themselves. For illustration, as Bourdieu argued, society reproduces itself through its mechanisms and establishments, including schools ( Bourdieu 1973 ) . This impacts on the course of study, its content and its bringing. Third, but most significantly for this essay, is the inter-relationship of the kid with both macro ( e.g. society and civilization ) and micro ( direct interactions with household, equals, instructors etc ) environments. These are some of the considerations that will be included in the undermentioned essay from within the context of how a immature kid makes sense of their universe. It is to the full appreciated that taking elements and state of affairss out of context can falsify the cogency of the information. In order to equilibrate this, the experimental transcripts, and the theories used to construe them, are sometimes counterbalanced with alternate suggestions for analysis.

The School and Research Methodology

The school is set in a assorted socio-economic country with a scope of cultural and spiritual communities.

Three visits were made to the school. During these, two 2 hr in-class and resort area observations were carried out on the selected kid, referred to here as Child X. The full transcript of the observations will be found in Appendix 1. This is a qualitative research methodological analysis along the lines of action research. It seeks to back up its points of position with through the usage of other research and agrees with those that place a high value on academically strict observation. This is progressively recognised, for illustration as a signifier of reliable appraisal ( Pellegrini et al. 2004 p. 7 ) . Informal conversations were besides carried out with the instructor and although non transcribed, they did supply some apprehension of the instructors state of affairs within the category.

Choosing Child X.

Child X was selected for a scope of grounds including a personal involvement as he comes from a culturally similar Muslim background to the writer. He besides speaks English as a 2nd linguistic communication in a category that is chiefly composed of white kids from English talking background. Besides, being a Reception category allowed for an scrutiny of how much the place civilization is evident in the kids ‘s attitudes and behaviors. The essay looks at interactions between Child X, his equals and the instructor. This besides makes for interesting societal probe. Another facet of this pick involves the research workers ain reading of events and subsequent contemplation. This has proved interesting and can function to foreground one ‘s ain prepossessions every bit good as those around one.

The Observations in Context

Observations appear to demo that Child X sits has formed a close friendly relationship with another male child ( Child B ) . They sit ‘sensibly ‘ ( Appendix 1, p.1 ) whilst the instructor negotiations. Child X transcripts Child B such by raising his manus when inquiries are asked. However, Child X appears non to cognize the reply to the inquiries when asked and is shown to be chiefly copying the other kids, particularly his friend. The observations show that this friendly relationship is peculiarly of import to Child X and he has limited interaction with his other category couples. This dependance is recognised as portion of age and phase development, to utilize Piaget ‘s footings, but has a figure of other factors that need consideration.

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The undermentioned subdivision looks at this from three initial positions – sociolinguistic, cultural and behaviorist. The first parametric quantity could be to take the Vygotskiean position of linguistic communication as a societal constituent in building cognitive acquisition ( Krause et al. 2003, pp. 60-69 ) . The 2nd parametric quantities examine how Child X ‘s place civilization affects his picks and attacks towards school, school work and societal interactions. The 3rd is a thread running through the analysis which looks at behavioristic theories and Child X ‘s reactions.

It should be noted that with English as a 2nd linguistic communication, Child X ‘s forms of interaction were possibly affected by his picking up on ocular cues instead than listening cues. It could besides be that his acquisition manner is non to the full catered for and this exacerbates his evident deficiency of understanding as respects the instructors verbal instructions. As Leyanage points our, larning manners ( e.g. Brown 2000: Das 1988 ) may besides hold cultural intensions. Whilst the person may hold a sensitivity towards larning visually, orally or kinesthetically, some civilizations may in kernel demonstrate a penchant towards specific larning manners, such as rote memorization or concrete educational practises.

Child X interacted good with his friend Child B, yet when placed in a group with a miss ( Child Y ) responded by running off stating ‘do n’t run after me, nooo. Miss Tell… ( child Y ) ‘ ( Appendix 1, p. 1 ) . His degree of interaction was authorities by his sense of friendly relationship and security with that individual. For illustration, he besides showed limited interaction with the instructor and appeared shy and cautious when speech production to her. Another facet of Child X ‘s linguistic communication concerned his cognitive phase. In Observation 2 ( Appendix 1 p.2 ) it was noticeable that Child X talked out loud and shouted out his reply when he had it. This self-talk, in common with Piaget ‘s thoughts of ‘egocentric address ‘ ( Krause et al. 2003, p. 62 ) has been shown as a constituent of cognitive development taking to internalised idea. At this phase, the kid is still transporting on a conversation with himself in order to vocalize and order his ideas.

Whilst Child X ‘s response to working with a miss will be looked more to the full at subsequently, from a socio-linguistic position it is deserving observing that he shows what could be seen as fright in his linguistic communication every bit good as his behavior. His fond regard to one kid as a friend may foster demo his insecurity and fright. In Observation 2 ( p.2 ) the kids are put into little groups to work. Child X is one time once more with the miss ( Child Y ) and with another male child and miss. Child X has non understood the instructors instructions carried out in plenary and accordingly Child Y, the miss, is left to make the work while Child X dramas and confabs with the other male child. Small group work and peer larning hold a extremely regarded research base in educational psychological science. However, it has besides been shown that when a kid is non ready for the work, does non understand the linguistic communication or is disinterested in the capable affair, they will happen it difficult to concentrate. As friendly relationship with other small male childs is such an of import portion of Child X ‘s current emotional phase, he drifts off undertaking quickly into seeking interactions with his selected schoolmates.

Language is hence a critical portion in the kid ‘s development towards meta-cognitive patterns and apprehension of believing. As Dehart et Al. ( 2004, p. 381 ) point out, the bulk of immature kids do non yet possess this ability and therefore their responses to state of affairss are governed by other standards. It would look that in the instance of Child X, these other standards involve seeking his sense of security, his wish to suit in with group behavior ( such as manus elevation, sitting softly seemingly listening ) more than seeking to reply inquiries right and execute specific mental undertakings. This aligns with Maslow ‘s theories sing the Hierarchy of Human Needs ( e.g. Goble 2004, p. 50- 67 ) within which as basic demand is to experience safe and secure, both psychologically and physically.

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The continually turning research on emotions as a primary motivational stimulation in early-years development ( e.g. Wood, E. & A ; Attfield 2005: Isaacs 1999: Bredekamp & A ; Copple 1997 ) do non explicate Child X ‘s somewhat telescopic address when removed from his comfort zone. For illustration, in one state of affairs where he raised his manus, because the other kids did, in response to a inquiry to which he clearly did non cognize the reply, he replied ‘ … umm can travel to the lavatory? ‘ ( Observation 2, Appendix 1, p.2 ) when asked to react. Second linguistic communication acquisition has been shown to differ from first linguistic communication acquisition and in the school scenario has the dual demand of linguistic communication acquisition and general acquisition. It has besides been shown that bilingual kids as still developing their 2nd linguistic communication skills up until 11 old ages old ( Sneddon 2000, p. 275 ) . This may do defeat for Child X and explicate some of his jobs with understanding instructor instructions.

Fear of the ‘Other ‘

When Child X runs off from the misss, or hits them without being seen ( Observation 2, Appendix 1, p.2 ) , he possibly demonstrates both a fright of the unfamiliar and a deficiency of cognition about how societal systems, other than his place one, works. This is peculiarly relevant when viewed socio-culturally. It may be guess without thorough probe, but it is just to state that Child X comes from a background that has different positions on gender to that found in his schoolroom. Huge attempts have been made in the UK educational system to supply equal and incorporate instruction and whilst the official rhetoric may change from the world, the dominant discourse purposes towards inclusive instruction. However, it is still a consequence of the society which drives it and hence does non needfully supply the familiar formats that Child X is familiar with. Should Child X come from a state of affairs where misss are segregated from male childs and responded to in a different manner, it could travel some manner to explicate his attitude towards them at school ( e.g. Reed, online ) . When Bronfenbrenner ( 1979 ) examined the systems at work on a kid ‘s acquisition, it included all the environments within which the kid may happen themselves, such as the place and household, vicinity, school and friends. It besides included the cultural values and social ‘norms ‘ learnt from these people and state of affairss every bit good as Child X ‘s fond regard to his household ( Bowlby 1988 ) .

Another facet if Child X ‘s response to misss is that they are non his female parent and hence do non suit the format he is used to. He seeks aid from the instructor to ‘rescue ‘ him from her, yet shows grounds of going more familiar with working in assorted gender groups the following twenty-four hours. This acquaintance besides leads some discreet aggression, which is a recognized following phase in traveling from fright of the unfamiliar to proving one ‘s boundaries.

Acquaintance with the manner the category plant may alter these responses yet at this phase, theories on fond regard should be taken into consideration. For illustration, the strength of a really immature babes acquaintance with its female parents face has been shown ( e.g. Meltzoff & A ; Moore 1983 ) and this may lend to attachment upsets in some kids. In her chapter on ‘Living and Learning with Others ‘ Dowling ( 2005, p. 21 ) besides points out that societal competency is portion of a sense of security that besides associates with fond regard. Dowling provinces that ‘social relationships with equals develop really early out of the household ‘ ( p. 23 ) . Where these relationships do non happen, kids may show a spread in their communicating and societal accomplishments. Child X does non react good to misss. In Observation 1 ( Appendix 1, p. 1 ) , he runs off from the misss in the resort area when they try to fall in in his group ‘s game and in Observation 2 ( Appendix 1, p. 2 ) he ignores them when they try to speak to him.

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The Class Room Teacher in this Context

As has been discussed, kids need cardinal grownups to move as function theoretical accounts and supply the security they desire ( Dowling 2005, p. 24 ) . From a pedagogical position, the research shows that this is of import for interrupting down stereotypes and assisting kids concept good rounded thoughts of themselves and where they stand in the universe. Siraj-Blatchford for illustration ( 2006 ) points out that ‘ … category, gender and ethnicity ‘ ( p. 112 ) all contribute to kids ‘s formation of stereotypes and depend besides upon the mode and signifier of outlooks placed upon them. For illustration, Child X plays softly in the resort area. He does non run about and do a batch of noise like the bulk of the other kids do. He prefers to play with Child B and whilst he was observed playing with kids from other races, in times of emphasis, he appears to prefer to return to the acquaintance of those from the same race as he. This could intend he has already established a gendered and racial ego image, but this should be weighed against a possible deficiency of acquaintance with wider society and insecurity about go forthing place and go toing school.

Other of import factors concern the instructor ‘s response to the kids as portion of either a constructive or destructive procedure. When the instructor praises him for wining in composing a ‘t ‘ on the board ( Observation 2, Appendix 1. p. 3 ) , albeit non a superb one, Child X responds with delectation. Whilst the positive and constructive motivational factors involved in praising the kid ‘s accomplishment travel without stating within a constructivist paradigm, there are warnings. For illustration, the Montessori doctrine believes in indicating out the kid ‘s accomplishment instead than generic signifiers of praising. This besides helps the instructor recognize the kid ‘s existent achievements and possibly give them the necessary information to scaffold the kid ‘s development. Praise can otherwise be seen from a behaviorist position in that it re-enforces coveted behavior.

With respect to Child X ‘s linguistic communication, it may be that his English comprehension and societal linguistic communication accomplishments need support. It is progressively recognised that unwritten linguistic communication impacts enormously on a kid ‘s development and demands intercession earlier instead than subsequently. For illustration, The Bercow study recognises that: … in turn toing hold and upsets, the most of import facts we know are the value of early intercession and the danger of its absence.


Whilst this essay has focused on the societal state of affairs of Child X within an educational scene, much more could be linked to his age and phase, such as current cognitive capacity and emotional quotient. The brief expression this essay has taken of how one kid responds to school has shown both the value of observation and the importance of the analysis and contemplation that follows. It has allowed for the construct of civilization and society to be viewed at both a micro and macro degree – from peer relationships to gender barriers.

The essay besides suggests that kids with English as a 2nd linguistic communication may necessitate excess support in order to do the acquisition available and develop their societal competence.

Much more demands to be said about all these issues. However, as a starting point for understanding the impact of an person ‘s socio-cultural background within the context of a schoolroom, it has provided some absorbing penetrations. The journey continues.