ReflectiveEssay: Child Development Appendix For this task, I observed a 12 month old child for an houreach week over a 6 weeks period using the Tavistock method of childobservation. Initial observation tookplace on Thursday 2nd November 2017 between 11am to 12pm. Forconfidentiality reasons, l have chosen to a pseudonym as Baby Zee.
Baby Zee lives with both biological parents and three oldersiblings. She is the last of four children and the only female child in thefamily. Her brothers range between the ages of 5-8years. Baby Zee is of African descentbut born in the United Kingdom.
The ethnicity of which Baby Zee’s motheridentified her as is British Black African. Language spoken at home is Englishand Twi (Ghanaian language). Both baby Zee’s parents are from Ghana, WestAfrica. I was introduced to Baby’s Zee’s family through a friend. Before makingarrangements to meet face to face, I spoke to her mother on the phone, drafteda consent form and letter from the university. Which I emailed to both parentsto explain the aims of the observation, to help them gain an understanding andalso informed them of their right to confidentiality. After a few days BabyZee’s mother contacted me and agreed for observations to take place every Thursdaybetween 11am and 12pm. Baby Zee is a healthy child with no medical issues.
IntroductionForthis essay, I will use Schon’s module of reflection on action to criticallyanalyse knowledge gained through observation.The impact on my future practice and significance of observation in social workpractice. Reflection-on-action involves reflecting onhow practice can be developed after the event. ”We reflect on action,thinking back on what we have done in order to discover how ourknowing-in-action may have contributed to an unexpected outcome” (Schön, 1983,p. 26).To make sense of what wasobserved over the 6 weeks period. I will also focus child development and alsoexplore attachment, communication, emotional and cognitive development, play aswell as personality. Throughout the essay, I make reference to what wasobserved to support or question theories and psychoanalytic concepts.
Observationand its significance in Social work practice. Observation is act of closelywatching/monitoring something or someone. In social work practice, observation providesan insight into significant things which could easily be overlooked or hidden duringassessments/conversations.
Fawcett andWatson (2016) suggests that ”we can learn much from our observations, but wemust accept what we see is only a tip of the iceberg”. Observation offered theopportunity to learn about the different ways in which children communicate. Priorto this, my assumptions were that infants only start communicate from themoment they begin to use words (verbal communication). But this has been provenwrong.
Example on the first observation, through sounds such as cooing, facialexpressions, eye-contact and pointing Baby Zee was able to at times communicateher needs and wants. Also throughout the period of observations, I noticed whenBaby Zee would do something wrong, her mother would shake her head. To symbolise”No” or ”Stop”.
Baby Zee would smile and stop even though she will try and repeatthe same actions later. Baby Zee understood the shake of head as ”No”. Theseearly communication skills provide a strong foundation for the development oflanguage and understanding social behaviour.
I linked this to Piaget’stheory of cognitive development. At 12months Baby Zee is currently at the sensori-motor stage. According to Piaget, thelevel of a child’s intellectual processing is simply the organised pattern ofbehaviour in response to a particular object or experience Sudbery (2010 p.69).
Fawcett and Watson (2016) also suggests that observation provides a rewardingopportunity to discover the subtle and fascinating ways in which peoplecommunicate verbally and non-verbally.Onthe first observation, I arrived at the house at 11am prompt. Baby Zee and hermother met me downstairs where mother introduced me to Baby Zee. Motherplayfully asked Baby Zee to wave and say hi. Baby Zee looked at me verystrangely and didn’t respond to her mother. She maintained direct eye contactwith me as I followed them into their flat. During the observation her motherwill often leave the room leaving us alone for a few minutes. Baby Zee would stare/glance at me continuesfor some minutes, but continued to play independently with her toy.
When motherwould enter the room again. Baby Zee looked very happy and excited to see heragain. I related Baby Zee’s actions to Ainsworth’s strange situation /strangeranxiety. Ainsworth explained this as an indication of how smoothly andeffectively an infant uses a caregiver as a secure base at home.
Howe (2011)suggested attachment systems are used to monitor the environment for danger andthreat and is reflected in the Baby Zee’s energy and behaviour. Though BabyZee’s behaviour changed when she left alone with me due to her level attachmentwith her mother. She was still able to cope and continue to play independently.
Howe (2011) also states children feel more confident and secure knowing that aresponsive attachment figure will be there in times of need. But by the end ofthe 6weeks of observation, Baby Zee had become familiar with me and would oftensmile even try to engage with me through play, which I resisted. Play is pivotal in childdevelopment. It plays an essential part in cognitive, social, emotional andphysical well-being. On the 3rd and 4th observation, Itook particular interest in the way Baby Zee Plays.
I noticed she wouldalternate between playing with a remote control (she would press the buttons asif she wanted to change the channel) and a miniature kitchen set in the livingroom. She appeared very happy and confused on what she was doing. She wouldmake a lot of sounds and be giggling to herself. Bandura (1977 cited inDavenport 1992 p164) say that children will observe and imitate adults andbuild what they observe into play. I then began to think if Baby Zee’s methodof play is due what she had observe her parents and older siblings do. Inoticed Baby Zee’s mother playfully interacting with her. She would take theremote and hide it under a blanket and ask where is it. Baby Zee will try torecover the remote from under the blanket.
This relates to Piaget’s ObjectPermanence. The idea that objects still exist, even when you can’t see them(Beckett and Taylor 2016 p.73).I also noticed that anytime her mother will feedher. She would make a hand gesture to pray which I observed Baby Zee alsomimicking that gesture. I related these two behaviours to Bandura (1977)observational learning or Social learning theory. Social learning theoryfocuses learning that occurs within a social context.
Critiquingof theories usedVygotsky’s Sociocultural theorycriticised Piaget for only basing his cognitive development of a child mainly onbiology. But rather parents and caregivers play a crucial role in cognitivedevelopment. Vygotsky suggested that caregivers can support thechild to achieve higher cognitive levels by providing support and guidance.Secondly, social learning theory, just because Baby Zee mimicked the actions ofher mother praying action doesn’t mean she has a full understand of what she isdoing. Her action is only reinforced by what she sees at a particular moment.If taken out of that environment, she doesn’t have the cognitive ability toretain this information to perform it without adult support. Lastly, duringobservation 6, Baby Zee’s father returned early home work.
I watched Baby Zeebehaviour changed as she noticed her father. She quickly run into his arms. Inoticed for the first time Baby Zee interacting with her father. Observed herfather being playful and affectionate towards her.
Baby Zee also seemed veryhappy and initiated play. This then led me to think that Baby see has a greatattachment to bother her parents. Thisaccording to the Clarkes signifies that babies don’t just need mothers but canattach to several people. (Davenport, 1994).Children need responsive caregiverswho can respond to their needs. Learningachieved through observation and presenting. Initially the idea of observing a total stranger seemed daunting to me asI felt I was intruding.
During observation, I would often find myselfreflecting and comparing my childhood. According to Hingley-Jones etal (2016, p.255) “counter-transference invite students to develop theirsensitive to the emotional dynamic they encounter”.
Secondly, I feltmy experience of being a female of African descend and knowledge of the cultureplayed a significant role in this observation. It was evident I projectedelements of my childhood and characteristics on this child. I have learntthrough this experience about the importance of going into an observation witha clear and open mind, not bring my own personal believes or biases intopractice or the intention of seeing or hearing something which I believe is thenorm but may not be seen such to others. I believe observation and reflectionskills are vital in the training and development of students. PCF domain 6 alsostress on the importance of students being able to critically reflect. As statedby Fawcett and Watson (2016) students may learn through observation howanti-discriminatory principles can be put into practice, how power structureand hierarchies operate, and especially how relatively powerless children are inthe society.
Observing also provides the opportunity for social workers tonotice if a child is being harm or concerns about his/her developments. Butler(2015) also states in practice, observers respond intuitively to physical harm,rightly intervening if something may cause immediate injury to a child, such asa baby trapping fingers in a toy. Reflecting on the various days of observation, I found there were days whereI felt unstimulated and nervous. Other days I felt very enthusiastic and lookedforward to going the following week anticipating how she would have developedby then. I didn’t perform as well as I hoped to during the presentation.
Reasonbeing I had allowed my nerves to get the best of me. Due to nerves I couldn’tremember all the things I had prepared to say. I was very disappointed with myperformance and if given another chance I would read and research more aboutobservation and presentation skills.
Moving on from here the learning objectiveI have set for myself is work on research and presentation skills. I believedIf I had researched enough I would have acquired enough knowledge to present myinformation even when under pressure and also asking for help when needed. Thisapplies to HCPC 3