RecessThis South Bay area. The student participatesin a

RecessThis South Bay area. The student participatesin a

RecessThis observation is of a 10 year old male child during his lunch recessat an elementary school located in the South Bay area.

The student participatesin a day treatment program for children with emotional/social difficulties. Thelength of this observation was approximately forty five minutes. For the purposeof confidentiality this student will be referred to as John. In the firstsection of this observational analysis a brief description of the program whichJohn participates in will be given. This will be followed by an analysis ofJohn’s activities during the observation.

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ObservationThe day treatment program John participates in is located on the campusof a public elementary school, and is supported by a local private mental healthagency. In general, children referred to this program experience some form ofemotional and/or social deficit. In addition to John, there are nine otherstudents enrolled within the program at present. John currently attends amainstreaming class three times per week, where he has developed severalfriendships with his peers.This observation began as the students in the day treatment program werelet out for recess following lunch. After leaving the class John ran to thedesignated play area with another student.

The designated play area of theplayground where the students of this program are restricted to consists of a”jungle bar” set ; This play structure consists of “monkey bars” with tallvertical poles for sliding down attached at each end, three parallel bars ofvarying height, and horizontal bars constructed in a ladder fashion for climbingon. Additionally, the designated area includes a tether ball court, and abalancing beam constructed in a “Z” shape. The staff has restricted the studentsof the program to this area due to these childrens’ limited abilities todemonstrate social skills, and in order to better supervise the group duringrecess activities. However, other children at the school are not restricted fromthis area and interact freely with the children from the program.After John had arrived at the play area he immediately jumped onto theparallel bars and began to swing back and forth, and launched himself into theair landing awkwardly almost falling down. John preceded to jump up onto the”monkey bars.

” John climbed about half way across, where he was confronted withanother student who was crossing in the opposite direction. At this point Johnjumped off of the bars and ran back to where he had begun, and proceeded toattempt crossing the bars again and made it. John went back to the parallel barswhere he proceeded to swing, jumping off periodically. At one point Johnattempted to gain the staffs attention to watch what he could do on the bars;John swung himself repeatedly and then let one hand go, this spun him to oneside where another parallel bar was located, which John grabbed onto. The staffshouted “good job John,” which seemed to motivate John to repeat this trick afew more times.

After playing on the bars for a while longer, John went over to twoother peers from his class who were engaging in pretend play. These childrenappeared to be playing a game of “army combat,” as they were running aboutshooting each other. John ran around the play area attempting to shoot his peerswith his machine gun, and ended when they began pretending to be in hand-to-handcombat . At this point this point the staff directed the students not to get toophysical, and the small group of children ran off.

John played with this group for a while longer, as they would shoot ateach other periodically and ran around the play area. John disengaged himselffrom playing with this group as he was distracted by a nearby puddle of water.John jumped over the puddle, and was prompted by the staff not to step in thewater. After this warning John jumped over the puddle a few more times beforepicking up a stick, which he used to poke and investigate the tiny pool. Johnseemed very interested in this activity, and spent approximately five to eightminutes investigating what he had found before loosing interest and returning tothe bars.

There were more children now playing on the bars then had been earlier,and John seemed to grow inpatient; There were about four children occupying theparallel bars doing various tasks when John approached the bars. John waited fora short time (about 1 to 2 minutes), and then began to yell at a younger studentto move so that he could do something. The child did not respond to Johnsrequest to move, and John crossed his arms and began to pout. After anotherminute or so, John went to the staff saying that the other kids were justsitting on the bars not letting him get on.

The staff prompted the students thatthey had to take turns on the bars. Following the staffs prompts one of thechildren allowed John onto the bars. John swung back and forth and then got offby launching himself into the air as he had done previously. This time howeverJohn landed more solidly then he did in his first attempt. John was called overto a nearby basket ball court by the staff who asked John if he wanted to shootsome baskets, and John agreed.

The group of children who were shooting baskets included two girls, aboy (who were not apart of the unit), and John. John recognized the other boy,and told the staff his name remarking that he was “a good shot.” John proceededto shoot baskets with the other children, and seemed to take a particular likingto one of the girls; John would run after the ball after it had bounced out offthe back board and give it to the girl, forsaking his turn to throw the ball.John did this several times throughout the time they were playing. When thestaff was demonstrating to this girl how to throw the ball and make a basket,John jumped in helping the staff demonstrate how to make a basket and continuedto assist the girl in making baskets till the bell rang marking the end ofrecess.AnalysisAlthough John participates in a day treatment program for children withemotional and social deficits, John interacted much as one would expect a childwould of his age. In accordance with Erikson’s developmental theory, John shouldbe entering (or in the middle of) industry vs.

inferiority. This stage ofdevelopment may be seen in John’s activities performed on the “monkey bars;”Where John crossed the bars after his efforts had been blocked by a peer, asopposed to giving up on the task.Thus showing goal directed behavior at themastery of a skill. This appeared to be an important situation, as John’s secondattempt reinforced his belief in his abilities to complete a task. This attemptat gaining mastery of skills could also be seen in his performance on theparallel bars, where John sought the staffs attention and approval. Thisinstance of the observation can also be viewed through developmental theory ofthe behaviorists; Where John’s repeating (and thus attempt at increased mastery)his “tri ck” could be seen as being motivated by the staffs voiced approval ofJohn’s performance on the bars.

Finally, John’s participation in the social activity of playing with agroup of peers on the basketball court can be viewed through the behavioralparadigm of social learning theory. It could be argued that John (being somewhatsocially handicapped) viewed the staff in a social context with other children.Furthermore, John observed this social contact as possibly beneficial to him(e.g., a chance to make friends outside of the program).

The staff acted as amodel of those behaviors appropriate to the situation (i.e., cooperation,helpful, outgoing, etc.), and John molded those behaviors once he was involvedwith the group. And again, depending on the value John might place on suchinteractions, this might potentially motivate similar social behavior in thefuture.

In conclusion, it would appear from this brief observation that John isapproximately at a normal developmental level according to Erikson. John seemsto be attempting to gain mastery of those skills which he has difficulties with(i.e., social interactions and motor skills).To aid him, John is using the staffas a model to determine the appropriate skills needed to meet his goals, and isusing external cues such as the staffs praises as a guide of his abilities.Category: Social Issues

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