Naturalistic Observation Report psych by ajizai

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									Gender related fidgeting in 4th grade classes

            Charlotte Moeyens

        IB Psychology Higher Level

            September 29, 2009

         Word Count: 1,100 words
                                                 Abstract

         Our aim for this particular project was to determine whether there is a difference between girls
and boys when it comes to the amount of times they get off task, or distracted during class time.… Our
directional hypothesis was that boys get off task (by fidgeting, getting out of their seats, zoning off, or
making disturbing sounds) more than girls do. To make this observation as successful as possible, we
first found a possible class and then checked what this class’s schedule is because it’s important that
during our two sessions, the students were doing relatively similar activities. We then planned a time to
visit and observe. In the classroom my partner and I each chose 5 different students (I did 3 boys, 2 girls,
Charlotte did 2 boys and 3 girls). We ensured there was no interaction with the students, which
would’ve biased our results. The observational method we used was the Checklist for Coding Child
Behaviour, because it was most efficient for a naturalistic observation. Our hypothesis was correct. The
boys did fidget, get out of their seats, make disruptive sounds and zone off a significant amount of times
more than the girls did. So in conclusion, we had quite a successful observation, there were flaws but
those will be discussed later.
                                             Introduction

      Our aim of this study was to determine whether there was a significant difference between the
amount of times boys and girls “get off task” or get distracted during class time.

         Other studies which have been executed include one by Kara Tice, from Denver, who looked at
different behaviors in boys and girls during class time. We chose this one because it relates to our
observation in the sense that we both looked at behaviours classified as fidgeting amongst elementary
students. She also focused on the differences between kids diagnosed with ADHD and those without it.
There have been many more similar studies done, with a similar aim, but sometimes with different
results!

         Our type of observational study was naturalistic. We didn’t change anything in the children’s
environment, there were no different variables being measured. We just sat there silently, and observed
the children’s natural behaviors.
Method:

      Design:
      For our observation we used the Checklist for Coding Child Behavior Table. We used this
      because it was simple and efficient. With this design, the observers sit silently in a room with the
      children, and they already have a table with specific behaviours behaved. As each behavior
      occurs, the observers simply place a tick in the table. As was mentioned before this design was
      clear and perfect for our type of project. Because this project was purely observational, and it
      needed to be a naturalistic observation my partner and I tried to distance ourselves from the
      students as much as possible. Any interaction with them would’ve altered their behavior and
      therefore altered the outcome. To ensure a minimal change in their behavior, the teacher did
      not introduce us, we simply entered the classroom, sat down in a spot where the children didn’t
      stray to, and started our observation. This particular design didn’t raise any ethical concerns in
      my opinion, for we didn’t actually touch or even converse with the kids, so we didn’t harm
      them. In some cultures, however, us simply observing them might be viewed as rude, so that
      might be an issue, but I don’t believe there were any serious concerns, because we emailed the
      principal of the elementary school, and the teacher and they gave us permission.
      Participants:
      Our target population was 4th graders at SAS China, Mr. Denton’s class. More specifically, I
      targeted 3 boys and 2 girls, and my partner did 3 different girls and 2different boys.
      Materials:
      Because of our design, we needed a table ready and a pen to record our observations. For our
      literature review we had an article about fidgeting amongst boys.
      Procedures:
           a. Find a partner
           b. Select a target population (in this case, a classroom in the Elementary school)
           c. Select a naturalistic setting that will give you two chances to observe the target
               population for 30 minutes
           d. Select four to five behaviors which you will be looking for and make an appropriate
               table, create a hypothesis (BEFORE actual observations)
           e. Write consent letters for principal and teacher of students which will be observed,
               explaining the experiment to an extent and proposing what times you’ll observe
           f. Go to classroom, have you and partner each choose five different students
           g. First session: observe and record what you see in table for 30 minutes (make sure you
               focus on all five kids whom you have chosen, not just one). No interaction with kids
               permitted.
           h. Second session: observe and record what you see in table for 30 minutes (make sure
               you focus on all five kids whom you have chosen, not just one).No interaction with kids
               permitted.
           i. Compare what you have recorded with what you’re partner has recorded
           j. When all data is combined, you’ll be able to tell whether you’re hypothesis is correct or
               not
Results:

Session 1, Setting: In the classroom, handing in assignments and read aloud


                                              Session 1 Observation Averages
    Number of times behaviour occurs




                                        6
                                        5
                                        4
                                        3
                                        2                                                               Boys
                                                                                                        Girls
                                        1
                                        0
                                            Fidgeting in   Getting Out of   Zoning out     Disruptive
                                                Seat            Seat                        Sounds
                                                                     Off-Task Behaviours


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Session 2, Setting: In the classroom, during math and discussing homework for next day


                                              Session 2 Observation Averages
                                        6
    Number of times behavoiur occured




                                        5

                                        4

                                        3
                                                                                                        Boys
                                        2
                                                                                                        Girls
                                        1

                                        0
                                            Fidgeting in   Getting Out of   Zoning out     Disruptive
                                                seat            seat                        Sounds
                                                               Off-Task Behaviours


From these tables, I calculated the average of each behavior for all the girls and all the boys (over both
sessions) and got the following:
                                                   Averages of Both Sessions
                                    6
Number of times behaviour occured



                                    5

                                    4

                                    3
                                                                                                     Boys
                                    2
                                                                                                     Girls
                                    1

                                    0
                                        Fidgeting in seat Getting out of   Zoning out   Disruptive
                                                               seat                      sounds
                                                               Off-Task Behaviours
Discussion:

From the graph displaying averages of both sessions, we’re able to say that boys do have a higher
probability of getting off task than girls do. We can also see that fidgeting (playing with the fingers, or
fiddling with anything they can get their hands on) is the most popular among both genders. Our
experiment shows that these boys in particular have a lesser attention span than the girls do, they were
more eager to move around and maybe go outside then the girls, who were sitting there, mostly
listening attentively.

How do our results compare to those of other studies and theories?

A particular study carried out by Kara Tice, from Denver, has shown that this off task behavior is more
common in boys, particularly boys with ADHD, and this “backs up” our results in the way that we have
similar conclusions as the ones provided in this study. The study is about recess, and its behavior on
children, but it also focuses on class time, and different off task behaviors which are present amongst
the kids. She finished her observations with similar results as we did. Her data also showed boys being
more easily distracted than the girls in the classroom.

There were many limitations of our research. To start with, our sample size was quite small, so our
results can’t be used to describe boys and girls in the fourth grade all over the world. It was also very
difficult to constantly keep an eye on all of the kids we selected. Many times, or even most of the times,
they fidgeted at the same time so it was hard to keep track. That particular problem caused inaccuracies
in our results. Another limitation is that we were visible to the kids, which might have somehow altered
their behavior. They might’ve shaped up a little bit to attempt to impress the strange older kids in their
environment. It would’ve been far more ideal if we could’ve observed them from somewhere where
they couldn’t see us, but we just didn’t have the facilities for that.

Suggestions for improving the aforementioned limitations include choosing a greater sample size, but to
do then observe them all equally we’d need more observers. Having more observers would also help
with the issue of not being able to keep track of all the kids at once. This would then lead to more
accurate data, and more accurate results. Another modification which would’ve been ideal, is a room
set up so that the observers could be hidden somewhere. The best option might even to have a window
mirror (one side of the mirror allows you to see through it as though it were a window, the other side is
an actual mirror). Another aspect of the experiment which we could’ve improved is a study of each
child’s background. Their behaviors are naturally influenced by the way they were brought up or their
culture. In some places in the world, zoning off can be considered rude, so it is severely frowned upon.
Children who grew up in an atmosphere like that would zone off less than those who haven’t been
criticized about it. So in an ideal world, we would’ve researched each of the children’s ethnicities,
cultural background, etc. etc. but that would take a long time.

In conclusion, we predicted correctly, boys do get off task more and get distracted more easily (they
fidget, get out of their seats, make disruptive sounds, and zone off) more than girls in the fourth grade
do.
References:

Tice, K. (n.d.). Recess: it 's cogniti ve, social, physical, and behavioral effects on
children. Retrieved fr om
http://clem.mscd.edu/~sandersc/4960K%20final%20paper.ht m
Appendices:

                                    Appendix 1 – Raw Observations

Charlotte Van Damme’s Tables For Her Selected Five Kids

Session 1, Setting: In the classroom, handing in assignments and read aloud :

Behaviour       Girl 1          Girl 2          Girl 3          Boy 1           Boy 2
                Frequency       Frequency       Frequency       Frequency       Frequency
Fidgeting in    +++             ++              +++             ++++            ++++
seat

Getting out     +               ++              ++              ++              +
of seat

Zoning out      +               ++                              ++              ++++

Making          +               +               ++              ++++            +
disrupting
sounds



Session 2, Setting: In the classroom, during math and discussing homework for next day

Behaviour       Girl 1          Girl 2          Girl 3          Boy 1           Boy 2
                Frequency       Frequency       Frequency       Frequency       Frequency
Fidgeting in    +               +               ++              +++++
seat

Getting out     +               ++              +               ++              ++
of seat

Zoning out                                                      +               ++


Making                          +                               ++              +
disrupting
sounds
                                     Appendix 2-Raw Observations

Charlotte Moeyens’ Table for Her Selected Five Kids:

Session 1, Setting: In the classroom, handing in assignments and read aloud :

Behaviour       Girl 1          Girl 2          Boy 1           Boy 2           Boy 3
                Frequency       Frequency       Frequency       Frequency       Frequency
Fidgeting in    + + ++          +               + +++ +         + +++++ +       ++ + + +
seat                                            +               +

Getting out     +               ++              ++ +            + ++++          ++
of seat

Zoning out      +++             +               ++                              + ++

Making          +               +               +               +++             ++
disrupting
sounds



Session 2, Setting: In the classroom, during math and discussing homework for next day

Behaviour       Girl 1          Girl 2          Boy 1           Boy 2           Boy 3
                Frequency       Frequency       Frequency       Frequency       Frequency
Fidgeting in    ++              ++              ++++ + +        + +++ ++ +      ++ + + +
seat

Getting out     +               +               ++              +++ +           +
of seat

Zoning out      +++             +               +               +               +++

Making          +                                               +++             +
disrupting
sounds
                                              Appendix 3

Consent letter from Mrs. Mcvean:

September 15, 2009

Dear Fay,

We are only too pleased to work in collaboration with you and to support the learning of your students.
The administration confirms approval of your project. Please have your students request permission
directly from classroom teachers for classroom and student observations.

Thank you,

Sacha McVean

Shanghai American School

Elementary Principal

Pudong Campus
                                              Appendix 4

Request letter to Mr. Denton:

Dear Mr. Denton,

My name is Charlotte Moeyens and my partner is Charlotte Van Damme. We are 11th grade IB
Psychology students and would like to conduct an observation of your fourth grade class. The best times
for us would be tuesday and wednesday of this week straight after our lunch time (12:45 – 13:30). We
won’t be interacting with your class at all, merely observing them for about 30 minutes each day.

Thanks!

Charlotte and Charlotte
                                               Appendix 5

Consent Letter from Mr. Denton

Charlotte,

That won’t be a problem. Check with your sister to see what the schedule will be. It’s going to be a day 1.

-Mr. Denton

								
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