Observation

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INSTRUCTIONS—Be sure that the observations include the observation AND the guidance paragraph.
Part I: Observation
1. Read Hulit Howard Chapters 4, 5.
2. Observe a group of preschool/kindergarten children during self-selection, child-initiated, or free choice time. Select two children who are at least 12 months apart in age. Choose children who are in situations likely to involve conversation, that is, in which children are interacting verbally with others. For example, children in the block or dramatic play areas will probably produce more conversation than children in the art, manipulative, or book areas.
3. Record all of the verbal statements of each child for 15 minutes each. You can follow one child the first 15 minutes and the second child another 15 minutes and write down everything they say.
4. Use the table to organize your observation. List each statement.
5. In your interpretation, summarize the phonological, semantics, syntax, and pragmatic level of development.
6. Document theory or research from your text to support your interpretation. Use citations that include the Author and Date.
7. Calculate the MLU (mean length of utterance) for each child by dividing the length of each utterance (statement) by the number of statements that you have recorded.
8. Compare the two children’s level of development relative to phonology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Consider sex differences. Document the theory or research that you cite from your textbook. (Use that attached form as a guide for writing up the observation and interpretations.)
Part II: Guidance Paragraph
Type one paragraph (i.e., no more than 200 words) in your own words on the guidance implications (for adults) of the child behaviors you have seen and the research that you have read on the development of language in young children. In other words, what can the adults do to facilitate language for these two children? Based on your observations and your readings, make specific, behavioral suggestions for adults (parents, caregivers, or teachers) who work with the specific children you observed. For example, what situations promote the development of communicative competence? What specific strategies can adults do to encourage the children’s language development? Support with behavior evidence from your actual observations and document theory or research from your text to support your recommendations. Organize your paragraph carefully and check for grammar and spelling errors. Adapted from Lab Handbook, Hegland, 1997

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