Make notes in your journal about the following questions:
How does Delamont position the ‘teacher’ in her classroom observations?
The teacher should be a passive observer. Sara warns against participating too much as this leads to less data collection.
What advantage do you (as a ‘practitioner-observer’) bring to your observations?
I already know the setting, the staff, the children. I am not trying to learn everything about the context which means I can focus on observing the issue. This is particularly important given the time constraints in a school setting.
As a practitioner, I know about classrooms. I understand the unspoken assumptions and micropolitics of a classroom. This enables me not to be distracted by potentially distracting data.
Are there disadvantages in being a ‘practitioner-observer’
As above – this can lead to not really seeing. As Sara warns, we need to guard against seeing what you want to see / think you’ve seen as opposed to seeing what is actually occurring.
- The more you participate, the fewer data you can collect.
- Being in a setting for prolonged periods and the predominant data is field notes.
- I don’t believe in interviews because I think people will say anything.
- There’s a difference between what people say (in an interview) and what they actually do (in their classroom).
- What you write down depends upon what you are studying.
- If want you think was going to be important at the start of the observation turns out not to be, you abandon it.
- Mustn’t be distracted by the ‘loud child’ but must keep watching and listening to everything.
- Need to write up notes and then read through them critically.
- Need to guard against seeing what you want to see / think you’ve seen as opposed to seeing what is actually occurring.