Zayed University sample assignment
Zayed University College of Communication and Media Sciences COM 237
Child Observation Paper
One of human nature’s favorite pastimes is simply “people watching”. Regardless of culture, gender, age, or even time period, the art of observing is a skill and pastime that is seemingly universal. A large part of our day, both online (using social media) and offline, is spent observing the people around us. we areboth consciously (when something catches our attention) and unconsciously observing all types of activities and various elements that interact with our personal environment. Adults have grown very adept at this act of observation, as it allows adults to make decisions on a variety of issues (e.g. when to change the topic in a conversation with someone else that becomes uncomfortable, or when in the workplace when interacting with colleagues and your boss). Just as adult observation is important, child observation is important as well due to the fact that children absorb and mimic behavior of those around them (both from adults and other children) without question, as this is their main form of learning in their formative years. Observing how children behave with each other can be a way to test or observe what a culture’s traditions or beliefs are. For example, does a culture believe in gender separation/differences? Does a culture reward physical ability over mental ability? These values, norms, beliefs and general behaviors can be clearly observed in how children interact with each. Also, observing what a culture creates to entertain and teach children is a good method of determining what underlying cultural values, beliefs, norms, and social practices are being tough or even in grained in the psyche of children. I.e. what types of cartoons are being created (characters and storylines), what types of toys are being manufactured and what do they teach children?
For this assignment, you are going to use information gathered from className readings, className discussions, and your own research to write a 4-5 pg observation and research paper (TIMES NEW ROMAN, Font 12, Double-Spaced, APA/MLA Format). The aim of this paper is to complete one of the three observational exercise options listed below, gather all pertinent data, and analyze and discuss your findings in a cohesive and thoughtful essay. You must categorize all you gathered data and come to one main argument that you will prove throughout your essay. For example, you could try to prove that the rules and regulations of playground games replicate or simulate the larger world of adult politics, but on a smaller and more contained scale.
Choose one of the below listed options to follow. Once you have chosen which option to research, you will then gather data through observation (taking detailed notes which will be submitted) and through research (both using className readings and outside research). Once you have researched and gathered enough data, you will then analyze all you collected information and come up with a argumentative thesis. Using your data, you will then prove your thesis throughout the length of your paper with cohesive main points that are supported with examples and research.
Go to a location where you can publicly observe children playing (e.g. playgrounds). Do not go to a school, however. Be sure that it is a location where there are plenty of children! (A dozen children or more is a good amount.) Observe children at play on at least two different occasions for 1 hour each and take detailed notes on their game-playing activities. You should address the following questions at a minimum:
- What kinds of games are the children playing?
- Do the boys and girls play together? If so, to what extent?
- Are there any differences in the games boys play and the games girls play? (e.g. type of games, free play vs. structured activities, reactions to winning and losing)
- What examples do you see of children socializing each other? In other words, do you see them teaching each other how to behave, how to play, etc.?
- What is the “hidden curriculum” of these games? In other words, what lessons or messages do you think the children learn as they play these games? (e.g. lessons they receive about respect for authority, obedience, and success/failure, etc.)
- How do these games reflect our larger society’s cultural beliefs, attitudes, and/or values?
- And finally, speculate on how playing these games might affect the ways girls and boys will behave in the future.
In your paper, be sure to explain what location(s) you visited, as well as the general patterns to the questions above. Also, provide specific examples of games or activities to help illustrate your descriptions. Equally important, you need to explain how your findings relate to the topics discussed in className. Your paper should be no longer than 5 typed pages. Turn in your detailed notes along with your paper (Your notes are graded!).