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In this essay, I will discuss child observation that I completed for six weeks. This essay will narrate my experience and reflections on how the theory and practice of compliance will be helpful in social work practices. This essay will also discuss the importance and effect of seminar group discussion. I will also explore Child’s world in the narrative part of this essay which consists of Appendix 1 and 2
According to Daniel Goleman 2018, pg1, self-awareness can have a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. The attribute that makes each unique social workers are that we don’t just need to understand our characteristics alone but also be open-minded and adjust our thought processes and sensitivities to respond to individuals’ specific needs and realities. It has broadened my understanding of the use of reflection in action as it allows me to measure the quality of my meditation and gave me a detailed assessment. Also, it enlightened my understanding of conscious and unconscious processes. Howe,2009, p.171 emphasized that reflective practice requires that you learn from experience and be self-critical to analyze your thinking, and feeling and learn from what you interpreted.
The child observation task was a new learning experience for me. In my first observation, I will address the child as Baby D. while watching the video clip of Baby D., I noticed that she was playing with toys all by herself, and immediately I assumed she was Autistic. This thought was unconscious; after that, I find it hard to focus due to lots of background noise and children running around. As I observed Baby D, I realized that I responded based on mother instinct because if that was my child, I expect the nursery to put her in a bubble with other children with a keyworker that will be in charge, not just to be let alone by herself. I become aware that there was a lot of thought about the emotional impact of the observation on myself as the observer. As I continue with my compliance with Baby D, I was so anxious to understand what is going on in her world because I can relate her situation to my son’s when he was her age. Due to the pandemic, we observed based on video clips and articles not like face-to-face contact.
The child observation broadened my understanding and enabled me to explore a children’s world. It is vital to understand the meaning of observation. According to Le Riche 1998, observation is part of looking, seeing, and understanding reality. I had great concern about my lack of experience in observing children. I had my first placement with the leaving care team, they are children from sixteen to 21, and I have never worked with children in the past. My placement experience gave me knowledge about observation. I question my role as an observer, especially with children, whether I will perform a good observation. According to Trevithick 201, pg.169 emphasized that we learn a lot by observing others and thus understand what is transmitted by the tone of voice, the intonation of the volume, body language, and gesture. I kept on watching Baby D, and I was able to see and understand that children develop in different ways. Also, I realize there was a connection between my son’s situation when he was Baby Ds age. I realized I was able to detach myself from assuming Baby Ds interpretation.
At the beginning of the course, I found it challenging to apply observation into practice until my first placement experience. Furthermore, I learned that observation is a skill acquired with training and practice. The observation supports the observer to gain adequate knowledge of the child’s internal and external world. Fawcett, M 2009, p17 emphasizes that we know a lot from our observation, but we must learn to accept that the interpretation we acquire from our observation is the tip of the iceberg.
In seminar discussions, sharing my thoughts and hearing other people’s thoughts, ideas, and approach they use for the task broadened my understanding of how important observation is as a whole in social work. Stogdon and Kiteley 2020, pg147, state that contributing to the discussion and making notes is the beginning of acquiring skills.
Transference and countertransference are the processes to identify children’s world. Tudor and Mary 2006, p 143 describe transference as moving an emotion or behavior from one person to another. Sometimes, it could be positive or negative, and our emotions can hinder our assessments as social workers, which is a form of transference. On the other hand, countertransference is a reaction to transference towards the clients, and the client may respond with countertransference. This method is essential during therapy sessions. For instance, during my observation of Baby D, please see Appendix 1 she engages well when she sees a keyworker and is excited to participate in activities with the keyworker. At one point, the keyworker left the exercises. You can see Baby D goes back into her shell with a sad look, but another critical worker immediately came and started engaging her in activities; she was excited and active again. The observation with Baby D shows a high level of attachment with growing up in the setting. Affection is a deep and enduring emotional bond that links one person to another, Ainsworth, 1973. Bowlby,1969. There are different types of attachment, and the kind of attachment that Baby D share with the grown-up in the setting is a secure attachment. The secure attachment shows a warm bond between individuals to one. Baby D’s reaction when she is with growing up in the setting brings out confidence in her interactions and happy face, and with the presence of an adult, she can communicate with other children.
Every week we present our observations on a weekly task; I realized many unconscious interpretations occur when sharing our understanding of children’s world. I learned a lot from the seminar; the only disadvantage I can pinpoint is not having face-to-face contact with the person you observe. The video clip didn’t give full details that one needs to base a child’s world.
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