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Observation help!

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Debbra, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. Debbra

    Debbra New commenter

    Just got feedback from a second failed EYFS job interview. The kids loved me, the lesson and interview went well, but I fell down on observations.

    I was trained not to engage with children during observations but to step back and simply write what they do.

    Last time I was told I wrote "too much dialogue".Well I fixed that this time!

    This time the feedback was that I did not engage enough with the children I was observing. One of the other candidates said she did not write much observation but made sure she engaged with all the children - I am pretty sure she got the job!

    So hints please - what do they want for 15 minutes of EYFS observations? Should I ask if they want me to engage or not?

    Any help gratefully received as I begin another round of application forms!
  2. dbu

    dbu New commenter

    Schools ultimately want to see how you interact engage and motivate children. Do you take their lead and encourage thinking and imagination etc.
    Personally I don't think its possible to do an observation on a child without interacting as how do you know what they're thinking or their reasons for doing something unless you ask or find out. It's important to not make judgements on what you assume to be happening. You need to use the 'I was just wondering why.... ' 'I wonder what would happen if...' 'I can see you've just..' etc rather than closed questions.
    When I have appointed I have given the candidates time in the provision and then asked them to reflect on what they saw and what they would plan for next.
    Hope this helps
    gingerhobo48 likes this.
  3. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I agree with you that, if you were working in the classroom, you would step back and simply observe what was going on (for the most part - sometimes questioning would be appropriate). However, at interview they don't want to see how well you can write; they want to see you engage with the children. So I would do a combination of observing and responding to what you see by joining in the play, asking open-ended questions, etc. Good luck for your next interview!
    gingerhobo48 and Debbra like this.
  4. rosie_rj

    rosie_rj New commenter

    I've worked in reception for 5 years and observed many interviews. I never seen a candidate doing observations during the interview- this is usually a question in the verbal interview-'what did you observe from your lesson etc' If it's only 15mins I would go for an interactive whole class game- I would personally do something phonics based. For this time of year most children should be able to read and understand simple phonetic words. I would go for a hunt for objects around the classroom, then reading a sentence to match an object. Eg 'The cat is red' child then has to find the picture of the red cat. You can differenate by just having cvc words for the lower ability such as 'bag' and then sentences with tricky words and adjectives/conjunctions in for the more able. Begin by introducing yourself explain that you have a exciting activity- share some rules and expectations. Give lots of praise, bring stickers! When they children are reading the words/sentences go around the carpet get down to their level and help with the segmenting and blending if needed! Ask the children lots of questions 'what does your sentence say? What comes at the end of a sentence? What sound/phoneme is this? Can you find the picture to match? Bring a tambourine use that to get the children's attention if they become too loud etc. Don't be afraid to stop them and explain that they are being too noisy, this is good practise! Let me know if you need any more help ideas!
    Gemget84 likes this.
  5. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    Agreed, I would do a combination of engaging, talking to the children and jotting down quick observations on post-its or similar, explaining afterwards (or put on your plan) that normally you would do the obs in line with school system, e.g. Tapestry or 2Build a Profile, or sticking post-its in the child's book.
    Show that you are using questioning effectively and, after the lesson, that you would know the children who would need more support or extension (depending on time, of course).
    gingerhobo48 likes this.
  6. houseelf

    houseelf New commenter

    I'm sorry to hear that Debbra. It is a horribly confusing situation to be in when you do as you have been trained, feel it went well with good reactions from the children but then find out later they were expecting something different to what you have been taught to do. I am a Montessori trained teacher and we are taught to be observers of the children and interact in a mindful way i.e. not engage when a child is concentrating but follow their lead (indicated through body language, use of activities and direct engagement). Perhaps in your next interview (well done for getting to interview stages!) you could ask about their approach and ethos first to get a feel for what they are hoping to see and the way they like their teachers to be in the classroom.

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