Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I cannot believe I have made it to this stage, there have been millions of tears and tantrums but I have finally made it!!
I am pleased with my final product! It is all me and I kind of feel like I am losing apart of me!
The research diary is no more, who will I moan to now?!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The way the Literature Review is written follows the process of the way in which the study has progressed and changed over time. It indicates to the reader how the investigation was formed through the literature surrounding the topic area of day care and the development of my ideas.
Giddens discusses the use of politics within relationships and the need for a democratic understanding between the people involved; an equal balance between partners and in decisions about their children. He acknowledges the differences that have occurred over time and highlights that there has been a significant change in family tradition. Children were expected to take on the roles of their mother or their father depending on their sex. The women taking care of the home and the men earning the living, there was no question of same-sex partners or the notion of shared roles and responsibilities between the husband and the wife. Giddens found this “school of thought to be linked to rightist political positions” and that these “positions” would try to claim that the “family is in a state of crisis.” The idea of same-sex relationships having children would create the debate of who would take on what role and whether it was considered to be morally correct. The rightist view would argue against this type of relationship and family unit, whilst a democratic outlook would consider this still to be a family. With the shift in tradition the number of children that were being born into the family was decreasing as well and this brings about the idea of the “prized child”.
Following on from the work of Giddens, the “prized child” is the concept that children are perceived as being more precious. In comparison to tradition, where there were many children in one family and the attention could not be focused on one child. This was due to the fact that traditionally, children were conceived in order for them to contribute to the “economic unit” of the family. However, nowadays family is seen more as “a set of relationships based much more upon communication and especially based upon emotional communication.” The family unit is closer and the reasoning for creating children is concerned with a much more emotional aspect rather than a financial one.
Cunningham expressed a similar view claiming that the child has changed from being a “productive role within the economy” to “a new role as consumers.” (2005: 185) He goes onto claim that this therefore altered the opinion and decisions of parents when they came to creating a family. As a result parents decided to have fewer children as they were not being valued as a contribution to the family economy. Instead, they were being considered as an individual person and were conceived for “emotional reasons”. This therefore created a rise in a child’s confidence when they were older and were able to contribute to the family’s economy. (2005: 85)
Cunningham expanded on this idea and examined the changes in the role of the child over the years, beginning in America where children were being made to look like science projects and parents were advised not to have an intimate or loving contact with their infants. John Watson suggested that parents should treat their children “as though they were young adults.” (2005: 183-184) In other words there was no need for any emotional support or attachment between mother and child. This then changed after the Second World War as many stated that this treatment of children would play a large role in their attitudes later on in life and could lead them into experiencing emotional stress and depression. “Parents were (now) being advised to enjoy parenting rather than to look on it as an intimidating scientific task.” (2005: 84)
Lakoff is another theorist who relates family to politics and he believes there to be a need for democracy and equal rights within the family. The lexis, for instance “founding fathers” and “sending our sons to war” (2004: 5) is used today by so many people and indicates as humans we link politics and Universal views to family values. Dobson also makes a connection between family and right-wing politics. His “Strict Father Model” shows the similarity between persons in authority in both the home as well as the Government; claiming that a “father tells not asks” in the same way that a “president tells and does not ask.” (2004: 6-7) Lakoff goes onto explain the notion of a “nurturant parent” (2004:14) Here, the two heads of the family are neutral; they live in a democracy where the parents both have equal responsibilities. He emphasises the importance of honesty and states that “open two-way communication is fundamental in a family as well as in a Community.” (2004: 13)
Similar to the research carried out by Giddens, Lakoff looks into the connotations of the word ‘marriage’ and discovers that vocabulary such as a “life-long relationship, a partnership, family, vows and a home” (2004: 46) are all associated with the word. This leads him onto question why same-sex marriages are therefore “frowned upon” when all of the above can be implied to both hetero as well as homosexual relationships. He suggests the way in which the media portray “gay marriages” could affect peoples’ opinions of the idea. When assessing the lexis of “same-sex marriage” and “gay marriages” although ultimately they hold the same meaning, due to the portrayal one commutates, sounds slightly sordid and represents an “irresponsible lifestyle” whilst the other softens the view that many have about gay marriages. Lakoff stresses the importance of placing a word into the English language and having people use it on a regular basis so that it becomes common and embedded in peoples’ minds. He believes that if this process can happen with the phrase “same-sex marriages” then this will replace the negative meaning of “gay marriages” in our culture and society as well as our language. (2004: 46) This links back to Dobson’s “Strict Father Model” where the father is seen as the leader, much like a leader in a dictatorship where there is only acceptance of heterosexual marriages. The father is a role model to the son and the daughters are able too see what a man should be like. This opposes the “Nurturant Parent Model” which sees the parents as two equal partners, a democracy in which the following are essential (2004:48)
• Openness - Strong Progressive Politics
• Community Development
The model looks to nurture and to teach children to nurture others. Whilst it still considers marriage to be between a man and a woman, it does not rule out and still considers the notion of same-sex marriages. In comparison to the “Strict Father Model” which follows right-wing politics and tradition. Although Civil Unions allow for an economic unit, a family and a partnership to be formed “gay activists” want their marriages to be accepted in churches like heterosexual ones are. They wish to represent their love and want it to be treated with a “sense of normality”. “Equality includes social and cultural as well as material benefits.” (2004:49) when considering the two areas of marriage and family, the initial thoughts are concerned with love, care and commitment not economic fairness.
These ideas moved the study into considering the ideas of Elkind (1979) who examined the affects that social change has on a child’s development and how adults’ attitudes have an affect on children. He looked at the differences between generations and claimed that youths of today are considered to be “wilder, freer, more boisterous, and more disrespectful” (1979: 4). He outlines three adult illusions that are described below (1979: 4)
Generational Illusion – Here is where older generations do not remember or consider themselves as being so misbehaved in comparison to youths of today.
Immediacy illusion - Which again looks at the differences between adults and youths, Elkind provides the example of the elder generation describing the impatience of waiting in a queue or being help up by traffic. They describe it as a long time, “it seems to take an age.” Yet, when reflecting on their lives and their years of growing up, this period of time seems to have “gone so quickly”. (1979: 4) Elkind expands on this idea with the notion of “The sense of urgency” that time is running out for the elder generation and that something needs to be done now. He acknowledges that adults may believe that youths share this conception. However, Elkind states that youths do not have this sense of urgency. They understand and appreciate the dangers of pollution, global warming, yet they do not see the urgency of feel the need to act and do something about it now.
This links in with the generational illusion as the older generation believe that the younger generation should have the same priorities when, according to Elkind it is not essential that they do.
Homogeneity illusion – This involved being stereotypical about youths and grouping all of them as being the same. When in actual fact, youths are just as diverse as adults. For instance, there are youths who attend church as part of their social life, whilst there are others who hang out down the park or at the local bowling alley as a way of fun. Elkind in accordance to Lakoff blames the media for this misconception; the media have the voice and most of the time youths are only talked about as being one type or another; good or bad. There are no variations or talk about the different types. (1979; 4)
Elkind goes onto discuss the change in schools over the generations, “schools too have focused more and more upon making academic achievements, rather than personal adjustment, their primary goal.” (1979: 7). As a result of this the child is becoming “competent at an early age”. This is occurring in both academic areas such as Mathematics, Science and English as well as in sports and outdoor activities, Elkind phrases it as creating “a miniature adult”. (1979: 7) This then leads to competition and with this comes the positive and the negative, the failure as well as the success. Many parents urge their children to compete without considering the affects and frustrations it may be causing the child.
Elkind believes that the child’s wants and needs, that were always considered and believed to come above a parents’ is now changing. He feels that the “child-centred approach to child rearing is rapidly disappearing” (1979: 8), with mother’s going to work instead of staying at home with their children. In this case, Elkind sees the child’s needs and wants becoming second to the parents’. This then leads onto the child, having to gain “emotional independence” at an early stage. He goes onto relate this to divorce, and highlights that the divorce rate is increasing over the years. Nowadays couples, even if parents are willing to separate if they are unhappy, they will not stay together for the sake of the family or for the children. (1979: 8-9)
This allowed for the investigation to progress into looking at the different types of care there are for children. Morgan (1996: 3) considers that idea that third-party childcare such as day-care centres and nurseries are effective and beneficial towards the child. She recognises that discussing the question of childcare is a hard issue as many become “infuriated that day care/nurseries are considered as being “better” or at least “harmless” compared to “parental care”. (1996: 3)
The advantages of day-care are seen as beneficial as Morgan feels it prepares children for school and allows them to gain a wider view of adulthood. Edwina Curry from The Times considers the economic necessity of placing children in nurseries, yet she does not do so in the way that Giddens did previously, instead she examines the need for women to work to prevent “the shrinking numbers in the work force.” She continues to say that children create labour such as clothes and food and this therefore increases jobs and employment which creates demand for more people to work. Childcare would allow for mothers to return to work, as well as providing another economic advantage of creating jobs such as nursery workers and assistants, teachers and kitchen staff. (1996:3)
Morgan also considers the disadvantages to day-care and suggests that children being placed in nurseries may grow up to have a destructive relationship with their mothers. This similar to the opinion held by Cunningham can then develop into stress which will create problems in later life. (1996: 81) It is said that childcare can lower depression in mothers, yet this is related to financial issues rather than the attachment and care of the child. The mother knows that if she works, the family income will increase and therefore the chance of depression decreases. As Morgan states “poor parents make anxious parents”. (1996: 81)
Morgan recognises there to be an attachment between mother and child. She goes onto claim that there can be differences in the bond between the two, if the child is placed in day-care. Morgan identifies five points that can have an effect on a child’s attachment with their parents (1996: 90)
• The mother and fathers work patterns
• The parents’ attitudes and behaviour towards their children
• The family environment as a whole – as a family unit or in a home environment
• The child’s behaviour
• The care that the child is given by either the parents or the persons left to care for the child if the parents’ are not present.
Since women have increased in numbers within the “labour force” over the last century, it is extremely common to have both parents in full-time employment.
“The amount of ‘total contact time’ between parents and children is calculated to have dropped 40 per cent for the USA during the last quarter century”. (1996: 90)
Therefore, the time spent between the child and the parent has reduced dramatically. It is hard for parents to not treat their children like objects and to actually form relationships with them, if they are not around that often. If the only time parents get to see and play with their children is in the evening when the child is meant to be sleeping it is harder to create and strengthen relationships.
Morgan (1996: 121) highlights the fact that children are the workers and employment of the future and because of these parents should give time to make attachments with their children, as they will be the ones that are in control of the next generation. If they are suffering due to stress and depression caused by detachment from the mother then we are all likely to suffer as a society.
This relates back to the research carried out by Elkind who examined day care in America. (1979: 22-23) He recognised that nursery staff at all levels, whether they be managers or not, enjoy their jobs and maintain “an enthusiastic” approach. Yet, many of the staff are young and although enjoy working in this type of environment do not see it as a full-time or life-long career. Elkind continues to say that therefore it is hard “getting and keeping competent staff” (1979: 22). He discovered in his study that many staff members in the nursery are so young. They consequently then choose to stay only in this type of employment for a couple of years before finding something new. For many, this involves moving onto higher education. However, the low pay also plays a large role in the staff constantly leaving. The salary of a care-worker is not much at all and although staff love the job and working with the children, the pay is not enough to keep them. (1979: 23)
• Child B was much more aware of his surroundings than child A.
• Child B seemed to move around much more.
• Child B was more hyper than child A.
• Child A was able to sit down comfortably and not move.
• Child B did not sit down once.
• Child B had the need to keep moving and keeping himself busy.
• Child did B did not like silence where as child A did not mind.
• Child B had no comforter, yet always had to a toy or object between himself and the ‘stranger’ as if acting like a barrier.
• To begin with was happy to play with the ‘stranger’.
• Yet became quite aggressive towards the ‘stranger’.
• Pulling of the hair and trying to hit the ‘stranger’ with the toys.
• Was very invasive but in an aggressive manner.
• The child was happy to show how the toys worked.
• The child ignored the utterances of the ‘stranger’ if he did not know the answer.
• The child did ask where his mother was and what she was doing, but never tried to leave the situation.
• The child did not go near the ‘stranger’ to begin with, he kept the toys in between them as if they were acting like a barrier.
• However, by the end of the situation was happy to sit on the ‘stranger’s’ lap.
• The child continuously asked if the ‘stranger’ was his friend and if the ‘stranger’ would be coming again to see him.
• The child did not liked to be tickled and pushed the ‘stranger’ away. He would not allow for the ‘stranger’ to cuddle or hug the child. Even when, asked the child did not allow it.
• The child seemed to be in control of the situation and although not affectionate was happy to chat away and speak his own mind. He was not shy.
• The child became bored and then became awkward.
• The child became aggressive towards the equipment (digital recorder). He threw it around.
• The child did start to call for his mum and wanted to know what she and his younger sister were doing.
• The child did not want to be in the situation anymore but he did not cry or make for the door.
• Mother entered back into the room and the child went to her and began to tell her what he had just been doing and which toys he had been playing with.
• The child was not aggressive to the mother and seemingly appeared to be calmer now that the mother was present.
Child who had been in Nursery
• Was fine when mother left the room, although did not sit next to the ‘stranger’ and held onto her comforter (Jack Jack).
• The child’s arms wrapped around the comforter and for awhile there was no verbal communication and the NVC was extremely negative.
• As the ‘stranger’ used utterances of help of a toy, the child moved closer to see they toy. Yet she still held onto her comforter and did not lose grip.
• However, the child was responding to the ‘stranger’s’ utterances and answering her questions.
• The child bought up her own conversations (hole in the tights) and was quite happy to talk away.
• The child was being awkward and cheeky as she knew she had the control as to some questions she replied “I don’t know” with a mischievous grin.
• Never once asked about the whereabouts of her mother or what she was doing.
• Was extremely content to sit and interact with the ‘stranger’ and to show her how to work particular toys.
• They more the two spoke the closer the child got and the more the child looked up to the ‘stranger’
• Smiling and laughing as well as cuddling and nuzzling up to the stranger’s shoulders.
• Sometimes there were awkward silences where the child was aware of the camera and kept looking at it.
• However, she did not ignore or attempt to move away from the ‘stranger’.
• The child allowed for the ‘stranger’ to tickle her and touch her arm to get attention.
• Yet, she did not let the ‘stranger’ cuddle or comfort her even when the ‘stranger’ asked for a cuddle or if the child wanted to sit on her lap.
• Neither would the child allow for the ‘stranger’ to comfort ‘Jack Jack’ (the child’s comforter).
• The child kept the comforter close to her and it did not leave her lap. Even when asked the answer was a straight no!
• Yet, the dolls that were available, the ‘stranger’ was allowed to play with, but not the comforter.
• I, being the researcher was the first to enter back into the situation, before the child’s mother.
• The child did turn her attention to me; talking and telling me what had been going on.
• The child remained next to the ‘stranger’ though and then after a few minutes the child moved next to me and sat on my lap, placing the comforter down.
• When the mother returned to the room, the child did not seem phased and did not move towards her mother. The child answered her mother’s questions.
• Yet was quite happy to remain sitting on my lap and to talk to the ‘stranger’.
• After about five minutes the child moved to her mother’s lap, but still kept eye contact and in conversation with the ‘stranger’ and myself.
• Concludes that the child was extremely happy to interact and be left with other people other than her mother.
• The child was not affected by the disappearance or absence of her mother.
• The child was extremely comfortable and content in her surroundings, even when the mother returned, the child was not running to greet her or be comforted by her.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
A section of the Importance of Pre-school education states:
“Two children using a plastic cup to fill a bucket with water may be involved in counting how many cups are required to fill the bucket, in discussing the results with each other and in agreeing to take turns. They may therefore be developing mathematical, language and social learning.” (www.itscotland.org)
The interaction found within a nursery may help develop a child’s social skills as well as their intellectual growth in certain subjects such as English and Mathematics. Classroom based activities that are carried out in nurseries are part of the Birth to Three Matters Curriculum that is essential across day centres in England. No matter the age group that a child enters the establishment, there are specific performances that need to be carried out by the caregiver, with the notion that the child’s skills in certain academic areas will be enhanced and prepare them for entering The National Curriculum at the age of five. Early Learning Goals of the foundation stage of education fro children from three to five years has been set out by the Government. It states what most children should be able to do by the end of end of school reception year.
Children that are kept at home however do not seemingly have this advantage of structured activities or the interaction with many other infants. Therefore, their intellectual development could not be as well advanced as those who have been placed into nurseries at a younger age. It suggests doubt that they will not be prepared with the social skills and academic learning when they reach the age to enter reception year.
Yet all children develop at different stages and depending on the child will determine the rate in which the child progresses and which method of learning is most suitable to them. If the nurseries are over prescribed with children, this may mean that children who are shy and quiet may be over-shadowed by others in the group and therefore will be at a disadvantage as they will not receive as much attention. This ultimately is causing the caregiver to overlook the child and as a result affecting the child for later life. Likewise many children will experience some kind of special educational needs during their time in education. Nurseries and schools can help most children overcome the barriers their difficulties present quickly and easily. Yet, some children will need extra help and attention. This may not be given if there are not enough caregivers for the children, which is often the case.
Whilst being at home, the child is given much attention and is not separated from their mother, which can also play a role in the child’s development. With the mother being around the child does not feel a sense of loss or their primary caregiver is abandoning them. The attachment between a mother and a child is significant in the child’s growth. If at any time the infant feels deserted or left with a stranger, this could have a negative effect within the child and consequently hinder the child’s social and intellectual learning. It is these factors and on-going issues that provide the foundation of my study.
Whether a child should be placed into nursery at a young age or at all is a continuous debate that is constantly talked about in the media, the Government and most importantly amongst parents. There is much to be said about both opposing sides and each contain advantages and disadvantages.
This study will investigate the ………..(working title)………….. by observing the behaviour and the answers given by two children of the same age, yet one was placed in nursery at a young age whilst the other was kept at home. The study will follow a replica of the ‘Strange Situation’ that has been carried out by theorists in the past and although will not be providing a definite right or wrong answer to whether children should attend nursery or not, it will add to the on-going debate and will allow for further research and study in the future. The study has been conducted through participant observation with the data being collected through a combination of observational video and digital recordings as well as the use of observational field notes. Mini tests relating to mathematic and language learning were also conducted on the children in order to assess their intellectual development. To support my own understanding of the reasoning why parents may decide to place their children into nursery or not, I carried out informal interviews, which allowed parents to express their ideology and reasoning for their decisions. This study aims to provide the reader with an insight into the differences and similarities of children that have been placed in different learning environments. It also looks at the issues that surround working and interacting with children of a very young age.
During the month of January 2005, my mother discovered a lump upon her leg. It was slightly bigger than an average size mole found on one’s body and had changed in colour from when it had first appeared on the body. My mother always wanting to be on the safe side and knowing that she had miss-treated her skin when she was younger went to the NHS to get the mole checked out. They, being the nurses and the doctors at our local NHS hospital sent her away on several occasions, saying that the mole was nothing to be worried about and she had no cause for concern. Several months passed and the summer came along. Our family had planned a holiday to Thailand in August and just before we were due to fly, my mother visited the doctor again and once again they told her not to be worried and to just keep an eye on the mole, if it was to get any darker in colour or raise above the skin then there could be a problem.
My younger sister and I only recently discovered that my mother had had these doctor appointments prior to the Thailand vacation and it was not till November 2005, that I discovered my mother had any type of cancer. My elder sister had known as she had constantly been asking my mother questions and now I feel slightly dumb that I did not realise before. I do remember asking my mother on holiday what the mole was on her leg and why it was bleeding, but she just passed it off as nothing and therefore I did not think any more of it.
As I said above, the mole on holiday did start bleeding as it had rose above her skin and had been caught on something, it had also become very dark in colour and now did not look like a mole but rather a small lump of chocolate on her leg.
On November 1st 2005, I remember it very clearly; it is not something that one would forget that easily, I was getting ready to go out for my best friend’s birthday. I received a phone call from my mother on the house phone it was around 8’o clock and I knew straight away that something was wrong. She could hardly speak and was talking in a very low voice, which is not like my mother, she is very loud and has an extremely strong Welsh accent which is always lively and sounds cheerful. My mother told me that she had melanoma, skin cancer. The ‘c’ word was all that ringed in my ears. I had friends who had parents that had passed away due to different types of cancer and my grandmother had survived breast cancer, so I had been surrounded by the illness before, yet I never thought that my mum, at such a young age, would be the one telling me that she had cancer.
My younger sister had just been up to visit me and when she had returned home she knew that something did not seem right at home. She pestered my mother till my parents confessed that whilst she had been away, they had gone private and had been to see a specialist who informed my mother that the lump that been growing on her leg was cancerous and due to the length of time that it had been left without any treatment the cancer had spread to her groin. By this point in the phone conversation, I was beside myself and did not know what to do, I could not stop crying which in return caused my mum to cry and in the end, my father had to come onto the phone. My dad is a man of quite few words and never cries in front of me, this was probably the second time in my whole life that I heard him cry. To hear my dad crying made me feel even worse, nothing else seemed to matter at this point in my life. I went home the following week with my elder sister to visit my family and was only meant to be returning for the weekend, however the news of my mother finally hit once I had returned and sent me into what I can only describe as a state of depression. I could not stop crying, I could not move and I did not want to leave my mum and return to Manchester. I ended up staying for a further few days, most of them I just sat with my mum whilst she held me and I cried, it sounds pointless but I feel I needed to do this, to let it all out with my mother with me.
As my mum had now gone private, my dad explained to me that things would be happening much quicker now and the next couple of months would be extremely hectic. The consultant had stated that they needed to operate straightaway, he would be taking, I think about twenty-four lymphoid from her groin and also removing the lump from her leg. The operation was to be taking place at the Royal Marsden Hospital, six weeks before Christmas. This was another blow to my mother and the rest of the family. As it is to most families Christmas was a big occasion for our family and my mother loved to get involved and be the main host. The Christmas dinner, the presents, the wrapping all of the small minor details, such as decorating the tree and putting the decorations out around the house was something my mum loved to do and looked forward to, it gutted her that she would not be able to move around over Christmas and that she would have to rest instead of rushing around which she had done for the past twenty-two years. Christmas 2005 was extremely hard, yet it bought the family extremely close. We had always been a close family but I feel there was an extra appreciation for every family member now. For myself, the thought of losing my mother was unthinkable and I found a whole new respect for her, in the strength that she had in herself as well as for the rest of the family. Before, I had spoken to my mother three times a week, now I was phoning her everyday, even when she was in the hospital to fill her in on everything that was happening, I did not want her to miss out on anything, my mother became my new best friend.
After the operation and Christmas, my mum was off work for six months and was going for regular check-ups at the hospital. The cancerous lump on the leg had been removed and the high risk cells in her groin had also been removed, yet there were still low cancer cells as there had not been a cure yet found for this type of cancer. The cells would only become dangerous though if they were to develop into high risk cells as this would mean that they had become cancerous.
Summer 2006 came and my mum had been doing well, her consultant had told her she was able to go away on holiday but just to cover up and not sit directly in the sun. Other than that there were no reasons why she could not go away. The cancer was already there in my mum she could not get rid of it, by going on a summer holiday would not cause the illness to return, it could do that with or without the sun. Therefore, my parents and my younger sister went to Phoenix in America and they had a fantastic time.
Then in October, I received another horrid phone call. The cancer had returned, not even a year after it had been first removed, I could not believe that it had come back so soon. My world went into a whirlwind again, I could not eat, I was crying all the time and it was affecting everything in my life. However, on a positive note due to my mother going private the cancerous cells had been detected early and so this meant that they could be removed straightaway. My mother’s consultant removed the lump again in November and the operation was successful. The negative part was that again for Christmas, my mother felt slightly helpless, yet on the other hand it bought everyone even closer. I felt for the first time in my life, that I had to protect and support my mother as much as she had done and still does for me.
My mother has three month check ups and at the moment and hopefully fingers crossed the cancer has not returned again since. There may always be a possibility that it could return, but we have to look on the positive side of life and as my mum says we could cry everyday about it, but then it would be like the illness had killed her anyway. I am so proud of my mother and the way she has dealt with the whole journey and news. I had always looked up to my mum but now I see her in a new light and I do not know whether it has come with maturity or with the way she has managed the whole situation and the fact that I could have lost her but I do not keep anything from my mother now and there is nothing that I feel uncomfortable about or feel that I cannot tell her. Even if it may not be something she would like, she is my best friend and I know that she will always give me the best possible advice and support. That is how I feel for her now, I need to be there and support her at this time.
Monday, February 26, 2007
What a week I have had!! I have been writing up transcripts which I had forgotten take forever to do and I hate doing them!!! Why did I choose to do an empirical study?! And if one person tells me how many words they have written I am either going to cry or punch them! Although I feel on track apart from the hiccup this week that could not be helped but that has delayed an observation that I wanted to be completed by now. One of the children in which I was looking to observe decided to get the chicken pox and no one could help these circumstances but I did feel slightly angry about it at the end of last week. However, I have spoken to the parents yesterday and although she still has some spots on her back and tummy, I will be able to carry out the observation on Wednesday! So things are looking up again!
Seriously though could anything else go wrong in my final year?! It is not a lucky year for me!!! Yet, I have developed my observations to having the children draw pictures of bodies and then from here I can analyse them intellectually through previous work that has been carried out before. Keep smiling Jo!!! The hard work is nearly over and you bring everything together! Please agree with me Clive!!
Monday, February 12, 2007
This entry is to not only let Clive know where I stand in my process, but also lets me make sense of what I have been doing the last week!!!! I am just at the start of my reading week and over the past few days I have been speaking and meeting with the children and their parents to see when I am able to carry out my observations. Both parents have agreed and I have their consent to observe their children and record the data in whatever way I find most suitable and beneficial to my study.
I have decided that I will be video recording the children when carrying out the 'strange situation' and will have a digital recorder present when performing the intellectual tests. Here, I will be able to transcribe the intellectual observations and place them all as raw data in my appendix. I would also like to make use of still pictures to show siginifcant moments in the 'strange situation' and to highlight to the reader in a visual context these points. All of this equipment is available to me through the Student Media Services and I have been in talks with Howard about the use and availability! I am in the process of using a digital recorder, it is a new piece of equpiment that is being used to try and replace the old tape recorders. I have to be honest, it looks pretty high-tech and very cool!!!! Yet, Howard ensures me that it is easy to use and if I have any trouble with any of the equipment to just phone him! Such a nice man! The process that I am carrying out now on the digital recorder will allow me to be fully confident when I come to use it for my dissertation! This, fingers crossed, will be happening in the next week!
I am having to go home on Thursday for family reasons and I do have to carry out an interview on my younger sister for another assignment (yes I will be using the digital recorder!!!) But I will be back up on Sunday and by the end of next week, I hope to have all my data collected!!! Ahhh!!!
I have also decided that I will be carrying out an interview on my mother. I want it to be only informal and it may happen that I do not even use it in my final piece, but it will be about my own experience of my up-bringing and how I reacted to mother-child seperation. As I was so young, obviously I do not remember if I was 'clingy' towards my mother or quite happy to be placed in unfamiliar surroundings. For my own personal knowledge, I would like to carry out this interview and also it may fit in nicely around the topic that I am looking into! Also I get to use the digital recorder again!!!
Raises questions about the "effects of these alternate environments" outside of the home. Although most day care and nursery centres are not connotated as being rough, many people do fear "that being in day care will harm children." (2) Yet, within this book day care is being discussed and described as any other care for children that is not carried out by immediate family i.e parents and grandparents. Therefore, here the term day care can be associated with babysitters, other people/carers entering the family home.
Stewart et al highlights some of the funding questions surrounding this topic; "what is the nature of the attention received from their care givers in day care? what is the significance of their daily seperations from their mother?
N.B This ties into my investigation and co-insides with many questions that I have on the subject. Specfically when looking into the intellectual development
(3) "What aspects of the day-care environment are critical for providing such stimulation of development? Can children be given enough stimulation to ensure their intellectual development/growth in a day-care facility with a large group of children and few-care givers or in a home care arrangement with a disinterested caregiver?
The study is carried out through two parts; intense observations at different points of the day 'you' want it to be as realistic as possible as many studies "simply visit families when it is convenient for the parents". This does not allow for the researcher to gain valid and reliable evidence as the situation is false. Second part involves interviews with both parents and caregivers. The data from the observations was collected through utterances being recoreded from the adult to the child and vice versa.
How are we going to display our data in a way that highlights the meanings we have found, so that our audience can engage with it effectively.
Methodology, Epistimology and Ontology
Ontology: the way you think (your beliefs about the world). Your place in the world is affecting your methods that you choose.
These will be guided by: Interviews
- I believe that people tell the truth
- I assume they will not tell lies
- This is my understanding of how the world works
- Nature of truth
Questions to consider:
- What is your research question?
- What are your methodological learnings? Interpretivistic? Positivistic?
N.B Neil Carey in 1st year - Reading and Researching Communication
- What procedures/methods/strategies have you adpoted for collecting the data which will inform your study?
- Have these procedures/methods been influenced by your proposed analytical methods?
- How will you represent that data?
Preparing for analysis
Make sure your data is an easy accessible form:
Quantative data: The number of people I selected for interviews (in my case observations). The number of themes I have generated and then think about how to display these themes. For example Microsoft Excel, input data and then go to insert and select; from here you can choose from a bar or a pie chart. Even think about making charts for the pre-data, data collected before the observation;
Sex - Male/Female
Age - Consider date of birth/years/age category
Summarise your statistics (keep raw data in appendix) With themes, note down the differences (variability). You then need to interpret these differences, why do they exist? what significance do they have for answering your initial research questions. (Frequency counts, thematic analysis, numerical results).
Qualitative data analysis - Interview transcripts, how do we interpret this data? See link on WebCT
General points to consider:
- Reduce and Organise
- Conceptualise (try to see the bigger picture, this shows what happens)
- Interpret (how much of the transcript will you use?)
- Think about how I am going to display my data (graphs, charts, transcripts)
Need a plausible ending, do not just say it's true, valid and reliable. Has it done/attempted to set out what you set out to do?
I have had a breakthrough!!! This breakthrough happened awhile ago but because my Internet at home has been rubbish, this is the first time I have been able to write about it!! I feel like I know where I am going with my dissertation finally and this is where my focus will lie. I have shifted through material and have changed my ideas everytime I have read something but now I feel confident that I have something that could really work, I just need to tell Clive!
I was scared before going into see Clive, yet I am not exactly sure why! I think it was because I as aware that he may not like my ideas, he may not give me consent to run my ideas and the thought that this could happen was scary! However, I felt the meeting went really well and I came out feeling extremely positive and ready to press forward.
The focus now lays in looking at children who have been kept at home in the early stages of their lives or have been placed in day care/nurseries. I am not looking to state that one option is better or more beneficial for the child but rather add to the on-going debate that is discussed in most of the relevant literature. I will be contributing to the debate by carrying out observations on two children that I am able to gain access to, these observations will consist of an intellectual test to see how well the child is developing and also an observation known as 'the strange situation' which will be explained further in my final piece but it consists of the mother placing the child in a room with unfamiliar toys and an unfamiliar person, and observing how the child reats to the surroundings, the 'stranger' and then how the child reacts once the mother returns.
I briefly explained this observation to Clive and we begun to dicuss the idea and connotations of the term 'experiment' and how, for me the thought of carrying out an experiment on children disgusted me slightly as it made me think of the children as lab rats/guniea pigs rather than human beings. We were both interested into why I thought this and this is something that I would like to pursue, therefore I will be carrying out research on the term 'experiment' and also researching into my own thoughts and feelings.
I also need to gain consent off the parents of the children and I am wanting to observe due to ethics that are concerned when dealing with children. I already have my ethics form and now just need to approach the parents.
I placed forward the idea to Clive that I want to include a section or involve my mother in my final piece of my dissertation. She has played a large role and has had a big affect on my University life and the way in which my dissertation is forming, Clive agreed with me and I will be writing a type of autobiography about my mother and I, which I have already started to do and there are pieces of literature that I have also found that help highlight and represent what my mother means to me.
Finally in the next two to three weeks, I will be gathering my data and then deciding how to represent this in my final piece. As well as asking myself how I will analyse and interpret the data that I receive for it to be made clear to my reader.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Cunningham discusses the changes over the years, beginning in America where children were being made to look like science projects and parents were advised not to have an intimate or loving contact with their children. But rather John Watson suggested that parents should treat their children “as though they were young adults.” (183-184) This then changed after the Second World War as many stated that this treatment of children would play a large role in their attitudes later on in life. “Parents were (now) being advised to enjoy parenting rather than to look on it as an intimidating scientific task.” (84)
N.B Personally I do not agree with treating infants like young adults they are entitled to enjoy their childhood and be able to experience love and fun. Reading the part of this text caused me to become quite angry and upset about the way children used to be seen as guinea pigs and ruled in a fascist way.
Cunningham continues to say that the child has changed from being a “productive role within the economy” to “ a new role as consumers.” (185) He goes onto claim that this therefore altered the opinion of the parent and as a result, parents decided to have less children as they were not being valued as a contribution to the family economy. Instead, they valued more individually and for “emotional reasons”. This therefore created a rise in a child’s confidence when they were older and were able to contribute to the family’s economy. (85)
Barbara Tizard (Chapter 4) Source: E. Lloyd, A. Phoenix and A. Woollett (1991) Social Construction of Motherhood, London: Sage
Methodology: Looked into the work and research carried out by John Bowlby who “believes that the root of personality development lies in the child’s early relationships with the mother.” (61)
The lack of intimacy and loving relationship between a mother and a child can have a large effect on the infant’s development and he has related and carried out this theory on a “study of young thieves” (61)
N.B Look at work on John Bowlby
K. Alison Clarke-Stewart (Chapter 5) Source: American Psychologist (1989) 44 (2): 266-73
Clarke-Stewart talks about the dramatic increase of mothers going back into full-time employment after having children.
Mother-infant relationship the theories that surround this area – mainly concerning with Freud and his views on child/separation from the mother and the effect on the child’s development. Stewart states clearly that although research has shown that children still prefer their mother’s attachment rather than that of a care-taker’s, however her question is “whether the quality of their attachment is as good” is as “emotionally secure” as those attachments that have formed through a child and a parent who has been the only caregiver in the infant’s life.” (79)
Methodology: Stewart began to research this through bringing together data from all studies that have been carried out on child’s attachment to their mothers.
The Strange Situation: (80) Where the child is left in an unknown room with an unknown woman and toys that are unfamiliar and not of their own. The study is carried out to see if children react differently when the mother comes back into the room. Those who have been in day care are supposed to be less likely to be affected by the mother’s return and will quite happily play with the unfamiliar toys and be comforted by the stranger of another woman. Where as the child who is constantly cared for by the mother will want to be reunited with her as soon as she returns to the room. Yet, a disadvantage of this situation is the stress that can be placed on the child, as it is an unusual environment for them to be in.
Clarke-Stewart and Fein (1983) claimed that quite often researchers have discovered that children who attend infant day care have higher intelligence. Tests that have been carried out on infants aged between 18 months and 5 years showed that those who had been placed in day care/nurseries received higher scores on intelligence tests then those who had not. (84)
She goes onto talk about the varied factors that may affect the child’s attachment: (85-87):
1.) Day care factors – “the type, stability or quality of day care experienced by the infants.”
2.) Child factors – the individual; the different characteristics of the child.
3.) Family factors – the mother as an individual whether she had intended to stay at home and then realised or decided that she could not cope with motherhood. Another example given is the stress of dealing with “two full-time jobs – work and motherhood – which would lead to more rejection of every additional burden, including the baby.” (87) This could be extended to having to deal with household tasks and chores as well.
Sources I would like to get hold of:
Ramey, C.T, Dorval, B and Baker-Ward, L (1983) “Group day care and socially disadvantaged families: effects on the child and the family” in S. Kilmer (ed) Advances in Early Education and Day care (Vol 3, 69-106) Greenwich, Conn: JAI Press
Clarke-Stewart, K. A and Fein, G. G (1983) “Early Childhood Programs” in P. H Mussen (ed) Handbook of Child Psychology: Vol.2 Infancy and Developmental Psychobiology. New York: Wiley
The research that Elkind carried out was through looking at past assignments over the past ten years. He considers child development to be a “broad domain” which deals with results found in the classroom as well as the home. Elkind talks about a “two-directional approach” to this area. Practical as well as theory, the research in Elkind’s book contains both “research and theory to practice” and “practice to research and theory” (Introduction ix-x)
Chapter 2 in Elkind considers day care in America (22-23) – Similar to my own experience of working in day care, the staff at all levels, whether they be managers or not, enjoy their jobs and maintain “an enthusiastic” approach. Yet, many of the staff are young and although enjoy working in this type of environment do not see it as a full-time or life-long career. Therefore it is hard “getting and keeping competent staff” (22). Many staff members in this particular nursery, similar to those I have worked in found that with staff being so young, they choose to stay only for a couple of years before finding something new. For many, this involves moving onto higher education. However, the low pay also plays a large role in the staff constantly leaving. The salary of a care-worker is not much at all and although staff love the job and working with the children, the pay is not enough to keep them. This seems to be the case in both England and America.
Well it has been awhile since I have been here! I have found it extremely hard to get back into my Independent Study and I have to admit that I have put it to the back when it has come to my other work. Over the weekend and this week, however I sat down just to read over some books and the work that I have already done. This helped a lot as it has placed me back into the motion of wanting to work on it. Now, I do not know why I did not do this before I was afraid of the Independent Study but once again I have had to tell myself that it is not as big as I believe it to be.
I have progressed in my ideas and feel that I have something to work with at the moment. As before I was worrying that I was not sure where I was going and I had placed a mental block in the pathway. However, now I feel I know where I am going with my Independent Study and this is why I wish to meet up with Clive on Friday to discuss my plans!
Monday, December 04, 2006
Today, I saw Clive and expanding on the summarising that I am making of the research I am reading, I am going to create an extra column and make notes of the types of methodologies that the authors/researchers are using when making their reports. I will then wish to include this as a section under my Literature Review and possibly when I come to carry out my methodology, I will be able to see what ideas were used and relate them to my Independent Study. This will therefore enable me to move into my methodology section smoothly, allowing my report to flow and for an obvious link to be seen between the two parts.
Looks at the affects that social change has on a child’s development. How adults consider social change and the way their attitudes have an affect on children.
The ways, in which generations consider themselves, youths of today are considered as “wilder, freer, more boisterous, and more disrespectful” (1979: 4). Older generations do not remember themselves as being this ‘bad’ when they were youths.
Elkind describes three adult illusions; generational illusion is described as above.
Immediacy illusion, which looks again at the difference between adults and youths, an example given on page 4-5, adults see waiting in a queue or waiting in traffic as a long time, it seems to take an age. Yet, when reflecting on their own lives and their years of growing up, the time seems to have gone so quickly, with the older generation as well, Elkind talks about “The sense of urgency” that time is running out and that something needs to be done now. Adults may believe that youths share this idea. However, Elkind states that youths do not have this sense of urgency. They understand and appreciate the dangers of pollution, global warming, but they do not see the urgency to act and do something about it now!
This links in with the generational illusion as the older generation believe that the younger generation should have the same priorities when, according to Elkind it is not essential that they do.
Homogeneity illusion – Being stereotypical about youths, grouping them as all being the same. When in actual fact, youths are just as diverse as adults. For example on page 6, there are youths who attend church as part of their social life, in comparison to youths who hang out down the park or at the local bowling alley.
The media having an effect on the stereotypical view of youths, as the majority of the time, youths are only talked about as being one type or another. There are no variations or talk about the different types.
Social change affects adults and those adults that are parents then pass this affect onto their children.
The change in schools, “schools too have focused more and more upon making academic achievements, rather than personal adjustment, their primary goal.” (1979: 7). A result of this is the child having to become “competent at an early age”. This happens in both academic areas such as Mathematics, Science and English as well as in sports and outdoor activities, Elkind phrases it as creating “a miniature adult”. This then leads to competition and with this comes the positive and the negative, the failure as well as the success. Many parents urge their children to compete without considering the affects and frustrations it may be causing the child.
Elkind believes that the child’s wants and needs, that were always considered to come above a parents’ is now changing. He names the “child-centred approach to child rearing is rapidly disappearing” (1979: 8). With mother’s going to work instead of staying at home with their children, in this case, Elkind sees the child’s needs and wants becoming second to the parents’. This then leads onto the child, having to gain “emotional independence” at an early stage. A link is then made to divorce, and the divorce rate having increased over the years, and the fact that parents are willing to separate if they are unhappy, not staying together for the sake of the family or for the children.
The use of frames between parents and children, the “rules, expectancies and understandings that operate in repetitive social situations.” (1979: 79) The way frames are formed and established through a child’s social interaction. How these frames vary and differ within different social settings. For example, the lunchtime period at a child’s school has a different frame and a more relaxed ruling than the setting within a classroom.