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Developmental Dimensions of 9 Year Old, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

The Setting

I went to St Mount Primary School today in search of my subject for this observation. It was 1:30 pm and I was wondering whom to select among all the children that were playing and running around me. Suddenly my eyes were fixed on a sweet girl of 9 years, who was sitting alone on a bench and was busy painting something. I observed her for 5 minutes and was impressed by her activities. She was alone, there was a sense of peace and calmness on her face, and she was busy with her drawing activity,

I went close to her and with friendly smile asked her about what she is doing. She replied without looking at me that she is trying to draw a butterfly. I sat beside her and asked her, her name. She looked at me and said, “I am Jenny Walter, but you can call me Jen.” A smile flashed on her face, and she further asked, why are you here?” as if she knew who I am. Before asking about my identity, this girl asked me the reason to be there. I was taken aback, and instantly I realised that Jenny Walter is my subject for sure.

Amidst all the hustle and bustle, I offered her a friendly hand and introduced myself. She replied with a smile. I was wondering why she is sitting alone and is not joining her classmates in playing in the playground. She got busy with her drawing and just replied, “I love drawing.” This was for the first time I was meeting my subject and I thought of beginning a conversation with her to understand her personality and various kinds of developmental dimensions in her. Jenny is 9 years old and I aim to understand as much as possible about her developments. I understand that my approach might not help me totally, yet I believe that my learning about 9 years old would help me in understanding Jenny.

In the following paper, I have noted all the points that I have observed about Jenny, both through nonparticipant observation and interaction with the subject. It illustrates her unique behaviour of being alone and enjoying things that she likes her way. My basic aim here is to understand the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial developments of Jenny and thereby to understand the generalised notion on a more determined and specific ground. In my approach, I am also trying to interrelate and connect the primary sources that I have studied. These sources were from Erikson and Erikson (1998) and Piaget and Inhelder (1969). In my approach, I am attempting to understandJenny and consider her as a representative of some of thepupils of her age. I hereby would like to add that Jenny is just an example and does not take the responsibility to represent all her peers.

Observations

As I met Jenny, I realised that she has grown up on an average standard and can be considered as a child who can exemplify her peers in a very proper way. She has met all the necessary milestones that I have read about any nine-year-old girl. Her progress as a child seemed very natural. However, I am considering the factthat the growth of every individual child with his/her skills is subject to diversified paces. There are children of Jenny’s age who have physically, mentally or socially attained different milestones, but for Jenny I am trying to concentrate over her developments in particular.

My observation has five basic areas of investigations; these are-physical development, cognitive growth, psychosocial development that has been distributed by understanding emotional and social gains attained by Jenny in her growing process. Specific observations are also made over the development of language, and growth of sensory as well as motor activities.

Physical Development

Jenny is of 4.11 feet in height and approximately weighs 39 kilo grams. She is comparatively taller and heavier than the boys of her age. One can very easily find out the difference in a single glance. She also owns all the permanent teeth, except for one. She says it was a “scary experience” for the first tooth that she lost; but soon things became simple. I was surprised to see the way she puts things about her experiences. As asked her more about her physical growth and it seems that she has not yet attained puberty, her vital statistics were all normal and she still looks like a small girl of middle childhood.

Cognitive Growth

From the painting that Jenny was trying to draw, I realised that she got a pretty understanding about the distinctions among different colours. She can very clearly understand the use of “chrome yellow” and “lemon yellow” and says that in general she likes the shades of “Prussian blue.” Her inclination towards the paintings and the way she preferred to enjoy the colours were real treat to the eyes. I asked her about her favourite subject and instantly she said its literature.

As I inquired about the reason, she just said that she loves creating poems and even won a prize in the Sunday school competition. That is amazing and I got inquisitive to understand her inclination towards mathematics. Initially she was not much comfortable with my inquiry and remained silent for a while. However, after some thought she added thatMathematics is fun when she can solve the fractions; otherwise, rest of the course is interesting to her. I asked about her daily routine and she said all the planned schedules that she follows, including the Sunday routine with all specifications.

She also added that her mother does not like her spending much time with the television and so she usually prefers drawing than watching the TV. Here, I really appreciate her decision-making skills. Moreover, I have noted that choosing for drawing also marks her capability to think independently and make a good selection in accordance to her mental preference. With intimate conversations with Jenny, I could make out that she is a girl who can handle complex projects. I also consulted with her class teacher regarding her skills, and as predicted, Jenny’s intelligence and sensitiveness towards handling things were much noted by her teacher.

Psychosocial Development

Under this subheading, I would like to make a categorical distribution of Jenny’s emotional and social developments. In terms of her emotional development, Jenny is by now a well-matured girl, who values family norms with great respect. She is not at all a rebellious child and understands that being the eldest girl in the family she needs to take care of her brother and sister. Her love and respect for her parents and grandparents can be well realised by the way she talked about them. For her grandfather she says, “You know what, my grand pa always forgets his specs and always search for it. I am the one who always assist him in finding it. I really love his smile when we find the specs.” For her mother she says, “My mother knows what best for us, and I always obeyed her as I know she is the best mother in this whole world.” However, these were simple sentences, but are strong enough to derive the emotional attachment that Jenny is developing within her. She is also capable to handle and control her anger, as she exclaims, “my brother is very naughty, but I know that he will grow decent soon.”

On the social front, it was important me to note the issue of bullying among the peers of Jenny and the way it could affect her. As noted by Findeisen, ther eare nodes in hierarchical system and that maintains the connectivity from superior nodes to those who are subordinate (1980, page 9). It is here that bullying happens. Though Jenny spent most of her time alone painting and enjoying the actions of mixing colours, I can well realise that her social life is also very comfortable and she is hardly affected by bullying. Yet as her friends, who were playing in the playground, often come down to her to drink water from her water bottle and she cannot oppose them, I felt very bad. She just said, “They need it more as they were running all the time.” Her empathy for her peers made me feel so good about her, that I really complimented her for her kind and friendly nature. However, I also told her not give them whole of it. According to Vessey (2012) the act of bullying can get interpreted by many meanings as verbal and non-verbal, or sometimes virtual behaviors, the real/perceived power differential as in case of Jenny; and repeated behaviours over time (Vessey, 2012).

Mixing with the peers is important and here there is the need for matrix management, where similar skills are subject to get pooled together (Galbraith, 1971, p.25). Thus, though Jenny looked very calm and well managed girl to me and appeared young; yet she is matured enough to handle stress of some kind. She is well managed to maintain the linear coordination with her peers. I again asked her about her anger to which she said thatshe really does not as if the anger in her but cannot control it at times and throw things. This was a paradoxical action against her calm nature, but I am glad that she understands that she needs to control her anger. As noted by Gutzwiller-Helfenfinger et al., (2011), children frequently being part of bullying activities are morally disengaged and are responsible for the higher egocentric aspects. In this context, the friends who came to Jenny for water emptied her bottle, but strangely, Jenny was not angry with them. She just said that she will getit filled soon. However, she also added that the boy who emptied the bottle is her favourite and so it is fine if he finished the entire water in the bottle. She said, “You know he is a strong boy and plays a lot and so needs lots of water. I understand.” This statement declares Jenny’s distinction about the other sex and her preferences about the boys who were stronger than others were.

Language Development

Jenny, at the first go declared her interest for poetry and her command over language. After having a conversation for 2 hours with her, I can say that Jenny is well versed in the literature related texts. She said she loves reading stories and gets very excited if someone gifts her with a book rather than a doll. Her interest over the collections of children encyclopaedia made me feel that next time I visit her; I will surely geta nice general knowledge book for her.

Sensory and Motor Development

In terms of sensory and motor development of Jenney, I can just say that she enjoys watching children playing but hardly prefer to be a part of it. She is kind of someone who prefers to get restricted to her own world of colours and paintings. Apart from painting, swimming is something that flashes light over Jenny’s eyes. She expresses her experiences in swimming and adds that she even want to turn into a mermaid while swimming. She loves the tail that Ariel (a Disney Princess) owns and wishes one for her. She also keeps on appreciating Ariel with her red hair and says that when she will grow she will colour her hair like Ariel. These are some dreams that seemed very common to a nine-year-old girl, and Jenny stands as no exception.

Comments

From my observations, Jenny appeared as a fantastic girl of her age who is romantic and practical at the same time. She is planned and is equally independent in her decisions. She appeared as an intelligent girl to me, who is well nurtured with reasoning and intensive logical care. It is important to note here about the declarations of Piaget (1969) in relation with the stages of cognitive development among the children within the age group of 9 to 11years; in his words, there is the “concrete operations” of mind and psychology attained by children during this age span. In case of Jenny, I could very clearly realise this statement, when she talks about her interest towards various subjects taught in the school. Piaget (1969) notes that in this time span developing capability within a child is in relevance to the organizing actions of thinking processes and there is the approach of using deductive reasoning towards successful anticipation of consequences as attained in day to day proceedings or the course that they encounter.Jenny too can be noted in this reference, she also has the ability to sort out different things, as noted in the case of identifying colours in particular. She appears as a well-balanced girl who is smart enough to handle abstract and can furthermanage more complex situations with firmness. As noted by Piaget, Jenny fits aptly in the following table (McLeod, 2010) –

Cognitive Stage of Development Key Feature    Research Study
Concrete Operational Conservation Conservation of Number
7 – 11 yrs.

Table 1: Cognitive development in children

According to Erikson and Erikson (1998), there are ‘unique rewards and challenges’ in every growing stage of life. Further, the understanding of Erikson’s eight stages of developmental theory features advancements of individualby the process of negotiation made in the biological and socio-cultural forces. For Erikson, every stage undergoes psychosocial crisis and this appears obvious during the span of 9-13 years (Crain, 2011). The attainment of developments in Jenny through negotiations can be well noted as she comprises with the naughtiness of her brother or allows her peers to finish the water of her water bottle.

The essence of patience and intelligent to tolerate and to understand the situation is very much there is Jenny. The most interesting part is that Jenny understandsthat soon everything will be normal and there is always a solution for every problem. The applications of her intelligence can be well noted from her language and it is necessary accept that children like Jenny are also getting enough support from the elders in understand the basics of developmental approaches within life.

Eventually, it can be declared that though Jenny cannot represent every child of her age, yet she stands very apt to the kind of developments that are noted by scholars like Piaget and Erikson. She is one of her kind and still can be noted as a generalised girl of 9-year of age and is intelligent enough to fit herself as a teen soon.

References

Crain, William (2011). Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Erikson, Erik H. and Erikson, Joan M. (1998) The Life Cycle Completed. W. W. Norton & Company; Extended Version edition.

Findeisen, W.; Others, (1980). Control and coordination in hierarchical systems. Chichester [Eng.]; New York: J. Wiley.

Galbraith, J.R. (1971). Matrix Organization Designs: How to combine functional and project forms. In: Business Horizons, February 1971, 29-40.

Gutzwiller-Helfenfinger, E., Malti, T., Perren, S. and Hymel, S. (2011) Moral Reasoning and Emotion Attributions of Adolescent Bullies, Victims, and Bullyvictims. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. August 2011. http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/~utmmalti/pdfs/Perren_Gutzwiller_Malti_Hymel_BJDP_in%20press.pdf [retrieved on 20th of November 2012]

McLeod, S. (2010) Concrete Operational Stage. http://www.simplypsychology.org/concrete-operational.html [retrieved on 15th of November 2012]

Piaget, J. and Inhelder, B. (1969). The PsychologyOf The Child. Basic Books; 2ndedition

Vessey, J. (2012). Bullying: Sticks, stones, and names can all hurt you. Retrieved from http://www.wdms.org/html/womed_jul-aug10/womed_jul-aug10.htm#A_Public_Health_Approach_to_School_Bases_Bullying [retrieved on 15th of November 2012]

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