OBJECTIVE WRITING

What is objective writing?

When educators record their observations in an objective way, it means that they are making an effort to write down only what they have observed directly. The educator takes on the role of a recording “machine,” relying on their eyes (or “camera”) and ears (or “microphone”) to gather information.

 

How do I stay objective when I record my observations?

To maintain objectivity, it is important to record only what you have seen and/or heard. As you cannot directly observe internal processes (like thoughts, feelings, ideas or decisions), information about such processes should not be included in your observations. As well, avoid including any assumptions, interpretations, opinions or “educated guesses”; this all falls under the category of subjective writing and should be left until you analyze your observations.

 

Why is objectivity important?

It is important for educators to be as objective as possible when recording their observations in order to avoid bias. A bias could be defined as a pre-determined way of perceiving, and can be positive or negative. Usually, bias arises out of past experiences; if you get bitten by a dog, in future, you may perceive all dogs as dangerous and scary even when they don’t bite you. Such pre-determined perceptions could influence how an educator records an observation as well as what an educator includes in an observation.

 

For example, if an educator feels that a particular child is “spoiled,” then this negative bias will affect what the educator records in observations about that child. The educator may be more likely to only record information about the child’s misbehaviour.

 

By the same token, if an educator considers a particular child to be “really smart,” then this positive bias will also affect the educator’s observations. The educator may assume that the child is thinking in a certain way and include that assumption in an observation.

 

Example of objective writing

Here are two anecdotal records that record the same event (see clip).

 

The anecdote on the left is written in a subjective way, and clearly shows the educator’s bias.

 

The anecdote on the right is written in an objective way.

 

Matteo was riding around on his toy, and wanted to go into the main classroom. Matteo rudely shouted “Pass” at Karen and Rory. They quickly moved out of his way and he rode past them without saying thank you.

Sitting astride a ride-on toy, Matteo rode up to a small group of people. “Pass,” he demanded. Looking up, Karen suggested to Rory that they both move over. Once they had moved, Matteo rode past them into the main classroom.

 

 

Click here for exercises to help write objective observations.

 

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