Finally, we’re done the first section of psychological assessments weeks!
Last week on Friday, we had an observation and interview session with children aged 6-10 years old. I brought my niece and nephew to my class. The room for interview was small and designed to be a practice room for students. I was with my niece; meanwhile my nephew went to the next interview room with 2 of my colleagues. It turned out that interviewing children was not easy!
Children may get scared and anxious when they had to stay with an adult (sometimes stranger for them) in a room and answered the given questions. My niece was doing better than her older sister. She was quite freak out at first, because I was with one colleague of mine together in that room. While her brother was moving his legs all the way through interview sessions.
Skills needed in interviewing children are different with skills needed for interview with adults. Children may need indirect questions, such as circular questions to get them answer the questions. For example, when a child says that Mrs. X is not nice because she used to punish the students who haven’t finished their schoolwork, we can probe that answer. Of course we are not going to ask something like, ‘Have you been punished by her?’, but we can ask this way, ‘Can you name the students who have been punished by Mrs. X?’ By asking this way, children will not feel ashamed to answer, because they get the feeling that we are not aiming the ‘gunshot’ at them.
Observation with children also needs a lot of hard work. Sometimes, we need to be with them in the observation room to stimulate the behaviors that we want to observe. For example, if we want to see a child’s motor skills, we can be the child in the same room and ask them to play with us. We can ask that child to jump up high and catch the ball that we throw (gross motor skills), or to play puzzle together with us (fine motor skills).
Anyway, I still need to learn a lot on how to collect the data needed from children. They are precious and they need precious ways too, in order to get the answers needed from them.
Way to go, psychologists!