Behavioral Research Blog
How to observe adolescents in a classroom
Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Jan 23, 2013, 12:36 PM
TeenagerIn puberty, both boys and girls have to make choices about what to do, what to wear, how to act, who to date, etcetera, etcetera. The really important stuff, you know. In those years (12-18) things are changing, nobody can deny that. A big thing in adolescence is school. In many countries around the world, adolescents go to school at least until they are 16 years of age. Therefore, many researchers focus on classroom interaction. A lot goes on in and around the school and many decisions are made in groups. Group pressure is something that is all around us, but during puberty teenagers find it difficult to ignore the influence of their peers when making decisions. To study these group interactions in schools, researchers place cameras in classrooms to record interactions on video. They code behaviors on handheld devices, interview teachers, and conduct student surveys. Observing a general school population allows psychologists to gain insight into specific group dynamics and the effectiveness of age-based intervention programs.
Behavioral Role Play is one method researchers use to look into thought processes and behaviors. This method is often used to teach certain skills, such as negotiation and delay, and to evaluate responses. Researchers also use it to evaluate intervention programs. Recently, Wolfe et al. 2012 evaluated a classroom-based healthy relationship program that discussed skills for navigating challenging peer and dating scenarios. Wolfe et al. used Behavioral Role Play to evaluate the effectiveness of the skills taught in the intervention program. To capture all responses, they recorded the interactions on video and coded the videos in detail afterwards. In order to assemble...