Print resource

How to Analyze a Child's Counting

Print resource

This activity for teacher educators will help practicing and prospective teachers look carefully at the processes of interviewing and interpretation. Each of the following videos includes a voice-over commentary of a teacher conducting a clinical interview with a four-year-old girl, Angela. 

by Herbert P. Ginsburg

Activity for Teacher Educators

Part 1, Counting Bears to 30, shows how Angela determines the number of a group of toy bears. The video clip focuses on the issue of cardinal value or how many?  In Part 2, Happy Number Tasks, Angela is in high spirits as she deals with conservation of number (determining whether the number of objects stays the same when they disappear from view) and simple addition and subtraction problems. In Part 3, Encouraging Language, the interviewer seizes an opportunity to explore and foster the child’s mathematical language. The whole interview lasted about 18 minutes. 

The teacher made the original video herself with a smartphone, shooting from only one angle without a separate microphone. Her method is simple but worked extremely well. The angle was good and so was the sound. (The sound might not have worked as well in a noisy classroom. When you video interviews, select a quiet spot if you can, and stay as close to the child as you can.)

As you watch the video consider the following questions about the commentator and the interviewer.

Questions about the commentator
1. Do you disagree with any of the interpretations? Why? What’s your evidence?
2. Did you notice something important that the commentator failed to see?  How do you interpret it?
3. The commentator highlighted the importance of playing and replaying a video segment several times in order to arrive at sound interpretations. Are there points in the video where replaying could have clarified the commentator's interpretation of the child’s behavior?

Questions about the teacher/interviewer
4. What additional questions could the teacher have asked in order to clarify the child’s thinking?
5. Did the teacher not ask a question she should have asked? When? Why?
6. Were her questions clear? What else could she have said? 

As you view and analyze the video, don’t forget that it was the first such interview that the teacher conducted. She did a remarkable job, and I hope you will learn how to do informative interviews as well. 

Videos with Commentary

Full Interview (No Commentary)

Resource Type
Top ↑