chapter  6
Checking It Out
Pages 13

I have an early research recollection of a 1970s Open University video which compared two researchers’ approaches to classroom observation. A non too exact descriptor of one would be the ethnographer whilst the other might be loosely termed the scheduler. If I remember the two protagonists accurately. John Elliott symbolized the former and Maurice Galton the latter. Visual images (now flickering like a silent movie because I can only invent what was said) presented Elliott sitting up close to groups of pupils, making field notes and asking them questions about what they thought they were doing and Galton sitting back and ticking off behaviours at a distance on an extensive chart. Whilst the content of Elliott’s work was, no doubt, phenomenological, the speed of Galton’s ticking was truly phenomenal. I remember showing the video to teachers and their expressions of alarm. Whilst Elliott’s work seemed too cryptic and relied upon his own internal codification, Galton’s seemed too complex and relied upon external codification.