The developmental theory that has impacted me most is Piaget’s 4 stage theory on cognitive development. Of particular interest to me is the concrete operational stage, which includes students from elementary age to pre-adolescence. Also of interest to me is the formal operational stage, which includes early adolescence. I am interested in these two stages because I will have these students in my classroom this year. For those in the concrete operational stage, my classroom practice must include concrete learning activities and making sure I don’t have too many elements of learning. An example of concrete learning is handing out balloons, having students blow them up and rub the hair on their head to make static electricity. We can talk about what the electrons are doing, going from their hair to the balloon. This is concrete because they have the balloon in their hands, and with instruction, can learn what the electrons are doing to make static electricity. For the formal operational stage students, they will not need as much concrete learning activities because they can think more hypothetically and in possibilities. I can ask them what my happen if I take a statically charged balloon and move it toward an uncharged metal object. They can think this way and I can do things a bit differently in my classroom. In conclusion, no matter where our students lie on the developmental stage, creating a safe environment for learning is one of my top priorities. I would like to thank Rebecca Carlson for her post in the in our discussion forum and include a quote from our reading. “If someone does not feel safe with a teacher or boss, he or she may not be able to perform as well. If a student feels misunderstood because the teacher cannot connect with the way the student learns, the student may become isolated…relationships matter when attempting to teach human beings” (Medina, 2008, p. 46). Medina, John (2008). Brain Rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.
What I know about child and adolescent development comes mostly from my own life and parenting my three children. I did take a child development course in college and the book I remember reading is “A Place Called School” by John Goodlad. I distinctly recall his perspective on adolescents and their relationship with school. He talked about the idea that school is not really a place of learning for the students, it is secondary. School is primarily the place for socialization and relationships. Even though I would describe myself as a good student and enjoyed learning in school, I must be honest and say a good amount of my time was taken up with the drama of friendships and boyfriends. Currently my knowledge of child and adolescent development comes from parenting my own children. I have a 16 year old son, a 14 year old daughter and a 12 year old son. They each have their own pre-occupations, attitudes and personality. I have enjoyed watching them grow and change and how living in a different culture from their passport culture has had an affect on education in their lives.
Goodlad’s conclusions as well as my own relationships with my children have influenced my philosophy of instruction. I realize that the students have many other things on their mind. It may be social relationships in school or it may be even a difficult family life. I think it is important to engage my students on these levels of what is important to them or what they are talking about between each other. I acknowledge that there is a place for these things and that they are important. But I also stress that there needs to be balance in life and there is a time and place for all of these things. I have even mentioned this in my class time as we prepare for our lesson for that day.
I hope to learn more about child and adolescent development as I think it will help me in my relationships with students and better inform my instruction.
As you walk into a room of an effective educator, there will be an inviting atmosphere. You may be welcomed into the classroom or asked about what happened at your soccer game the previous evening. Those coming into the room feel safe, secure, and open. Effective educators will use visual materials to entice their learners. When you walk into the room there may be interesting posters on the wall, visual images or a video on a screen or they may have actual samples of what they will be learning about that particular class time. If the topic is magnetism, magnets are at each desk and the educator guides the students to different activities as they discover properties about magnets.
Effective educators not only use visual stimulation but auditory as well. As the educator speaks, students are interested to know what they will say. Through their voice, students can tell that the educator loves what he or she is talking about. An effective educator uses questions to stimulate thinking about the subject area as well as assessing student progress with the material. Effective educators have people skills that help them to listen to their students not only about the class but about life because educators care about the whole student and are available for them.
Lastly, an effective educator is in a process of learning and is not afraid to try new things. Effective educators desire feedback and always can work to improve and change personally and professionally.