Beyond Developmentalism

The first thing I learned while reading Valerie’s article is that the idea of stages have been around for a very long time but do not necessarily include all children. Secondly, I learned that developmentalism is being expanded to include the whole lifespan instead of just infancy and adolescence. Lastly, I learned people have been challenging the idea of studying the developing child.

Two connections I’ve made are: I have noticed stages of development in children I’ve been around and from what I’ve seen in a classroom but I have also seen students that aren’t following their “typical stage development” and I wonder what happens to those children. I’ve also connected this to development in adulthood and beyond.

One question I have is: what happens to the children that don’t follow the curve of development? Does that mean they are left behind or that there is something “wrong” with them?


Curriculum as Public Policy

Before the Reading:
How do I think that school curricula are developed? I think school curricula is developed by a variety of different people including teachers (although there they have little say it seems), students (again, extremely little say), university faculty advisers (I know this since one of my professors are on the board to re-do the arts ed curriculum) and the government have a huge say in what is taught in schools although they don’t see the needs and wants of the student body. I think it’s developed by writing and re-writing until the content is agreed upon, which would take a long time as we can see through some curricula that hasn’t been updated in decades.

After the Reading:
I learned that curriculum is quite the ordeal to take it from conversations to teaching. IT goes though a lot of people (sometimes, though, not the right people) before it is finalized and can be taught in the classroom. Another, somewhat hocking, thing I learned is who has say in the curriculum. Stakeholders in education often have more say than they should which is not only frustrating but not necessary because they don’t know what students and teachers in the classroom need. The politics involved in creating curriculum is somewhat astounding and seems to make the process more difficult. Curriculum is such a huge topic of interest for a lot of people and sometimes it seems like that could be the problem.


Social Cognitive Views of Learning and Motivation

There were quite a few things I learned from this chapter. The first thing being that social influence, self-influence and achievement outcomes are always influencing and are influenced by each other. Next I learned observational learning includes four elements: attention, retention, production and motivation and reinforcement. Finally, I learned about self regulated learning and how there are four main stages: analyzing the learning task, setting goals and devising plans, enacting strategies and regulating learning.

Some connections I’ve made are to the self regulated learning. I have taken many online classes throughout university and high school and without even knowing it, I have been doing it. Next, I made a connection in terms of learning about what drives motivation from other classes.


Education is Life Itself

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself”
-John Dewey

Let’s start unpacking this by first talking about what education means to me. Education to me means providing a lifelong goal for the learner and allowing the learner and the educator to work together to achieve a goal. What that goal is can and will be different for every single person.

So now, let’s talk about the quote itself and why I like it. This quote makes advancing in education possible because if education is life itself then everyone will work to make strides in their own life and educational journey. In terms of teachers, this quote means that teachers will continue to learn themselves so they can teach their students better. This quote for students mean that they can always have a goal to work towards and they will never stop learning themselves. I am a strong believer that you can never be too educated and that having goals keeps you humble.

I believe this quote doesn’t necessarily fit with our current curriculum because once you have met the outcomes and indicators then essentially the learning is done. It would be interesting to see how things would change if there were continuous outcomes and indicators to strive to meet. Overall, I love this quote and I think it opens conversations about what education is supposed to be and what it actually us.


Self, Social and Moral Development

The first of three things I have learned that I want to mention is that early maturation in females contribute highly to depression, anxiety and eating disorders in addition to lower achievement in school, drug and alcohol abuse, unplanned pregnancy, suicide and a greater risk of breast cancer whereas early maturation in males is associated with popularity. Another thing I learned that stuck out to me was when I was reading about eating disorders and the fact that less than 1/3 of sufferers receive professional help. Whether that be because they are not believed or because there is a stigma or simply because they refuse the help, it’s a disturbing statistic. The last thing I learned that I want to mention is on page 72 when it talks about parenting styles. I wasn’t aware of the 4 parenting styles but after reading them it seems to hold true to everyone I compared a style to.

The first of 2 connections I’ve made relates to my own life growing up. I matured quite early in elementary school and because of that I noticed a lot of the “issues” it’s mentioned in the text. Luckily I had two older sisters to turn to but but when students don’t have that, I see how these issues can arise. The other connection I made was to my parents and my friends’ parents and realizing their parenting style. For example, my parents are authoritative while my best friend that I had growing up has a mixture, her mother is an authoritarian parent while her father is a permissive parent.

My question I still have is, is there a “one size fits all” for helping students when reaching maturation? In other words, how can we aim to help every student cope and become comfortable with their “new self” while respecting their privacy and ensuring every student is accounted for?


The Tyler Rationale

There are four main questions Tyler asks educators and those are:
1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
3. How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?

I’ve seen the Tyler rationale used in my own schooling for years. As educators and even as students, we know (generally) what the purpose of schooling is, what they seek to attain. Whether that be in math class or science or any other core classes the school seeks to attain the same goal- educate it’s students. The second question is quite straight forward as well, what educational experiences can provide students with the knowledge necessary to attain these purposes mentioned in question one. Question three can potentially be a little more difficult to judge. For the most part, the organizations of lessons and unit plans can be quite straight forward but education is not linear. There may be times that lessons have to be re-taught or taught in a different order and that doesn’t necessarily qualify it as “effectively organized”.  The last question is perhaps the hardest to answer. The clear answer to this is if students are getting good marks on tests then it’s effective but we know that testing is not always an effective way to judge that students are grasping concepts and this, I think, is the major limitation of the Tyler Rationale. However, benefits of the rationale are that it allows the teachers to do a lot of planning and thinking about lessons and if they are going to work.

Overall, like many other techniques, the Tyler Rationale definitely has some negatives and positives but it is definitely something worth trying and exploring.


Cognitive Development

While reading Chapter two of “Educational Psychology” the first thing that stuck out to me was actually part of a fact/myth category. The myth was that we only use 10% of our brain and while I knew that was true, the fact part was what surprised me. It said that we use all of our brain for most things and that people are not “right brained” or “left brained”. I wondered where this myth came about and why that was thought. Another thing I learned was that stages may always be useful. Most children cannot be categorized because of the many different influences they have in their life and therefore staging children all on the same level could be considered unhelpful. The last thing I want to mentioned that I have learned is cultural tools can play a huge role in development. We often think of tools as a means of communicating what we mean and don’t think about the fact that those children are internalizing that lesson and developing using those tools.

A connection I’ve made is when the chapter talked about drawing from information students have already learned while teaching a new concept, this almost always happens in my learning even from a grade school level I was always asked to relate this back to a situation I have encountered prior to the lesson. Another connection that was made was everything we are learning inside (and even outside of school like work, home situations, etc.) are developing our skills to teach the next generations.

A question I have is, among all the conflicting resources regarding human developments and staging childen VS not being able to stage them, how do we know where we stand and if we have a stand point, how do we know this will help our students and not hurt them?