Application of Theory to Practice Middle Childhood Term Paper

Pages: 7 (1893 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 9  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … Practice (middle Childhood)

The objective of this work is to analyze the importance of understanding the stages of human development in the classroom. Specifically this work will analyze some of the problems that might result from a teacher's lack of such understanding. The focus of this work is on Middle Childhood and will include a discussion of teacher behaviors that serve to promote students' thinking abilities, behaviors that would help students achieve greater success, and behaviors that would promote the social and emotional well-being of the individual student as well as improve the classroom environment for children in that stage. Finally this work will include classroom practices and materials that serve to promote diversity and equity within the educational experience.

INTRODUCTION

Standards for teachers in middle childhood education are inclusive of the standards as set out in the standards that include the area of 'development'. The Development Standards contains three categories of performances which include the ability to crate and modify learning opportunities and environments that are respectful of individual and group development and that have as their basis "research and reflective practice." (Teachers of Middle Childhood, 2005)

DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE CLASSROOM PRACTICE

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The use of multiple assessments in supporting the development of each student and the establishment of learning goals that motivate achievement in students are included as well. Finally the teacher in the middle childhood class should model "self-control and positive social interaction" as well as being "proactive in promoting the same in the learning environment." (Teachers of Middle Childhood, 2005) Under the Development Standard category of 'Knowledge' it is stated that the middle childhood teacher "recognizes that language and social development and the formation of basic values and self-esteem during middle childhood lay the foundation for successful adolescence and adulthood." (Ibid)

Term Paper on Application of Theory to Practice Middle Childhood Assignment

The teacher of this age group understands that these students are beginning to mature in concrete, symbolic and abstract thinking abilities and are "eager to learn" gaining the ability to "make inferences, to explore topics deeply, and to establish informed points-of-view." (Ibid) This age group while "willing to conform to adult expectations" are under pressure from their peer groups and have begun to desire being accepted and approved of by members of their peer group. The teacher in middle childhood understands that while children have common characteristics these students are also unique and should be provided learning opportunities that are unique to their individual selves. Finally, the teacher in middle childhood should use assessments that are developmentally appropriate in order to acquire data of both the nature of quantitative and qualitative data for assisting the development of these students. (Teachers in Middle Childhood, 2005; paraphrased)

In the category of "Disposition" in the Development Standard it is stated that the middle childhood teacher is one who must appreciate thinking that is independent in this age group of students and as well must appreciate the dynamics within the group of this age students as these dynamics affect the individual students. The teacher of middle childhood must be firmly committed in supporting the students developmentally as they continuously progress in the areas of their intellectual, physical emotional, social, aesthetic, and ethical growth and development. This teacher should use and value the use of multiple assessment methods in supporting these students in their development.

If the teachers in Middle Childhood doesn't understand the stages of human development and allow for that in the classroom practice problems may result such as classroom conflict, rebellion on the part of students, and other discipline-related problems. Furthermore, the teacher's failure to understand the stages of human development may result in some students being branded as slow-learners. The Middle Childhood teacher must understand the stages of human development in order to positively motivate these students in their learning and in their participation in classroom activities. At this stage of development the students are very conscious of what their peers think of them and it begins to be important to be accepted among their peers at this stage of development. It is important at this stage of development that the teacher motivates students to participate in classroom activities and discussions and that the students are rewarded for participation. The teacher must work towards the students feeling good about participation even when they give a wrong answer, therefore motivation and reward must be focused toward participation and not just giving the right answer. The teacher should be able to assess the social dynamics among the group of students and in doing so call upon those she has noted are 'leaders' in the group to assist her in motivating other student's participation. In motivating the natural leaders of the classroom group in participation of learning it will become socially acceptable for others in the group to actively participate in classroom activities.

It is clear that developmentally appropriateness is required by the Middle Childhood teacher. The theories of Dewey, Vygotsky, and Piaget have as their basis that developmentally appropriate practices reflect an "interactive constructivist view of learning" which has as its key approach the principle that "the child constructs his or her own knowledge through interactions with the social and physical environment. Because the child is viewed as intrinsically motivated and self-directed, effective teaching capitalizes on the child's motivation to explore, experiment and make sense of his or her experience." (Novick, 1996) According to Novick in the work entitled: "Developmentally Appropriate and Culturally Responsive Education: Theory in Practice" it is stated that: "In this interactive approach to learning, the role of the teacher has been variously described as one who guides, observes, facilitates, poses problems, extends activities, and in Vygotsky's (1978) words, "creates a natural moment" in the child's environment. Rather than a dispenser of knowledge, the teacher acts as a "dispenser of occasions" (Phillips, 1993; cited by Novick, 1996).

According to Novick in the 'developmentally appropriate practice' a major theme is: "...to make learning meaningful for the individual child, using practices which reflect both the age and individual needs of the child. A strong emphasis is placed on learning to think critically, work cooperatively, and solve problems." (1996)

In the work of Robert Harris entitled: "Some Ideas for Motivating Students" it is stated that the use of positive emotions to enhancing learning and motivation is important. According to Harris: "Strong and lasting memory is connected with the emotional state and experience of the learner. That is, people remember better when the learning is accompanied by strong emotions. If you can make something fun, exciting, happy, loving, or perhaps even a bit frightening, students will learn more readily and the learning will last much longer. Emotions can be created by classroom attitudes, by doing something unexpected or outrageous, by praise, and by many other means." (1991) The use of positive emotions locks in the learning experience.

CLASSROOM PRACTICES: DIVERSITY AND EQUITY IN EDUCATION

It is stated in the work of Novick stated is that in the provision of education that is inclusive of diversity in the classroom the teacher must recognize that "children have and develop multiple ways of 'seeing' and 'knowing'." Furthermore, "the appreciation of multiple and diverse ways seeing and making sense of the world is encouraged through the recognition and celebration of multicultural diversity." (1996) Novick states additionally that: "Bowman (1992) describes culture as a prism created from shared meaning; members of a cultural group see the world from a different perspective, making sense of their experience in different ways. The absence of continuity and congruence between the child's home culture and the school -- an absence of shared meaning -- may interfere with children's competent functioning in the new setting. Emphasizing the role of the teacher as co-constructor of knowledge, Bowman and Stott (1994) suggest that teachers must bridge the gap between the culture of the home and school by using interactive styles and content that are familiar to children, thus establishing new and shared meaning: "When teachers plan experiences that connect them to their children through understanding and respect, they can 'make meaning' together" (p. 131)."

Brain development research has revealed the complex nature of the human brain. "Because thoughts, emotions, imagination, and predispositions operate concurrently and are interrelated (Caine & Caine, 1990), in a developmentally appropriate classroom, schools attend simultaneously to children's intellectual, social, and ethical development (Lewis, Schapps & Watson, 1995)." (Novick, 1996) Developmentally appropriate classroom practice includes the "whole child" addressing the four components of learning as identified by Katz (1998) which are those of: (1) Knowledge; (2) Skills; (3) Dispositions; and (4) Feelings. (Novick, 1996; paraphrased)

In terms of developing cultural diversity: "Themes that connect children to the 'real world' can have a lasting effect on children's understanding of diversity and prejudice. (Novick, 1996) The avoidance of stereotypes in the classroom it very important. (Bowers and Flinders, 1990) Novick states that the Anti-Bias Curriculum of Derman-Sparks states the following suggestions for inclusive classroom environments: (1) Make sure that spatial organization, materials, and activities enable all children to participate actively; (2) Actively introduce ways for disabled and non-disabled children to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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