EDU 6132 – Learners In Context

Reflection 1

Immediately following my undergraduate education, I began working at Seattle Children’s Hospital in the field of pediatric mental health. As a behavioral specialist and educator, it was important for me to have a strong understanding of child development, particularly as it pertains to emotion regulation. While it may not seem immediately obvious that child development would be associated with emotion regulation, in fact it is! When children are young they are still learning about how their brains and bodies work as well as the way that peers respond or react to situations. By understanding child development, children can be coached to use appropriate coping skills to regulate their emotions as well as respond to others.

Due to the fast array of experiences I was a part of at the hospital, I have come to realize that while there are guiding principles to child development, everyone is entirely different in their development process. Some children take longer to learn and apply what they have learned, and may even be hindered by biological, social and psychological barriers. On the other hand, a child’s environment, genetics and psychological development may in fact enhance their learning abilities (Pressley and McCormick, 2007). Therefore, teachers as well as parents would be wise to approach a child with age appropriate activities, while understanding that adjustments will very likely need to be made in order to best provide for each individual child.

Pressley, M., & McCormick, C. B. (2007). Child and Adolescent Development for Educators. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Reflection 2

Learning and cognition for humans develops over time, beginning the day of birth. Humans begin with curiosity and progress into deeper understandings of the world around them. Babies begin their life searching, exploring, discovering and mimicking (Medina, 2014). Although the idea of nature vs nurture has been a long standing theory used to explain the development of children, it has been debunked and replaced with a more psychosocial, environmental perspective that allows for children to be impacted in a variety of ways, both positively and negatively (Pressley and McCormick, 2007).

These psychological theories of development, including those of Piaget, have a variety of implications for teachers and their instructional strategies (Pressley and McCormick, 2007). Teachers cannot make assumptions about their student’s cognitive abilities, for example. Not all students will be sufficiently supported with the same instruction. Therefore, scaffolding must be incorporated into instruction in order to support an equitable classroom environment. Chunking information is also helpful. Pressley and McCormick (2007) suggest a thorough analysis of complex tasks in order to catch such tasks and break them into more manageable chunks. By chunking, students are able to better navigate units and learn content more deeply.

Although this is not an exhaustive list of the numerous ways in which children develop as learners, it is an excellent place to begin to reflect on how learning capabilities grow as the brain develops.

Medina, J. (2014). Brain rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.

Pressley, M., & McCormick, C. B. (2007). Child and Adolescent Development for Educators. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Educational Standard 2- Instruction (Course Reflection)

Throughout my studies in EDU 6150- General Inquiry I have developed as a teacher in my instructional ability. Prior to this class, there were a variety of elements of instruction with which I was unfamiliar. I did not have a clear picture of how teaching strategies could best be implemented to serve students. While I am still learning how to expertly tailor instruction, I now have a variety of instructional tools with which to support my students.

One of the most helpful instructional practices reviewed this quarter is based on the idea that students learn best when new content builds on previous knowledge (Donovan, Bransford & Pellegrino, 1999). This form of instruction allows for deeper understanding as well solidification of information in a student’s mind (Donovan, Bransford & Pellegrino, 1999). Another research-based instructional practice essential to effective instruction is the use of chunking. By chunking information, or breaking content into smaller more manageable parts, larger, denser pieces of information are learned more effectively (Marzano, 2007). Additionally, chunking supports learning for students at every academic level (Koetje, 2015). Finally, and perhaps the most integral part to effective instruction, we discussed the concept of an “Essential Question”. By beginning with an essential question in mind, the learning unit as well as each individual lesson plan can be enhanced to create a lasting impact on students. Using essential questions as an instructional strategy allows student to see the real life application of what they are learning (Wiggens & McTighe, 2005).

There are a variety of ways I hope to implement what I have learned from this class in my own lesson planning. First of all, I will develop lessons based on an essential question I create based on state and national standards. While it may be easier to select a lesson and configure it in such a way that it aligns with a standard, students will miss out on deeper learning. Additionally, I will plan my units and lessons in such a way that information can be chunked. Pre-planning will allow me the opportunity to insure I have adequate time to teach information thoroughly and with enough time for students to understand difficult concepts. Finally, I will ensure I connect new information to the knowledge base my students already have, drawing on their interests as well as what has been taught in my classroom throughout the year (see Figure 2).

gen inquiry bportfolio media

(Figure 2)

References

Donovan, M. S., Bransford, J. D., & Pellegrino, J. W. (Eds.). (1999). How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice. Washington DC: National Academy Press. doi:http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9457.html

Koetje, K. (2015). Presenting New Information [Podcast]. Seattle: Seattle Pacific University.

Marzano, R. J. (2007). The Art and Science of Teaching: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Instruction. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wiggens, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD. doi:https://bbweb03.spu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-1134491-dt-content-rid-2474285_1/courses/EDU6150_46328_201563/EDU6150_46328201453_ImportedContent_20150121014720/Understanding by Design Chapter 1.pdf