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.

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