Childhood, is it really a thing, how do we know?

One of the more interesting things of this topic is Valerie Walkerdine pointing out that childhood was never seen as separate from adulthood until compulsory schooling.  While I have heard that idea throughout history classes, I never gave it much thought and certainly not in terms of the implications of child development.  The study of child development is one of those things, that you know had to have a start some where, but I ,at least, have never given any deeper thought to the implications of it on children or what the understanding of how children did things was before the inception of Developmental Psychology.

Another aha moment was the mention by Marie Battiste, of a class that is offered at the University of Saskatchewan, similar to our ECS 110 Self and other class.  This stood out to me for two reasons.  One is that I have this idea in my head that because classes aren’t universally transferable between universities, the values of what is important to learn were also very different.  That made me happy to see that at least one other education program thinks that learning about our feelings towards others shapes our interactions.  Secondly, I was recently reminded of how much my thinking and attitudes had changed through my journey in ECS 110.  I remember thinking at the end of the semester, how that class should be mandatory in at least high school and that it should also be mandatory in every faculty at university.  After the issues that reminded me of my learning in ECS 110, I feel even more strongly this information should be mandatory.

The biggest revelation to me in this reading was in putting it all together.  Embracing different ways of knowing is ideal and something we most definitely should strive for.  However, I think that in order for this to be effective, we need a complete over haul of our education system.  Our current way of doing things especially assessment is not conducive to other ways of knowing.

As I read through Walkerdine’s article, and she said that development psychology is a “story”.  I immediately connected with what we are learning in ESCI 302.  We are learning that stories are a different way of knowing.  Now with this new lens or way of knowing, I am beginning to see that knowing about developmental theory is not something as I teacher, I should use a rule above all else, but as a tool to guide me.

After viewing the video of Sâkêj Henderson, I found very interesting that in his language there was no word for purpose.  I started thinking about it and the purpose of schooling and curriculum.  As part of our journey to being a teacher we are required in ECS 210 to examine the curriculum.  One of the things we talk about is the purpose of the curriculum.  Our curriculum is very product or end result oriented.  How do you show you did this rather than embracing the more abstract learning of how did this make you think and feel.  We can’t get away from the most basic purpose and that is we need to be literate in words, numbers and technology but why do a set out purpose for learning everything else.

My question is: How do we move away from one way of knowing and fully embrace different ways of knowing?


Culture and Diversity

Culture and Diversity

This chapter was a bit of mixed learning, it had many ideas and information that again, I have previously learned, and am currently learning in other classes.  There, however. was some new ideas as well.

The first was resistance cultures and peer influences.  I found it very interesting that students in low socio-economic(ses) groups, may not do well because they don’t want to be seen by their peers as conforming to the dominant culture, or “selling out.”    I know that peers have a great influence but to see how it can impact someone’s future in such a big way just boggles my mind.

Tracking or streaming was another idea that I sort of knew about but never really thought to deeply about either in how it works or how it can be discriminatory.  I found it very interesting that low-ses student are put in lower classes, based on judgements rather than actual facts/testing.  I found the point/counterpoint argument very interesting as well.  It was interesting that it seemed that it was only the higher-tracked students who would suffer from eliminating tracking.  I agree with at the end of the argument that we should consider the students interests and goals and support them to achieve those goals rather than placing them where we think they will do well or what is best for them.  I also think that schools that support the low-ses students should be better funded.

Stereotype threat is a completely new concept for me.  I never really thought about the pressure of conforming to a stereotype either good or bad.  Conforming to a so called positive stereotype would be stressful but after reading about resistant cultures, conforming to a negative stereotype could be just as or even more stressful and conflicting.

I often find myself in my classes feeling a little more pressured to be more organized and on top of things, because I am a mature student.  It sometimes seems that others think, I have it more together because I am a mom and a student and older.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to conform to the perceived stereotype.

I wonder if the resistant culture is sometimes perpetuated also by parents either blatantly or inadvertently.




Social Cognitive Theory-Bandura

This week there is some new learning, that I haven’t previously covered in other classes and that excites me.

One of the big things that came out of this chapter was in the lecture when Dr. Crooks asked us to think of something we learned recently and take a deeper look at how we learned that task.  I think by having us look at the steps in our learning it helps us to be more aware of the steps our students take in learning what we are teaching them.  It may also help us to find new tools or methods when our students struggle with material.

The difference between self-regulation and self-efficacy was also enlightening.  Even though they are different, self-efficacy is the belief in oneself and self-regulation is the ability to manage one’s feelings and find the motivation to get through the tough spot.  I do think that both go hand in hand.  I think the higher the self-efficacy one has the better they maybe to self-regulate.  I also believe that one can self-regulate with out a high self-efficacy but it’s a bit more challenging.

I also found the information we were given on Bandura interesting.  I think he is a very good example of self-regulation, in how he got himself through school in such a short time.

One of the big connections I made is that Bandura’s theory seems to combine both Vygotsky’s and Piaget’s theory very well.  Bandura recognizes that social, like Vygotsky, plays an important role in learning especially the modelling of a task or behaviour from someone more experienced. Bandura also recognizes that the motivation and level of development, like Piaget, plays a part in learning as well.  Children must have the cognitive development and motivation to learn a task, for the modelling/social to be effective.

The other connection, came from the lecture in that my methods of self-regulation/organization may not be effective for my students.  I must be prepared to help my students find what works for them, so they can be successful.  There isn’t only one way to self regulate or be organized.

Finally, I ended up with 2 questions instead of one this time around.

My first question is: Is there an optimum window for learning self-regulation?

Secondly: I was curious to know what the definition of success was in the marshmallow test follow up.


Parenting styles, peer culture and a positive spin on bad situations.

This week in ECS 200 we talked about self and social and moral development.  Last semester we covered most of this in detail in ECE 200 for the younger kids.  I find it difficult to find something new I have learned, so instead I am switching my thinking to what expanded my knowledge of what I have already learned.

The first idea that expanded was the authoritarian parenting style, is not always a negative style of parenting nor does it always produce negative outcomes for the children who are parented this way.  The text (p.73) suggests that cultural and socio-economic factors may lead to this having positive outcomes.  The text gives example of students of Asian descent or students in dangerous neighbourhoods having positive outcomes with this parenting style.

Through our discussion in lecture, I found it interesting that most everything can be treated with positivity.  I find this a little difficult, which may be because I have a narrow definition of positivity.  I find it hard to believe that you can put a positive spin on calling the parents of a repeat fighting offender, for example.  I do believe you can and should be pleasant and understanding when making that phone call.  I see those as different than being positive.  I see being positive as putting a good spin on the situation and I can’t see how you can do that with a repeat offender, with a serious offense.

My knowledge of peer culture expanded.  I know that peers exert a great amount of influence over each other.  I did not fully realize the extent of it. I found it so eye opening reading the Mean Girls scenario and the incident described on p. 76 of the text.  I knew kids could be mean, but I just didn’t think they would be that strict and rigid in their self-made codes/rules.

The two connections I made from this chapter have to do with parenting styles.

The first is that my parenting style does affect my teaching style a great deal.  I have noticed in my volunteering in the classroom, that I am firmly entrenched in the authoritative style, with the students and have seemingly endless patience with them. While with my own children I sometimes cross into the authoritarian parenting style and lack that endless patience.

Secondly, is that I really need to be aware that the authoritative style may not be received or responded to well by all my students.  I must be aware that it is not disrespect on their part, but it may be cultural or socio-economic and I may have to adjust accordingly.  I may have to be more firm and direct, but I can still be warm and caring.

My burning question from this chapter comes from the lecture discussion.

How do you put a positive spin on bad situations?  i.e. Repeated fighting.

Blog post #1- Theories of Piaget and Vygotsky

After studying Piaget and Vygotsky’s theories for most of last semester it was a bit tricky to come up with three things I learned.  It was through the lecture that some new learning happened.  The first thing was that our current Education system is based on Piaget’s theories of stages of learning. The grade levels in our system correspond, not exactly of course, to Piaget’s theory of what they are capable of at certain ages. For example, we don’t teach Algebra to most 6-year olds who are in grade one because they aren’t yet capable of the level of abstract thinking required to perform algebraic tasks. This brings me to my second learning from the chapter, we must be very careful as educators and parents not to be to rigid in our application for the stages and ages.  Children in any of Piaget’s stages maybe exactly where the stage expects or they maybe below or higher in their abilities.  The only new learning I had from this chapter was about neural pathways being pruned away at certain stages of development.

The first connection I made was to the neural pathway pruning.  I connected this to English as an Acquired Language learners(EAL).  It seems to connect, why young children seem to have an easier time of learning additional languages and for some adults and teens it is more difficult.  The language acquisition neural pathways in young children are still strong from learning their first language and have not been “pruned” away in the case of some adults.  The second connection I made was that Piaget and Vygotsky’s theories are often used together, such as in our classrooms.  Many classroom teachers incorporate Vygotsky’s social theories into their teaching and student learning through classroom arrangement and allowing children to collaborate on their work and projects together.

My question from this chapter is why is there not more updated research on both Piaget and Vygotsky’s theories or if there is why is the more current research being taught.