EDTC 6431: Language Dancing

The chapters by Christensen and Johnson (2011) were very interesting. Since I have had classes that have discussed in some detail about student motivation, I was more intrigued by Chapter 6: The Impact of the Earliest Years on Students’ Success. The one fact that jumped out was Christensen and Johnson (2011) stating “the children whose parents did not begin speaking seriously to their children until their children could speak […] suffered a persistent deficit in intellectual capacity, compared to those whose parents were talkative from the beginning” (p. 2592). I have always known that early development for children was extremely important, but never thought about the importance of the child’s intellectual development between 0-12 months and how communication can affect it. Christensen and Johnson (2011) talk about “language dancing” which is essentially talking, thinking aloud, and commenting on what the child or parent is doing or planning. This has shown to cultivate curiosity in children (Christensen & Johnson, 2011, p. 2614).

How can a teacher who may work with children as young as 3 (for pre-k) help facilitate growth and development that occurs at home? The solution Christensen and Johnson (2011) give is to teach children how to be parents before they become parents (p. 2683). They state that high school can be a place where classes could teach students early cognitive development for future parents (p. 2683). I personally feel that this could be beneficial and could be a lesson added on to the sexual education unit. Even though I think that this could be beneficial I am not convinced that students would care or get enough out of the lesson or unit to have a significant impact. My fear would be it would just be another thing that “goes in one ear and out the other” as students would not pay attention because they don’t have kids and won’t have kids for some time so why does it truly matter to them. It may be difficult for high school students to see and understand the big picture of the importance of “language dancing”.

This chapter also reminded me of the importance of demonstrating the proper use of words and language in the classroom. Not communicating at the cognitive level of your class, but communicating using dialect rich in vocabulary. For elementary, this could be to use the new vocabulary words throughout the week so that students become familiar with the sound, articulation, and the usage of the new words. The importance of using high levels of communication rich in vocabulary is similar towards the importance of “language dancing” for infants. Children may not totally understand the vocabulary or sentences but the exposure is important and will require students to explore definitions and sentence contexts.

E-Text Screen Shot

The research article shared about E-Texts was really interesting to me. On one hand I do understand and believe the E-Texts are extremely easy to use and can be much more portable then the standard textbook. They offer quick and easy ways to highlight, bookmark, make notes, and organize information. Students won’t have to worry about losing a textbook or damaging from writing inside when using E-Texts. On the other hand I think having technology such as smart phones, tablets, and laptops allows for more opportunities for students to be multitasking or doing other work. How many times have you been in a computer class and had another window open for something unrelated to what you were working on? I believe this problem would be significant for students and the reason why they like using E-Texts. They can easily go from their E-Text to checking their facebook with the teacher even knowing.

Christensen, C., Johnson, C.W., & Horn, M.B. (2011). Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (kindle). McGraw-Hill.


EDU 6132: Biological Development and Interference

What is a teratogen? According to Pressley and McCormick (2007) teratogens are “environmental agents that can interfere greatly with normal development by affecting the beginning of the nervous system” (p. 48). Why is this information important, especially as it pertains to the development of a child physically and academically? Research has shown the importance of neurological development in the first 2-3 months of life, which is a time of neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is when new nerve cells are forming and teratogens are agents which can cause adverse effects of normal development (Pressley, & McCormick, 2007). The most common teratogens being drugs and medications, some examples are: alcohol, cocaine, tobacco, cannabis, prescriptive drugs, and non-prescriptive drugs. This reflection will only focus on the adverse effects of tobacco on normal development.

Interesting to note that the effect of smoking tobacco during pregnancy was first realized in 1935 but the effects on prenatal development was not recognized until the 1950’s (Payne, & Isaacs, 2005).  The effects had become so widely known that in 1964 the General’s Report led to warning labels on cigarette packets (Payne, & Isaacs, 2005). Maternal smoking during pregnancy can result in low birth weight and expressive language difficulties (Pressley, & McCormick, 2007). Additionally smoking tobacco can cause an increase rate of mortality at or around the time of birth, increased miscarriages, decreased mental functioning, and increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (Payne, & Isaacs, 2005). There are also some postnatal effects for households where smoking is prevalent. This caused more episodes of respiratory disease such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia (Payne, & Isaacs, 2005). The effects do not just end with physical complications, where maternal smoking has shown to cause behavioral effects. Research has shown behavioral changes of reduced mental alertness, reduced visual alertness, and mothers are less likely to breast-feed (Payne, & Isaacs, 2005). All aspects interfere with learning as they grow because of smoking’s disruptions on biological development.

Implications which can be taken away from this as it pertains to classroom strategies and supporting the students learning with such a disability can be difficult. Typically, when a student has some sort of learning disability they will be on some sort of individualized educational plan (IEP). If there is a student with such issues in my classroom, it would be vital to be aware of his/her IEP and to be in contact and communication with the student’s case manager. Simple communications and collaboration with parents and the student’s case manager will help me to become better equipped with methods or strategies to use in providing an ideal learning environment. Additionally, I would be able to further realize areas where the student may be struggling or excelling – to accommodate struggles and to utilize strength. Since maternal smoking causes decreased mental functioning – an example would be a student who may be developmentally delayed in his/her reading comprehension. Research shows that learning predictions, questionings, clarifications, and summarization strategies results in improved comprehension (Pressley, & McCormick, 2007). Overall, I feel the most important aspect in order for any teacher to support a student with a learning ability is to be educated themselves. Understanding the cause and effects the disability has upon learning and to utilize all the resources one has around. A simple solution may be a student just needs more time to finish his homework, tests, and/or projects. Accommodating so the student simply has the opportunity to complete his/her work without time restrictions can go a long ways. Simple changes in how the information is given or portrayed will help students with disabilities to learn and comprehend information.

Again there is no easy solution for supporting students with learning disabilities. Disabilities come in a variety of shapes and sizes effecting different areas of learning development. The most important thing to remember is to keep the students best interest in mind through provide optimal support for his/her learning. Never being afraid to seek the help and support from others.

Payne, V.G., & Isaacs, L.D. (2005). Human motor development: a lifespan approach. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies.

Pressley, N., & McCormick, C.B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York, NY: Guildford Press.

EDU: 6132 Child/Adolescent Development

My undergraduate study was in exercise science, so I had taken several classes on the human motor development. One class in particular was called motor control and learning which focused on childhood motor development. Similar to the Pressley and McCormick’s (2007) textbook, the one which I had used in college covers like materials but in much greater detail. A thing that I specifically remember from that class was the importance of reflex development from birth to the first few months of age (Payne, & Isaacs, 2005).  For example, a few primitive reflexes seen in early childhood are sucking reflex, moro reflex, and the search reflex (Payne, & Isaacs, 2005). Each is very instrumental in their development process. These are just a few examples of the types of reflexes infants develop and use. Since my major focused on exercise, the majority of this course was on the landmarks in motor development.  Pressley and McCormick (2007) illustrate the types of motor skills children has as they progress in age. Younger children when throwing tend to only use their arm, and as the child progresses in age, coordination, and strength they begin to throw utilizing a whole body motion (Payne, & Issacs, 2005; Pressley, & McCormick, 2007).  Another area of importance in child/adolescent development is their fine motor skills. Such as holding a writing implement – where younger children tend to grasp the instrument and as their fine motor skills progress they begin to hold and efficiently use the writing implement (Payne, & Isaacs, 2005). These are just a few of the things I remember and stand out from my college courses in the realm of child/adolescent development.

I feel that my current knowledge of development plays an important role in my philosophy of instruction. By understanding the developmental process of children, I am able to recognize and realize skills which they should have already developed or needs continual practice. This understanding will allow me to not set up expectations that far surpass their development level. It is important to note that instruction and lesson materials should not only help children learn new topics but should challenge them as well. Additionally, I know that importance of their childhood development as it relates towards their later school year learning. Creating an environment that is of high-quality has been shown to increase measured intelligence (Pressley, & McCormick, 2007). There are many factors that can affect the development of a child, and understanding these issues will help better equip me as an educator.

Payne, V.G., & Isaacs, L.D. (2005). Human motor development: a lifespan approach. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies.

Pressley, N., & McCormick, C.B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York, NY: Guildford Press.