Over the last few weeks my classmates and I have read, discussed and investigated how human development will impact our teaching instruction. From these discussions three “big ideas” have emerged causing me to pause, reflect, and evaluate the implication it has on my own teaching instruction in the classroom.
Big Idea #1: Wiring and Environment
There are several different factors that influence how a child develops. Medina (2014) points out in his book Brain Rules that one of the biggest factors that starts even before we are born is the wiring of our brain (Medina, 2014, p.101). Furthermore, in Child and Adolescent Development for Educators, Pressley & McCormick present a variety of environmental influence that impact human development such as family, culture, and institution.
Keeping these factors in mind I must accommodate student learning by using appropriate teaching instruction, classroom activity, assignments, and assessments. Ways that can I do this is by first learning about my students backgrounds. Second, assess student’s different learning styles and third, being pro-active in creating a positive learning environment. My goal is to make sure that I provided students with consistent high-quality learning experiences.
Big Idea #2: Moral Reasoning In The Classroom
A second big idea is determining the value of incorporating moral reasoning into the class. I have always been a big advocate of promoting moral learning in the classroom so it was interesting to read different ways my classmates were also implementing moral reasoning into their classes. Several of them use story telling and literature to teach moral reasoning. One classmate suggested using stories such as The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Chinese Proverbs, The Empty Pot, and other parables and fables as a way to engage students in discussion about moral character (Carver, 2015). While I may have to find more age appropriate stories for my 4th grade class this teaching approach could be very effective in implementing moral reasoning in the classroom.
Big Idea #3: Situated and Distributed Cognition
Pressley & McCormick (2007) explain, “Thinking requires in-the-head activity as well as environmental representations, which is called situated cognition. When knowledge and thinking are diffused across multiple people’s heads (or even a computer), this is called distributed cognition” (page 118). What my classmates and I concluded was that by using distributed cognition students were more likely to problem solve, discuss and discover information at a deeper level. We have learned that students are impacted by their wiring and environment therefore the way they problem solve, discover and learn may differ. In the fall I will begin teaching a very diverse class of student at an international school. I believe that using group/pair work to help learn information is a wonderful way to enhance learning. Most of my students come from different countries so can you imagine the type of discussion that could happen? I look forward to seeing how my students benefit from this.
Medina, John, (2014). Brain Rules. Pear Press
Pressley, M. & McCormick, C.B. (2007). Child and Adolescent Development for Educators. New York, NY: Guilford Press.