Fifth Reading Response

Something I learned while reading this chapter was just how much poverty affects a child growing up. There are the obvious negative effects, like very little family support, very little money for food, and others like that, but the thing I never considered was that poverty affects a child before they are even born, as families in poverty have less access to good prenatal and infant health care. On top of this, children in poverty are more likely to be exposed to both legal and illegal drugs before birth. When you know this, you realize how children in poverty are essentially put ten steps back behind children who are not in poverty right from the get go.

Another thing I learned was about stereotype threat, where when a stereotyped individual is in a situation where a stereotype applies, they bear an extra emotional and cognitive burden. As a white male, I’ve never really had to think about any stereotypes I might have (aside from the “Canadian’s always apologize” stereotype, but that is quite different and less taxing to think about), so I’ve never thought about how much burden a stereotyped individual might have when they are put into a scenario where others may judge them based on that stereotype.

One more thing I learned while reading this chapter was the term gender schema. I’ve heard of the concept before – an organized network of knowledge about what it means to be male or female – but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a term associated with it before. The thing that interests me the most is how early gender schema is introduced into children’s lives, which is around age 5.  It really goes to show how socially constructed our society is that even young children can pick up on the social cues between genders.

One thing I had connected with during the reading was the differences between ethnicity and race. This was something I have discussed with other classmates in a class I took in my first year, so the differences between the two is something I am already aware of, that being, ethnicity is a group’s shared common cultural characteristics, and race being a category composed of those who share biologically transmitted traits. One thing new to me in this section, however, is that the term ‘minority group’ refers to both ethnicities and races, as I thought it only referred to races and not ethnicities.

Something else I connected with is the idea behind gender bias. Again, this is something that I have discussed at length with classmates in a previous education class. Gender bias is having more representation on one gender over the other. Despite the movements to remove it from schools, gender bias still pops up every now and again, whether it be through book covers, titles or videos shown in class. Gender bias also shows up in teaching, as studies have shown that teachers give much more attention to boys over girls. This is true for all levels of school, from preschool all the way to university or college.

One question I still have after the reading is regarding the single-sex classrooms that it talks about in the text. The text states that studies have shown that single-sex classrooms benefit the students learning, but I wonder what kind of effects it would have on one’s social life? Would only being around same sex classmates/peers affect them in any way, and would it be a negative or a positive change?


Third Reading Response

One thing I learned while reading this chapter is perhaps one of the biggest topics of the chapter; the concepts of self-efficacy and self-regulation. Despite these topics being such a huge part of the educational world, this is the first time I’ve been introduced to them, which is interesting because the concepts of the other self-schema are a lot more common to hear about, both in a school environment or through the media. Before reading this chapter, I was completely unaware of both self-efficacy and self-regulation, including how the sense of self-efficacy and self-regulation in both teachers and students affects how they teach and learn respectively.

Another thing I learned in regards to self-regulation was the cycle of self-regulated learning. Going from analyzing the task, to setting goals and creating plans to complete a task is something that I didn’t think was terribly uncommon. After learning about self-regulation through the text, I would say that I have a fairly strong sense of self-regulation and can connect with the ideas presented about it. As such, the strategies stated in the cycle are fairly common to me subconsciously, but to see it actually printed out is a little foreign and strange since I’ve never really had to think about it before.

One more thing I learned about this chapter are the influences of self-regulation. One thing that interested me the most about this was that motivation and volition are considered separate ideas. I had always considered them to be practically the same thing, more specifically I considered volition the same or extremely similar to motivation.  However, reading into a bit more, it appears to me that while volition is more of a conscious decision, motivation is more unconscious

Something I connected with aside from self-regulation is the idea behind modelling. Similarly to Piaget’s Theory from a few chapters ago, I also learned quite a bit about modelling in my high school Psychology class. However, we did not quite as in depth with modelling as the text presents it. Something that is new to me about the concept of modelling is the consequences of a model’s actions and the observer’s expectations about performing said actions. From the way I understood it before, it was a simple reenactment of what they saw, not necessarily taking into account any risk or rewards.

One question I have after reading the chapter is do with this new knowledge of modelling that the chapter has shown me: Will a very young child (say, around a year old) still take into account risk vs. reward when it comes to modelling? Even though at that point, they may not have gone through as much mental or cognitive development, is it still “innate” to consider the consequences or rewards of ones actions?

Second Reading Response

In this weeks reading, we read about how children develop physically, socially, and how children shape their identity and self-concept. One topic in the reading that was new to me was the difference between self-concept and self-esteem. As the reading states, I believed the two terms were interchangeable, but that is not quite the case.

Something I found interesting was the section on why students cheat. As a budding teacher, learning why students would cheat despite the risks associated with it, and when students are more or less likely to cheat is fairly useful and rather interesting to learn about.

One other topic that caught my eye in the reading was that girls mature faster than boys. I’m not positive why, but I had always thought it was the other way around. One reason I could possibly think of was because I thought myself as more “mature” because I was confident in my maturity, and I took that concept of my own “maturity” and applied it to all boys, but I am not entirely certain.

Something the article talked about that I was somewhat previously aware of was the differences in self-concept for boys and girls. In most schools, it’s fairly easy to see what the article states: more boys in things such as sports, and more girls in things like the arts. My school was no different, in fact; though there were quite a few from both sides in each group.

Another thing I connected with was how the media affects child development. With the modern world being engulfed with the media and the way it portrays people, it’s only natural that it effects the way children behave or develop; for most children, the media is a heavy part of their life, basically from birth.

One question that I have after reading the article is about the development of morals. Specifically, how long (on average) does it take to move from the stage of ‘moral realism’ to ‘morality of cooperation’? The article mentions that it is a “gradual shift”, but does not outright state any timeline.  On top of that, with it being a “gradual shift”, do children fully understand the concept, or do bits and pieces of the concept come over time?

First Reading Response

In this weeks readings, we read about brain and cognitive development of children and the argument about nature versus nurture in regards to how a child best develops. One topic in the reading I particularly found interesting was the division on the different kinds of developments; that being, physical development, personal development and social development. Most people don’t think of ones development as being different stages, most just lump it all into one form of development, where there are in fact, more than that.  I also learned about Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective and the differences between his and Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development. Specifically, Vygotsky focused much more on the environment and cultural surrounding a child, whereas Piaget’s focus leaned toward human nature, as in genetics. Another topic the reading touched on was the importance of brain and cognitive of development in relation to teachers. Understanding how a child’s brain develops is a very handy thing to know when deciding on how you are to teach a subject, as you can avoid things that may be lost on a not fully developed brain.

During the reading, there were quite a few connections I made back to my Psychology 30 class I took in Grade 11 of High School. I distinctively remember learning about Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development, specifically the four stages of cognitive development (Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational, and Formal Operational). We focused on those four stages quite heavily when I took that course, though I am not entirely positive if we ever talked about Vygotsky’s. Another connection I made was specifically on page 42, figure 2.4 – the diagram of the the tasks given to children, the change of situations, and the questions that are asked to the children. I don’t remember exactly what class or year it was, but during my middle school years, I recall watching a few clips of these sorts of situations and learning very briefly on brain and cognitive development. Obviously, at the time we were developed enough to understand the “correct” answers to the scenarios, but did not really consider the importance of brain and cognitive development.

One question I have after the reading is in regards to the research of cognitive development not featured in the book. Are there any other, perhaps less well-known but still credible theories of cognitive development? The “nature plus nurture” theory seems pretty sound, but when it comes to the theoretical, it is always interesting to read multiple different angles on a subject.