Thursday, March 21, 2013

Unit 3: Chapter 2

1. One of the most cited theories of human development is that of Swiss biologist Jean Piaget. After reading about Piaget's basic assumptions (p. 27-32) look with particular attention at the stage of child development you would like to teach.

The other most cited theory of human development belongs to Russian developmentalist Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky's theory of cognitive development leads us to expect greater diversity among our same-ages students than Piaget. Given these two influential theorists' ideas on cognitive development, how might you accommodate students who are not yet working at the level of their peers?

With middle school students cognitive development will be somewhere on the same level but also all over the place at the same time as students are all individual thinkers and creating their own views and perceptions about the world around them. While most students should be at the Formal Operations Stage (p. 32) there are different levels at which students may be throughout this stage. At this stage students can think about concepts that have little or no basis in concrete reality (p. 32). Students recognize that what is logically different from what is true in the real world. They are not able to separate imagination from reality. I believe that Piaget and Vygotsky's theories are well applied to each other and they should not be looked at as one or the other, but rather together as a collaboration for better understanding students needs. Students appear to have greater diversity among their same-age peers, I agree with Vygotsky in that. Since students are at a higher stage of cognitive development they are all thinking differently about the same things. Taking the information that Piaget has said about the stages of development and then applying them to how Vykotsky views a relation between peers, will help teachers better teach students and know the cognitive levels they are on. This will allow us, teachers, to better group our students to learn from one another. So, while most students are doing A, B, and C. High achieving students will be able to do A, B, and C plus D. Low achieving students will be able to do only A and B, not only only A. Special needs student will be able to do some combination of A, B, and C or just one over the others. It is important that as the teacher, I am aware of these different levels. By grouping students together that are on different levels of learning within the Formal Operations Stage, they can work with each other to grow in their knowledge together and help each other see or understand something in a new way.

2. Theories in educational psychology promote the idea that language plays a critical role in cognitive development. Examine Table 2.2 (p. 51). Paying particular attention to the age range that you are interested in teaching. Consider how you might incorporate or adapt the strategies presented for use with your own students.

 With middle school students (6-8 grade level) the suggested strategies include: assigned reading materials for new vocabulary, terminology used by experts, structured debates, consider underlying meanings of words, and explore nature of words and language. These strategies are all informative and helpful for students to learn the content they should know at their grade level.With the new common core, reading is becoming especially important for students to do in all content areas. It is, however, a little more challenging to accommodate for within the art education classroom. I can achieve this though through presenting my students with short articles or stories about works of art or artists that are influential to the lessons we are doing. First had experiences are essential to help students understand what they are learning in relation to the real world. This will bring in the terminology used by the art experts as well as readings that focus on other areas of our lessons which will incorporate other expert terminology for students to learn and apply in other classes. The structured debates are also an excellent idea, however, I will conduct them in the form of critiques. This way students are free to openly express their views about certain works or artists while other students bring up relative information that applies to the topic as well. In art critiques their is often much debate as people are for or against certain aspects of a work of art. This can be beneficial for the artist to see how they could further improve their creativity and process by understanding both sides of peoples' comments. These critiques are important to help students learn how to articulate themselves and receive positive feedback about their works. In art, your work is never truly private. There will be someone viewing it at some point, so the critiques, or rather debates, about what is working and what is not can really change or enhance the students intentions. Finally, the underlying meanings and exploration of nature of words and language will be useful for students to learn the context in which terms are being used so that they can apply the terms in other uses.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Unit 2: Chapter 10

Which of the learning activities/skills can you think of that lend themselves to learning through modeling? How might self-efficacy and self-regulation contribute to the intervention plans you use in your case study?

Academic skills and interpersonal behaviors appear to be helpful when learning through modeling for students who need structure. Academic skills refers to students learning by observing their teachers and peers around them and see how they are doing things in comparison (p. 330). If I am teaching a lesson on how to paint and I want students to learn how to hold their brush correctly and keep their strokes even and going in the same direction, then I should model this to my students so they understand what I am looking for. After showing them how to hold and use a paint brush, students will look to their peers to see if they are doing it right as well. Interpersonal behaviors refers to observing and imitating others (p. 331). This can be very effective if I set up the right environment in which my students can adopt and learn one another's strategies for conducting something such as discussions (p. 331). Discussions in the art room are crucial to participating in verbalizing what it is you are trying to express as an artist. Students can learn how to solicit one another's opinions by asking each other what they think, they can express agreement or disagreement in a constructive manner, and they learn how to justify a point of view that they believe in. These learning activities/skills can be very beneficial for helping student learn through the modeling of me as their teacher, their peers, and others in their learning community. It will help them to be aware and critical of themselves and others if they know how to use these skills correctly.

As for the middle school case study. My attempts with Cherie and modeling would have to begin with her peers, my other students who seem to follow their leader. If I can model to those who engage less and less with learning and more with Cherie, then I have a shot at getting through to Cherie as well. If she sees her peers no longer interested in her misbehavior and disruptions and more focused on paying attention, doing what I ask/when I ask, and modeling good practices on their own Cherie might being to model this herself. As her teacher I should address her misbehaving during a private conversation with her instead of in front of the class, but I should be careful not to let the bad behavior or disruption go without warning. I should model being polite, courteous, and sensitive to others around me. If I treat Cherie and my class in this manner, hopefully they will see though modeling that it is a good way to act and something they should try to do too.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Unit 2: Chapter 9

How would you define successful mastery of your lesson objectives from a behavioral view of learning? Consider your CSEL intervention case study. Are there tools from a behaviorist view for either encouraging productive behaviors or discouraging undesirable behaviors that you could apply to the case? What are they?

First and foremost I believe in positivity, whether it be within the classroom or outside the classroom environment. Their are usually always negative connotations associated with misbehavior/dealing with behavioral issues, but their does not have to be. With every lesson I would expect my students to be listening to me, or any of their peers, while talking. Lesson objectives also include staying seated, looking at the teacher, and completing their work during the class. I am not against students talking while working, getting up to sharpen pencils, going to the bathroom, etc. However, if I allow those things I must monitor my students and how they are handling the privileges. I recently heard the saying, "Don't smile till Christmas." Meaning that if I can get my students on the right track, constantly tell them the rules, enforce them, stay structured and organized, then after the break, I can allow them to have more fun and be more lax in my classroom. Once they have learned what I want them to, then why not allow them to enjoy the rest of the year without so many rules to follow.

On the other hand, I have been talking about the importance of critiques within my classroom environment for weeks. In art, they are so essential to understanding students' works and getting them to express their reason for creating it. Critiques can be a good tool for both encouraging productive behavior and discouraging undesirable behaviors because it lends itself to students learning how to articulate themselves with skills that will go far beyond the art classroom, as well it also is very subjective and if not done correctly or with structure, can be something students use as a way to get out of participating.

In the Middle School Case Study, Cherie is acting up by trying to be funny and bully her classmates. While she thinks it is funny, her peers are getting hurt. I would pull Cherie aside and have a private, positive conversation with her about why she thinks it is funny to trip her classmates. Chances are their is an even greater motive for her acting up and seeking attention. It may be that she does not receive the attention she needs at home. As for her pretending to battle and shoot a gun at her classmates, I have no tolerance for violence, even if it is only pretend. I could suggest Cherie come speak with me after class whenever she is feeling like she wants to interrupt, act out, or hurt a classmate. She can self-regulate her feelings, behaviors, and actions by understanding that she has control over them. It could also be that she needs more activities in the class for her to act things out and be creative with her imagination. As for tools to manage behavior, extrinsic reinforcement (allowing her to have opportunities to receive attention from me and her classmates in an appropriate and productive setting) could really help Cherie (p. 295). Removal punishment would be taking an extreme route to dealing with her behavior, however, I have seen this work within a middle school classroom setting (p. 297). Students often like to misbehave and disrupt the class but once you ask them to step outside or move to a desk where they will be sitting alone, the student no longer wants to create mischief. No one will be there anymore for them to get attention from of they are int he hall or sitting alone. Usually the student will choose to act accordingly with classroom rules instead of moving or leaving the classroom.

Also, the developmental trends listed in the textbook, specifically focusing on middle school grade levels, appear to be very informative with suggested strategies for effective reinforcers (p. 298). The table suggests that students are allowed about five minutes to mingle with each other contingent upon them getting work done, spend one-on-one time with students throughout the class period, and provide explicit feedback to students about what things they have done well in the class that day. Taking the time to assess and help students assess their own behaviors in the classroom, telling them what they have done well, and getting to know them on a more personal level will all help the students know what you want and how you expect them to act and behave within your classroom.