Archive for February, 2017

Developing and Constructing Knowledge

“Cognitive development refers to changes in thinking, reasoning, and decision making.” (Woolfolk p34)

Notable psychologists (Piaget, Erikson, and Vygotsky) have each developed widely accepted theories to explain cognitive development which teachers can utilize within their own classroom when dealing with students, though each come with their own benefits and limitations.

Piaget’s theory of cognitive development introduces four stages with specific characteristics and their respective age approximation. The four stages are sensorimotor, which occurs between birth and two years of age, preoperational, which occurs between 2-7 years old, concrete operational, which occurs between 7-11 years old, and formal operational which occurs between 12 years old through adulthood. The stages range between gaining object permanence, early speech, understanding conservation, and advanced reasoning. The basis for this theory is that people gain understanding through experience and maturation. According to Woolfolk, criticisms of this theory is the underestimation of children. Piaget believed that children had to grow in order to advance through the stages- that is, they could not be taught to do so.

Erikson’s theory of development focused more on different sets of “crises.” As they progress through childhood, kids experience different developmental crises that will have either positive or negative resolutions. These resolutions can have lasting effects into adulthood. The eight crises are basic trust vs basic mistrust, autonomy vs shame or doubt, initiative vs guilt, industry vs inferiority, identity vs role confusion, intimacy vs isolation, generativity vs stagnation, and ego integrity vs despair. The first stage, also defined as birth to age two, occurs as the infant forms a relationship with their caregiver.

Vygotsky introduces the zone of proximal development. This is the idea that for children, engaging information falls between that which is too easy and too difficult. The middle zone is information that “the child is just on the verge of being able to solve.” (Woolfolk p.66) There is a heavy focus on an outside influence being able to progress development. This is in contrast to Piaget, and also a limitation cited by Woolfolk. While outside influences can effect development, much of a child’s influence occurs before direct instruction.

When a teacher is aware of these different theories and concepts, they can be implemented when working with diverse students within the classroom. Since each child develops at a different rate, having an understanding of where their students fall can allow the teacher to adjust curriculum and strategies to accommodate the gaps in development. Since development is typically orderly, based on classroom performance, a teacher can assess where the student falls in their developmental stage and predict their upcoming stages and how it can function within the class. Development is also gradual, which can be accommodated by the implementation of scaffolding. Since not all students will be at the same level of development, beginning with basic information can later be built upon with the help of supports. Those supports may include students who are further along to help those who are struggling.

Along with the psychological and physical development a child experiences, family, friends, and media also have a direct impact in a child’s development. There are four major parenting styles according to Diane Baumrind. There are authoritative parents (high warmth, high control), authoritarian parents (low warmth, high control), permissive parents (high warmth, low control), and rejecting or neglectful parents (low warmth, low control).(Woolfolk p89) According to the article by Gwen Dewer, “Kids raised by authoritative parents are more likely to become independent, self-reliant, socially accepted, academically successful, and well-behaved.” On the opposite side of the spectrum, according to the article “The Effects of Early Neglect on Cognitive, Language, and Behavioral Functioning in Childhood,” children who experienced neglectful parenting were much more likely to experience behavioral problems and lower cognitive functioning. During the class activity, I explored the effects of neglectful parenting on the fictional Gallagher family in the television show shameless. In comparison to their peers, the Gallagher children were much more likely to act out violently or participate in illegal activity. The children also performed at a much lower level academically, as one of the children repeated the same grade three years in a row. Personally, I experienced a parenting style that fell between authoritative and authoritarian. Peers also influence development. A child’s peer group can influence self-esteem as well as mutual interests, as they are “central to students’ lives.” (Woolfolk p93) Peers have a large effect on the day to day experiences such as academic and social competency. These can either be positive or negative based on the level of support they receive.



Dewer, G., Dr. (2013, March). The authoritative parenting style: Warmth, rationality, and high standards. Retrieved from

Infants, Toddlers and Television. (2016, April 4). Retrieved February 23, 2017, from

Hoy, A. W. (2017). Educational psychology: active learning edition (12th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Spratt, E. G., Friedenberg, S. L., Swenson, C. C., LaRosa, A., Bellis, M. D., Macias, M. M., . . . Brady, K. T. (2012, February 01). The Effects of Early Neglect on Cognitive, Language, and Behavioral Functioning in Childhood. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from

1 comment February 22nd, 2017

Module 1

Part One: Research

In education, teachers are (or rather, should be) constantly researching new information; be it in regards to furthering their own personal studies, new information to incorporate into their syllabus and individual lesson plans, or how to best serve their diverse classroom. Having research literacy allows teachers to spend their time and efforts on only the most beneficial information, instead of trying to sort through ineffective or irrelevant content.

Many very effective assignments given to students require outside research. Furthermore, if the teacher assigning the homework is proficient in finding information and related data, they are more likely to engage with their students about how best to do so as well which, in turn, will lead to better informed students.

With the vast amount of information available to us, as teachers, we have the ability to always incorporate fresh content and appeal to different points of view. A teacher who is consistently researching new methods and pedagogy is less likely to fall into a rut or stale routine. Teaching students with current events and new information mixed into classic methods can also allow students to make real-world connections with new knowledge acquired in class.

Another benefit of having information available to teachers is the wide support network. Problems within the classroom likely have been written about and have a plethora of workable solutions. There are many forums where professionals can write about and discuss experiences and issues they encountered and the ways in which they were handled.


Part Two: Homework Discussion

In doing research for my bibliography assignment, I have concluded that assigned homework may or may not be effective for a number of reasons.

1. In a household lacking parental control over the student’s education, homework may not be completed (and therefore ineffective) due to the lack necessary outside pressure.

2. In a household with too much parental control over their student’s education, homework may be completed by the parent (and therefore ineffective) due to too much outside interference.

3. Students don’t complete homework for numerous reasons. They don’t have time, wish to participate in social activities, or have part time jobs that interfere with their ability to complete their schoolwork.

4. Too much homework can be detrimental


These reasons aside, I don’t believe that removing homework completely is the best course of action either. I believe that ensuring that students are being assigned quality work, can still benefit the student. By avoiding what students may believe to be “busy work” and keeping assignments short and to the point could also work to keep engagement and ensure completion for a wider range of students.




Salleh, H., Dr. (2014, February). Why Should Teachers Do Research? Retrieved February, 2017, from

M., & Richardson, W. (2012, October 5). How We Can Connect School Life to Real Life. Retrieved February, 2017, from

Peer reviewed research articles for support:

Xu, Jianzhong. “Homework Purpose Scale for High School Students: A Validation Study.” 70.3 (August 31, 2009): 459-76. Web. .

Locke, Judith Y., David J. Kavanagh, and Marilyn A. Campbell. “Overparenting and Homework: The Student’s Task, But Everyone’s Responsibility.” Journal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools 26.01 (2016): 1-15. Web. <>.

Hinchey, Pat. “Why Kids Say They Don’t Do Homework.” Clearing House 69.4 (n.d.): 242. Web. <>.

Vatterott, C. (2010, September). Five Hallmarks of Good Homework. Retrieved February 06, 2017, from (September 2010 | Volume 68 | Number 1 Giving Students Meaningful Work Pages 10-15)

1 comment February 6th, 2017

Recent Comments