This week has given me an opportunity to think about a topic of human development. As humans, we grow, improve, and move forward while aging, and this is something that does not stop and cannot be stopped unless one deceases. Of course, every moment of development is critical. However, as some stages of development throughout our lives is more essential than others, it is fundamental and significant for us as educators to achieve understanding of the principles, different types and factors, as well as related theories of human development.
First thing I learned from Chapter 2 of Educational Psychology is the fact that there are four different areas in human development: physical, personal, social, and cognitive. All is intertwine with each other, yet all is independently important in shaping individuals with their external and internal identities. So, is it nature or nurture that develop these areas? While I was struggling to pick one over another, the following quote from Educational Psychology (2016) has opened a new door: “Today the environment is seen as critical, but so are biological factors and individual differences. In fact, some psychologists assert that behaviours are determined 100% by biology and 100% by environment – they can’t be separated.” (p. 24)
Another thing I learned this week is Piaget’s stages of cognitive development. This includes Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete operational, and formal operational, which are all divided according to the age of an individual. Each stage has its own characteristics as portrayed in the video that was shown during the lecture. This has helped me understand why individuals at different ages would respond differently in the same situation (e.g.: recognizing the same amount of water in two differently shaped glasses). Although, Piaget’s theory has limitations, as not all individuals are consistent with stages, and his theory underestimated children’s cognitive abilities, as well as overlooked cultural factors in child development. (p. 60)
Last thing I would like to address as a learning point among other things is General Principles of Development:
- People develop at different rates.
- Development is relatively orderly.
- Development takes place gradually. (p. 25)
As a future educator, I believe that knowing these principles would play a key role in understanding my future students. Also, without taking consideration of these principles, it would be difficult to create an environment where the students can benefit from.
With the lecture and reading, the connection I made is related to the topic of ‘nature vs nurture.’ I see valid points from both sides, and also have opinions on both. In other words, it is quite hard for me to choose one over another because I think that one benefits his/her development in various areas by allowing both nature and nurture factors to have impacts.
Another connection I made has to do with the idea of scaffolding, a way of supporting learners with appropriate assistances from a more competent individual. When I was younger, I hated Math class especially when learning fraction, and was always embarrassed because I thought I was left behind in Math. By then, I had a lack of understanding of basic division, which hindered me from understanding the concept of fraction. My teacher, then, took a step-by-step for me: she made sure that I fully understand division first, and then moved to fraction part. Thankfully, I was able to overcome the fear of division, as well as self-esteem has strengthened as I saw my achievement. As such, I believe that scaffolding is a powerful tool that educators can utilize to reach every student to meet their different needs, while building relationship and enabling the learners to become confident and competent in their learnings.
While it is undeniable that Chapter 2 has offered an in-depth knowledge of human development, one question arises in my mind and has to do with the idea of fostering resilience: What makes students be resilient learners? Is it nature or nurture that has more influence in fostering resilience? How can we, as educators, ensure to create resilient classrooms?
Woolfolk, Winne & Perry. (2016). Chapter 2: Cognitive Development. & Chapter 6: Culture and Diversity. In Educational Psychology. (6th ed.). (pp. 22 – 61 & 215 – 217). Toronto, ON: Pearson.