Constructions of School Systems (Rebecca Roney)

One thing I learned from this week’s readings was humans typically live in the dark and the example that is provided from page 212 of the Philosophy of Education Reading was how often children will blindly accept their parent’s political beliefs without question because “they are relying on unreasoned assumption.” I think we see this a lot as students often get a lot of their opinions and beliefs from their parents and don’t question it. This can cause problems for instance, if parents have discriminative views that their children are picking up on.

Another thing I learned is about the concept of perennialism. This is where teaches believe that all students should learn the same way. On page 219 of the Philosophy of Education Reading it is said “Because human nature is unchanging, education should be the same for everyone.” This is something I do not agree with. Everything that we are learning nowadays is about how no student learns the same way and that we should embrace the differences of our students and teach them in the way they need.

One last thing I learned is the concept of essentialism and how it prepares students for their futures and to be “productive citizens,” (220). Teachers with an essentialist approach focus on using techniques that have been proven effective such as note taking. I think while this is an important approach it is also important to develop and try new concepts.

One connection I made is on page 228 with the concept of Social Reconstructionism which is “philosophy of education that maintains that teachers and schools ought to be change agents in creating a new and more equitable social order.” Most of ECS 100 focused around a question as to if an inclusive classroom can create an inclusive society. I think that it is important for classrooms to be inclusive and that it will create a more inclusive society.

Another connection I made was also on page 212 of the Philosophy of Education Reading how it explained a teacher is like a midwife who doesn’t give the students the information but helps the students to be able to learn the information on their own. I think it is important for teachers to help their students and provide the resources to be able to figure out their own knowledge.

A question I still have is should we be looking to include all the educational philosophies in our classrooms?


First Volunteer Experience (Rebecca Roney)

I am volunteering at SCEP which is an Early Intervention and Training Service. It is for young children who are unable to function in a “typical” daycare, preschool, or school setting.

One thing I learned is sometimes it’s best not to overwhelm students with questions. Since the students sometimes struggle with basic communication skills the workers often use simple communication. For example, if a student is playing with a toy truck you could say, “Truck, Big Truck, Red Truck, Broom Broom.” The workers try not to ask the students questions. This was something I found hard to do because I have always asked children questions.

Another thing I learned is about the benefit of alternative schooling. This is something I’ve never been sure on and now I really see the benefit to it. The students that go to SCEP would not benefit from being in a “typical” classroom. They need one on one attention. It’s important for these students to have a safe place to learn and play and not be overwhelmed with too many kids.

One last thing I learned is the concept of what the workers call “learning for big ears.” This is where the workers will talk behind the child’s back to work through a problem the child might have. For example, something that occurred while I was there was a student got upset when their time on the iPad was over. The workers would then say something like “I know Rebecca is upset because she is done with the iPad for today. I’m glad Rebecca got a chance to play on the iPad. Maybe tomorrow Rebecca can play on the iPad again.” This can help the child to understand that it’s not a punishment and they will get another chance another day.

One connection I made was to a previous connection on the importance of a strong support system. Some of these students at SCEP don’t have a strong support system and they come to SCEP to get that support. This goes back to how parenting styles can affect students learning.

Another connection I made was about modelling behavior. Last week we touched on the concept of learning by observing others and this was a common theme while at SCEP. During snack time there was a student who was acting goofy and then another student copied that behavior. This is a common theme throughout classrooms and I think it’s important to encourage modelling positive behavior instead of negative behavior.

One question I still have how can we help students with a learning or behavioral problem adapt to a “typical” classroom setting without resources like SCEP?

Socio-Emotional Development and Motivation (Rebecca Roney)

Through this weeks learnings I learned about need for relatedness. On page 406 of the textbook it is said, “Students who feel a sense of relatedness to teachers, parents, and peers are more emotionally engaged in school” (Furrer & Skinner, 2003). This is so important and shows that having strong relationships are crucial in the success of our students. This is a point that has come up multiple times through the readings.

Another thing I learned is about complex tasks. This discusses that fact that teachers shouldn’t give students homework so tough that they become frustrated but difficult enough that they are able to test their skills and gain more knowledge (391). This is important because often it is assumed that students should receive homework but if they just struggle with it, it is not benefiting them.

One last thing I learned from this weeks reading was about the social learning theory which is “theory that emphasizes learning through observation of others,” (369). This relates to my one connection of modelling behaviour. We can learn a lot from our peers and I think that it is also important to learn from our peers as it gives a different perspective.

One connection I made was with the model of learning by observing others. I think this is a big one in a classroom. You might have students bringing behaviours that they are learning at home whether is is good or bad behaviours. You may see it within the classroom. You may have students acting up in class causing another student to act up. You could also have it have see students model good behaviour. For example if a student is praised for their good behaviour a student might mirror that behaviour.

Another connection I made is with intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is motivation coming from ones self and extrinsic motivation is motivation that comes from an outside source and can either come from and reward or punishment (401). I think I can relate to this because I always had high expectations of myself to do well in school and doing well in a class or on an assignment was rewarding to me. As well if I did well I would be rewarded by my parents.

One question I still have is how help our students model the good behaviour in the classroom instead of the bad behaviour?

Biological and Cognitive Development (Rebecca Roney)

From this weeks readings I learned that when parents get divored the children often struggle the most with it for the first two years after the divorce. The reading discussed that divorce is often harder on boys than girls because of the fact that most times mothers get custody of the children and that leaves boys without a male influence (74). I think that students who’s parents are divorced may struggle with day to day life as they may have parents who don’t get along and have parents who complain about their other parent to them.

Another thing I learned is about the kinds of cognitive loads. There is three types of cognitive loads:
1) Intrinsic – unavoidable
2) Extraneous – avoidable
3) Germane – valuable
These three types of can be explained with the example of a classroom. Intrinsic cognitive load can be shown by the example of having to use an equation to solve a problem. Extraneous cognitive load can be explanied as a student sitting by disruptive students and deciding to move. Finally Germane cognitive load can be explained by using previous knowlegde to help with your current topic (270).

One last thing I learned this week is about multitasking. If the student is a good multitasker they may still struggle with the task they are working on if it is a difficult one. If a student is working on a difficult problem and take time to go on their phone they make take longer to get back into their schoolwork (265-266). This one is a big one as most student believe they can do homework while watching tv and then when it comes time to their homework or there is a test they can’t remember what they’re supposed to do.

One connection I make with this weeks reading was the negative impact obesity plays on students lives. Obesity creates a health problems for students and can create negative relationships with their peers and themselves which could lead to eating disorders. Students who are obese may not be able to keep up with their peers leading to them being left behind (69).

Another connection I made was how the types of parenting styles play a role on students success. Students who have parents that support them but also have high expectations often do better in their classes compared to students who have parents who just give support and have no expectations or students who have no support and just high expectations (73).

One question I still have is how can we incorporate a more active lifestyle into our classroom to help our students become healthier.

Cognitive Development

Through this weeks readings I learned several things but a few stood out to me. The first thing I learned was that the internal verbal thinking is not stable until about age 12 (53). This explains that children often talk to themselves as they’re learning something new. This fact really interested me because I can remember multiple times in elementary school when teachers asked for complete silence. This could have actually been a detriment to students and made them more confused. It’s important for teachers to allow for some noise in their classrooms because it helps students to develop a better understanding for their learning.

Another thing I learned based on Piaget’s research is that all species tend to gravitate towards tendencies of organization and adaptation (37). I thought this really made sense because it is easy for people to put things they already know into groups in order to make connections with what they know. One example I can think of was one presented to me in a psychology class. The example was a child who knew what a dog was and then saw a cat and believed it was a dog. The child knew that both the cat and dog were both animals and belonged in the same group.

Something else I learned is that ” Reading is not innate or automatic” (33). I found this interesting because although I knew that you’re not born knowing how to read I wasn’t sure how it came about. I find it fascinating how your brain makes connections with things you already know in order to learn how to read.

One connection I made is the importance of a strong support system. The example of the student who answered the math problems wrong and then developed negative feeling towards math (33). Having a strong support system from their teachers would allow them to feel comfortable to make and learn from their mistakes.

Another connection I made is you can’t try to change a student. It is discussed how it is important to try to change the classroom instead of changing a student. I think this is important because as teachers we should try to open our students minds and help them to learn more about the world.

One question I still have is how can we as teachers eliminate our students fear of being wrong and allow them to feel comfortable  and confident to make mistakes.