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Chapter 9.docx

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University of Ottawa
Gustavo Gottret

Chapter 9: Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle and Late Childhood Body Growth and Change -physical growth during the elementary school years is slow, but consistent -children grow 5 to 7.5 cm a year until, at the age of 11, the average girl is about 1.48m and the average boy is 1.45m -children gain about 2.3 to 3.2kg which can be attributed increases in size of the skeletal and muscular systems and the size of some body organs -muscle mass and strength increase as baby fat decreases -children double their strength capabilities during these years -boys are generally stronger than girls because of their greater number of muscle cells -head circumference and waist circumference decrease in relation to body height; these proportional changes are among the most pronounced physical changes during this time The Brain -total brain volume stabilizes by the end of middle and late childhood, but there are significant changes in various structures and regions of the brain that continue to occur -brain pathways and circuitry involving the prefrontal cortex, the highest level in the brain, continue to increase in middle and late childhood -these advances in the prefrontal cortex are link to improved attention, reasoning, and cognitive control -changes also occur in the thickness of the cerebral cortex -cortical thickening in the temporal and frontal lobe areas that function in language reflect improvement in language abilities such as reading -as children develop, activation of some brain areas increases while others decreases -there is a shift in activation from diffuse larger areas to more focal smaller areas -this shift is characterized by synaptic pruning, where areas of the brain not being used lose synaptic connections and those being used show an increase in connections -e.g.: there is less diffusion and more focal activation in the prefrontal cortex from 7 to 30 years of age, which was accompanied by increased efficiency in cognitive performance and cognitive control that allows for flexible and effective controlling attention, reducing interfering thoughts, inhibiting motor actions, and being flexible in switching between competing choices Motor Development -children's gross motor skills become much smoother and more coordinated during middle and late childhood -in gross motor sports, boys usually outperform girls -increased myelination of the CNS is reflected in the improvement of fine motor skills -children can better use their hands as tools as they become steadier -printing becomes smaller -fine motor skills develop to the point at which children can write rather than print (i.e.: cursive) -children begin to show manipulative skills similar to the abilities of adults and can do complex, intricate, and rapid movements (i.e.: crafts or musical instruments) -girls usually outperform boys in fine motor skills Exercise -children need to be active; they become more fatigued by long periods of sitting than by running, jumping, or bicycling -physical action is essential to refine their developing skills -sedentary lifestyles of children are of special concern -television watching is linked with low activity and obesity in children -a related concern is the dramatic increase in computer use by children -sedentary lifestyles place children at risk for reduced activity and being overweight -children who watched 2 or more hours of TV a day were less likely to participate in organized physical activities and less likely to have 2 more servings of fruit a day -a longitudinal study found that a higher incidence of watching TV in childhood and adolescence was linked with being overweight, being less physically fit, and having higher cholesterol levels at 26 years of age -increasing children's exercise levels have positive outcomes -e.g.: high intensity resistance training decreases children's body fat and increases their muscle strength -e.g.: 45 minutes of moderate physical activity and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity daily were related to decreased odds of children being overweight -e.g.: aerobic exercise is linked to increases in cognitive activity (i.e.: planning) in overweight children -ways to get children to exercise more: -offer more physical activity programs run by volunteers at school facilities -improve physical fitness activities in schools -have children plan community and school activities that interest them -encourage families to focus more on physical activity and encourage parents to exercise more (children are more likely to engage in physical activity when they feel safe) Health, Illness, and Disease -middle and late childhood is a time of excellent health -disease and death are less prevalent at this time than during other periods in childhood Balanced or Unbalanced Diet -less than 40% of 9-13 year olds got enough vegetables and fruit daily -61% of boys and 835 of girls aged 10-16 were not taking enough milk products daily -the percentage of calories from fat for children aged 5 to 11 dropped between 1972 and 2004 indicating awareness about childhood obesity Obesity -in the past 25 years, the obesity rate among Canadian children has tripled and the rate of obesity among First Nations children is 2 to 3 times higher than the national average -NFL, NB, NS, and MAN have a higher proportion of obese/overweight children while Alberta and Quebec have a lower proportion -there is no rural-urban difference among children -eating fatty fast food and low activity level are problems for obesity -only 37% of 4-11 year olds were considered physically activity -the lack of physical education in schools and sedentary activities (i.e.: playing computer games) are reasons for inactivity -watching more than 2 hours of TV per day reduced the chance of above-weight children becoming active during the following four years -parents' unhealthy habits can be picked up by their children -there are associations between parents' and adolescents' inactivity, smoking, and poor consumption of vegetables and fruit -parents play an important role in preventing children from becoming overweight and helping them lose weight if they become overweight -they can encourage health eating habits in children by eating more family meals together, making healthy foods available, and not keeping sugar-sweetened beverages and other unhealthy foods in the home -they can help reduce the likelihood that their children will become overweight by reducing children's screen time, getting them involved in sports and other physical activities, and being healthy, physically active role models themselves -diets and exercise are important for successful weight-loss program for overweight children -exercise increases lean body mass and increases the resting metabolic rate, so more calories can be burned in the resting state -experts recommend a combination of diet, exercise, and behaviour modification -e.g.: children are taught to monitor their own behaviour (i.e.: keeping a food diary that keeps track of what, who, when, and where food was eaten) -obese children who are embarrassed by their peers or parents may choose to lose weight to the extent of becoming anorexic -there is a link between disordered eating and girls who have been subjected to violence -eating disorders may be a form of resistance to further violation or it may be a way to purge feelings of shame and guilt -the context for each individual girl or woman shapes the meaning and significance of their particular experience -thinness itself may become a goal as it is often perceived as a sign of interpersonal and economic success Striving for Thinness -a longitudinal study in Australia reported that over 40% of girls as young as 5 to 8 years of age wanted to be thinner -the desire for thinness foreshadowed the lowered self-esteem experienced by young girls a year later, highlighting the relationship of body weight and psychological well-being -there is a link between disordered eating and an external locus of control (i.e.: a belief of outside influence on one's environment) -e.g.: peer pressure, family pressure, and media messages of thinness being good are some of the outside influences -some underlying reasons for the desire to be thin involve abuse -for over 90% of girls who have survived sexual abuse, the onset of eating disorders occurs after their first abuse -promoting a sense of competence in children, listening to youngsters' concerns about not being as good as their peers, and explaining the unrealistic and unhealthy aspects of the media's portrayal of thinness may help children develop a positive body image Accidents and Injuries -unintentional injuries and accidents are the leading cause of hospitalization and death during middle and late childhood -the most common cause of injury and death is motor vehicle accidents, either as a pedestrian or as a passenger -other serious injuries involve bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, falls, and drowning -a higher level of injury-related mortality occurs in urban neighbourhoods of lower socio- economic status, indicating that an injury prevention strategy is needed -many children suffer injuries and even death in preventable accidents -most accidents occur at or near the child's home or school -a reason for these accidents is unnecessary risk taking -boys are more willing to take risks in everyday activities than girls; this explains why boys are more likely than girls to experience injuries -the most effective prevention strategy is to educate children about the proper use of equipment and the hazards of risk taking Cancer -childhood cancer is the second leading cause of death in children between 1 and 14 years of age -childhood cancers are more likely to be rapid-growing tumours that primarily attack white blood and lymphatic systems -leukemia accounts for 1/3 of all childhood cancers and involves the bone marrow making an abundance of WBCs that do not function properly -they invade the bone marrow and crowd out normal cells, making the child susceptible to bruising and infection -brain and spinal tumours account for 20% of childhood cancers and 12% are either Hodgkin (lymph node cancer) or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer of the fighting cells) Cognitive development Piaget's Concrete Operational Stage -according to Piaget, the preschool child's thought is preoperational -preschool children can form stable concepts and have begun to reason, but their thinking is flawed by egocentricism and magical belief systems The Concrete Operational Stage -Piaget proposed that the concrete operational stage lasts approximately from 7 to 11 years -in this stage, children can perform concrete operations, and they can reason logically as long as reasoning can be applied to specific or concrete examples -operations are mental actions that allow children to do mentally what they have done physically before -e.g.: in the conservation task that involved rolling a ball of clay into a long, thin shape, to answer the problem correctly, children have to imagine the clay rolling back into a ball; this type of imagination involves a reversible mental action applied to a real, concrete object -concrete operations allow the child to consider several characteristics rather than focus on a single property of an object -in the ball of clay example, the child is likely to focus on height OR width -a concrete operational child would coordinate information about both information -the concrete operational child has the ability to classify things into different sets or subsets and to consider their interrelationships -this ability to deal with relations between objects is seriation, the concrete operation that involves ordering stimuli along a quantitative dimension (such as length) -e.g.: a teacher might haphazardly place 8 sticks of different lengths on a table and ask the students to arrange the sticks by length -many young children end up with small groups of big sticks or little sticks, rather than a correct ordering by length -children may also line up the tops of the sticks but ignore the bottoms -in contrast, the concrete operational thinker simultaneously understands that each stick must be longer than the one that precedes it and shorter than the one that follows it -another aspect of reasoning about relations between objects is transitivity, the ability to combine relations logically in order to understand certain conclusions -e.g.: 3 sticks (A,B,C) of differing lengths -concrete operational thinkers understand that if A is longer than B and B is longer than C, then A is longer than C -preoperational thinkers do not Evaluating Piaget's Theory -Piaget thought of children as active, constructive thinkers -children need to make their experiences fit their schemas and adapt their schemas to experience -according to Piaget, various aspects of a stage should emerge at the same time -however, some concrete operational abilities do not appear in synchrony -e.g.: children do not learn to conserve at the same time they learn to cross-classify -some cognitive abilities emerge at different times than Piaget thought -e.g.: conservation of numbers occurs as early as 3 -education and culture exert strong influences on children's development than Piaget reasoned -some preoperational children can be trained to reason at a concrete operational stage -e.g.: the age at which children acquire conservation skills is related to how much practice their culture provides in these skills -neo-piagetians argue that his theory needs considerable revision -they give more emphasis to how children use attention, memory, and strategies to process information -a more accurate portrayal of children's thinking requires attention to children's strategies, the speed at which children process information, the particular task involved, and the division of problems in smaller, more precise steps Information Processing -during these years, children dramatically improve their ability to sustain and control attention -other changes involve memory, thinking, and metacognition Memory -long-term memory is a relatively permanent and unlimited type of memory that increases with age during middle and late childhood -improvements in memory reflect children's increased knowledge and their increased use of strategies Knowledge and Expertise -experts have acquired extensive knowledge about a particular content area -this knowledge influences what they notice and how they organize, represent, and interpret information -this then affects their ability to remember, reason, and solve problems -when individuals have expertise about a particular subject, their memory tends to be good regarding material related to that subject -e.g.: 10 and 11 year old chess players were able to remember more information about chess pieces than university students who were not chess players -the children's expertise in chess gave them superior memories, but only in chess -there are developmental changes in expertise -older children usually have more expertise about various subjects than younger children do; this explains their better memory Strategies -long-term memory depends on the learning activities individuals engage in when learning and remembering information -strategies consist of deliberate mental activities to improve the procession of information -2 important strategies are creating mental images and elaborating on information -mental imagery works better for older children than for younger children for remembering verbal information -elaboration is an important strategy that involves engaging in more extensive processing of information -adolescents are more likely to use elaboration spontaneously than older children Fuzzy Trace Theory -the fuzzy trace theory (Brainer and Reyna) states that memory is best understood by considering 2 types of memory representations: 1) Verbatim Memory Trace -consists of the precise details of the information 2) Gist -refers to the central idea of the information -when gist is used, fuzzy traces are built up -although individuals of all ages extract gist, young children tend to store and retrieve verbatim traces -at some point during the early elementary years, children begin to use gist more -this contributes to the improved memory and reasoning of older children because fuzzy traces are more enduring and less likely to be forgotten than verbatim traces Thinking -there are 3 important aspects of thinking: 1) Critical Thinking -involves thinking reflectively and productively, and evaluating evidence -deep understanding occurs when students are stimulated to rethink previously-held ideas -schools spend too much time getting students to give a single correct answer in an imitative way, rather than encouraging them to expand their thinking by coming up with new ideas and rethinking earlier conclusions -critical thinking involves analyzing, inferring, connecting, synthesizing, criticizing, creating, evaluating, thinking and rethinking, etc. 2) Creative Thinking -the ability to think in novel and unusual ways and to come up with unique solutions to problems -intelligence and creativity are not the same thing -convergent thinking produces on correct answer and characterizes the kind of thinking required on conventional tests of intelligence -divergent thinking produces many different answers to the same question and characterizes creativity -children will show more creativity in some domains than others -a child who shows creative thinking skills in mathematics may not exhibit these skills in art -children can improve creativity through: - brainstorming, where individuals try to come up with ideas and play off each idea; this can be done alone or in a group -adults providing activities that stimulate children's interest in finding insightful solutions to problems -promoting internal motivation -creative children's motivation comes from the satisfaction generated by the work itself -encouraging flexible thinking -allowing children to select their interests and supporting their inclinations; this is less likely to destroy their natural curiosity compared to dictating which activities children should engage in -introducing children to creative people 3) Scientific Thinking -children ask fundamental questions about reality and seek answers to problems -children place a great deal of emphasis on causal mechanisms -their understanding of how events are caused weighs more heavily in their causal inferences than even such strong influences as whether the cause happened immediately before the effect -children are more influenced by happenstance (fluke) events than by an overall pattern and children tend to maintain their old theories regardless of the evidence -children might go though mental gymnastics trying to reconcile seemingly contradictory new information with their existing beliefs -e.g.: after learning about the solar system, children may conclude that there are 2 earths; the seemingly flat world in which they live and the round ball floating in space that is described to them -children have difficulty designing experiments that can distinguish among alternative causes -they tend to bias the experiments in favour of whatever hypothesis they began with; sometimes they see the results as supporting their original hypothesis, even when the results directly contradict it -children have many concepts that are incompatible with science and reality -good teachers perceive and understand a child's underlying scientific concepts, then use the concepts as a scaffold for learning -effective science teaching helps children distinguish between fruitful errors and misconceptions, and detect plainly wrong ideas -constructivist teaching emphasizes that children need to build their own scientific knowledge and understanding -students' inquiry should be guided -teachers should scaffold their learning, monitor their progress, etc -students had higher science achievement scores when their schools had more resources, when they lived in 2-parent families, experienced more family involvement, lived with fewer siblings, lived in wealthier countries, or lived in countries with more equal distribution of household income Metacognition -to help students become better thinkers, schools should pay more attention to helping students develop skills that entail knowing about their own and other's knowing -schools should do more to develop metacognition, which is cognition about cognition, or knowing about knowing -most studies involving metacognition have focussed on metamemory, or knowledge about memory -this includes general knowledge about memory (i.e.: recognition tests are easier than recall tests), knowledge about one's own memory (i.e.: a student's ability to monitor whether he or she has studied enough for a test), etc. -young children have some general knowledge about memory -by 5 or 6, children already know that unfamiliar items are harder to learn than familiar ones, that recognition is easier than recall, and that forgetting is more likely to occur over time -young children's metamemory is limited -they don't understand that related items are easier to remember than unrelated ones -they don't understand that remembering the gist of a story is easier than remembering the piece verbatim -young children have limited knowledge about their own memory abilities -a majority if young children predicted that they would be able to recall 10 items on a list, but none of them were able to do it -throughout elementary school, children give more realistic evaluations of their memory skills -metacognition also includes knowledge about strategies -the key to education is helping students learn a rich repertoire of strategies that result in solutions to problems -strategy instruction is far less complete and intense than what students need to learn how to use strategy effectively -education needs to be restructured so that students are provided with more opportunities to become competent strategic learners Intelligence -intelligence involves problem solving skills and the ability to learn from and adapt to life's everyday experiences -other definitions include intelligence as involving practical know-how, weighing options carefully and acting judiciously, as well as developing strategies to improve shortcomings -Vygotsky would say that intelligence includes the ability to use the tools of the culture with help from more skilled individuals -intelligence differences are the stable, consistent ways in which people are different from each other The Stanford-Binet Tests -the first intelligence test was developed to reduce crowding by placing students who did not benefit from regular classroom teaching in special schools -mental age (MA) is an individual's level of mental development relative to others (Binet) -intelligence quotient (IQ) is a person's mental age divided by chronological age (CA), multiplied by 100 (Stern) -the scores on the Stanford-Binet tests approximate a normal distribution -a normal distribution is symmetrical, with a majority of the scores falling in the middle ranges of scores and a few scores appearing toward the extremes of the range The Wechsler Scales -provides an overall IQ and verbal and performance IQs -verbal IQ is based on 6 verbal subscales -e.g.: SIMILARITIES subscale - "In what way are a lion and a tiger alike?" -e.g.: COMPREHENSION subscale- "What is the advantage of keeping money in a bank?" -performance IQ is based on 5 performance subscales -e.g.: BLOCK DESIGN - Visual-motor coordination, perceptual organization, and the ability to visualize spatially are assessed -includes the Wechslers Preschool and Primary scale of Intelligence-III, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-IV Integrated, and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Types of Intelligence -SPEARMAN: described general intelligence (g) and specific types of intelligence (s) -THURSTONE: people have 7 primary abilities: verbal comprehension, number ability, word fluency, spatial visualization, association memory, reasoning, and perceptual speed Sternberg's Triarchic Theory -the triarchic theory of intelligence states that intelligence comes in 3 forms: 1) Analytical Intelligence -the ability to analyze, judge, evaluate, compare, and contrast 2) Creative Intelligence -the ability to create, design, invent, originate, and imagine 3) Practical Intelligence -the ability to use, apply, implement, and put ideas into practice -students with high analytic ability tend to be favoured in conventional schooling -they often do well under direct instruction, in which the teacher lectures and gives objective tests -these are the students who are considered "smart", show up on high level tracks, do well on traditional tests of intelligence, etc. -children who are high in creative intelligence often are not "top students" -they may not conform to their teachers' expectations of how assignments should be done, and may give unique answers to questions -often, the teacher's desire to improve student's knowledge suppresses creative thinking -children who are practically intelligent often do not relate well to the demands of school -they may have excellent social skills and common sense Gardner's 8 Frames of Mind -there are 8 types of intelligence 1) Verbal Skills -the ability to think in words and to use language to express meaning 2) Mathematical Skills -the ability to carry out mathematical operations 3) Spatial Skills -the ability to think 3-dimensionally 4) Bodily-Kinesthetic Skills -the ability to manipulate objects and by physically skilled 5) Musical Skills -the sensitivity to pitch, melody, rhythm, and tone 6) Interpersonal Skills -the ability to understand and effectively interact with others 7) Intrapersonal Skills -the ability to understand oneself and effectively direct one's life 8) Naturalist Skills -the ability to observe patterns in nature and understand natural and human-made systems Evaluating the Multiple Intelligence Approaches -Sterberg and Gardner's approaches have stimulated educators to think more broadly about what makes up children's competencies and to develop programs that instruct students in multiple domains -they have contributed to interest in assessing intelligence and learning in innovative ways (i.e.: by evaluating student portfolios) -e.g.: Learning Through the Arts (LTTA) Program -some psychologists think argue that a research base to support the 3 intelligences of Steinberg or the 8 intelligences of Gardner have not yet emerged -people who excel at one type of intellectual task are likely to excel in others -thus, individuals who do well at memorizing lists of digits are also likely to be good solving verbal problems and
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