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Lecture Notes for the Entire Semester.
Lecture Notes for the Entire Semester.

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Lisa Dack

1/19/2012 4:31:00 PM  Understanding Research  Teachers do research: o to understand what is high quality research o learn how to collect efficient research for their own ideas o help students conduct research o sometimes it goes against common sense, so it is good to be informed on current research  Some definitions: o Research design o Research Question o Hypothesis o Variable o Independent Variable o Dependent Variable  Case Study  An in-depth investigation of one person or a small group.  Used when there just aren‟t many people to study  May learn a lot about the small group, but its hard to generalize because they could be weird cases. Vulnerable to „observer bias‟. Can‟t make conclusions about them Experimental Studies  Used to determine cause and effect.  Participants are randomly selected and randomly assigned to either a control or experimental group  3 essential characteristics: o researcher manipulates one variable o researcher measures whether this variable produces changes in another variable o researcher attempts to control for other factors that might influence results  Correlational Study  Tell us what factors are associated in a positive or negative way.  Used because they are easier to do, and for ethical reasons.  Advantages: Show relationships that are already established.  Disadvantages: Show an associated not a cause.  The variables can have a positive or negative correlation.  Positive correlation: X and Y variables are going up  Negative correlation: X is increasing, Y is decreasing.  3 Types of correlation o A causes B o B causes A o C causes A and B  Action Research  Carried out by teachers, administrators, etc. to improve the educational environments  Goal is to understand a problem or to improve teaching practices  Encourages teachers to problem solve and to think critically about their own teaching practices.  Image on page 37  Judging Study Quality  Generalizability  Reliability  Replication Physical Development 19/01/2012 4:31:00 PM Prenatal Development Period  From conception to birth  Follows a universal sequence that is mainly directed by genetic influences. But the environment can influence this development to a great extent.  Teratogens: any environmental substance or disease that causes abnormal development of the fetus. They are most harmful early on in the pregnancy, when the body parts and major organs are being formed. o Examples: Alcohol, nicotine, prescription drugs, radiation, etc. High-Risk Infants  Most babies are born between 38 and 42 weeks and usually weigh between 5 and 10 pounds.  Risk factors increase as the period of gestation and weight decreases.  Babies born with a low birth weight are higher risk Most common causes of low birth weight are prematurity, poor nutrition, and poor prenatal care. Also maternal age, her health, time since last pregnancy, etc. Implications of Being Low-Birth-Weight  Children born with a low birth weight are more likely to have mild learning disabilities, attention and concentration problems, asthma, and language delays Brain Development  Neural Plasticity o The ability of our brains to change in structure and function o Our brains are experience-expectant. They are programmed to do certain things, but the environment affects how this plays out. o Neurons that receive stimulation from the environment connections and develop others die out. This process is called pruning. The ones we use develop and flourish, ones we don‟t use just disappear.  “Critical Period” o This is an issue of debate o We know that our brains have less plasticity as we get older, but we also know that we can gain new abilities with practice and can recover function after injury.  Recovery After Injury o Sometimes after injury certain functions are never regained, but sometimes other areas of the brain will compensate. o The earlier the damage is sustained, the more likely they are to recover o However, sometimes adults can often recover from an injury  Surviving neurons may modify their structure or function  New cells may develop  Left Brain – Right Brain o 2 hemispheres of the brain that are connected to each other through the corpus callosum o the left side controls the right side of the body. Right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. o Some functions are localized to one hemisphere  Left: verbal, math, logical. More active when experiencing positive emotions  Right: Spatial relations, melodies. More active when experiencing negative emotions. o Though often thought true. There is no strong scientific evidence to categorize individual differences in learning styles according to left and right brain hemisphere specialization. o Both sides of the brain influence cognitive functioning than was previously thought. Perceptual Development  Children‟s ability to process sensory information  Visual Perception o Vision at birth  Newborns can look at objects an follow it to keep them in view  They can‟t see more than 7 or 8 inches in front of them  Adult like vision by 12 months o Motor development is thought to facilitate the development of depth perception o Infants like to look at:  Faces  Novel and complex stimuli  Auditory Perception o Fairly well developed at birth  Some babies might even be able to hear in the womb o Infants can discriminate between sounds that adults can‟t. It prepares them to learn their own language. o Develops rapidly during infancy but doesn‟t reach adult levels until elementary school  Taste, Smell, Touch o Babies prefer sweet fluids to other tastes, and they dislike sour and bitter tastes o Babies tend to have a strong sense of smell at birth. May play an important role in bonding. o Responsive to touch at birth  Important for brain development o Infants can feel pain, but there is no long-term effects from routine medical care. What are the implications for educators?  Children are attracted to things that are complex and exciting to look at.  Need to know how perception typically develops so you can recognize when children aren‟t developing “normally” Characteristics of Children with Exceptional Needs  People-first Language o All children should be viewed as children first. Their special needs are a characteristic, not all-encompassing.  Example: “child with autism”, rather than “autistic”  Learning Disabilities o Are not due to a lack of motivation or effort on the child‟s part o Are not due to poor teaching o Are not due to a lack of intelligence o Are not due to any temporary causes  They do not come and go. o A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language. Which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, speak, think, read, write, spell, or listen to do mathematical calculations.  Example: dyslexia, or difficulties processing language.  Possible Causes for Learning Disabilities o Heredity (tend to run in families) o Problems during pregnancy or during birth.  Example: Alcohol, or lack of oxygen. o Incidents after birth.  Example: Head injury o Links to the home and child-rearing environments  Example: Lack of structure, teenage mothers, lots of children, etc.  Correlational not causational  Children with Learning Disabilities in the School Years o Wide range of academic learning problems  Some kids have difficulty in only one academic area, while others have difficulty in more  Differ in level of severity o They have at least average intelligence, but perform below grade level o Difficulties may be cognitive, perceptual, motor o May also have social or emotional problems  Example: Problems with peers, “expect to fail” o In adolescence, problems with self-concept, motivation, and social interaction tend to increase.  Potential Signs of Learning Disabilities (in our textbook)  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) o A commonly diagnosed behavior disorder (affects 7% of school age children) o Characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of activity, concentration, distractibility, and impulsivity. o More frequent in boys than in girls o Common Myths about ADHD (in textbook)  Not all children with ADHD are hyperactive  ADHD is a fad of recent times, with little to support it th  Reports of ADHD go back to the mid-19 century  ADHD is primarily the result of minimal brain injury  Using drugs for ADHD can easily turn children into drug abusers  There is not evidence to support this.  ADHD disappears in adolescence  Not true, they just learn how to deal with it. o DSM Indicators of ADHD (in textbook) o ADHD And Schooling  Formal education is difficult for some children with ADHD  But they don‟t qualify for special education. Always treated on an individual basis  Sometimes have poor social skills that can lead to social rejection. Can lead to depression or behavior problems.  Some children with ADHD outgrow their symptoms while many do not.  More likely to drop out, fail a grade, be suspended, etc.  New issues that arise in adolescence can make these issues worse. Development of Gross Motor Skills  Gross motor skills: movement of the head, body, legs, arms, and large muscles.  Babies usually start to crawl around 8 and 10 months of age. Now it may be later because research is suggesting that babies are now put to sleep on their backs (on the front was a major cause of sudden infant death syndrome).  Walking usually starts between 10 and 15 months of age. But now it seems that it tends to start later, maybe even after their first birthday.  Coordination improves through preschool and middle childhood. Development of Fine Motor Skills  The skills that involve small body movements. o Example: Cutting, drawing, writing, etc.  Around 5 months. Reaching and grasping things  Around a year. Pincer grasp.  Age 5. Handedness  Age 5-6. Children start to write single letters, but not equal size until age 7.  Age 10-12. Being to manipulate objects like an adult. Gender Differences  Girls tend to walk earlier than boys. o But within a few years, boys usually outperform girls on most gross motor skills.  Why? Boys are more encouraged and expected to do these things, so boys get more opportunity to practice and believe they‟re better at physical activities. Sports Participation  Some children start to join sports leagues at 4 or 5.  May help motor skills develop and encourage certain social skills.  Some children are not yet physically ready and can lose interest in sports or get injured. So some discourage competitive sports before age 6.  For older children, there is little evidence that sports impact academics negatively.  In girls, sports participation has shown to increase self-esteem, confidence, and career aspirations. They are also less likely to drop out of school, lower rates of sexual activity, and pregnancy. Physical Changes  Attractiveness o Both children and adults tend to attribute more positive characteristics to attractive people. o One study found that girls deemed “unattractive” received lower grades, more likely to drop out of school, and become teenage mothers.  Puberty o The period in which a young person becomes capable of sexual reproduction. o Graph of when girls start puberty (from text) o When does male puberty begin?  About 2 years later than girls o Effects of Puberty  Puberty often leads to changes in self-image, self- confidence, family relations, mood, relations with the opposite sex, and many other behaviors.  Early and late maturity can be very difficult for changes. o Early Maturity  Girls: Can initially enhance popularity and social competence, but may then lead to emotional difficulties and problem behaviors  Boys: May enhance self-esteem and popularity, but may also be associated with deviant behavior. Sometimes they are given more responsibility than normal, because they are bigger. Special Health and Safety Concerns in Adolescence  Unhealthy diet  Eating disorders  Lack of physical activity  Smoking  Drinking  Unprotected Sex  Unintentional injury or violence  Depression  Suicide Adolescent Sexuality  A large percentage of adolescents are sexually active  Compared with adults, adolescents are at a higher risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases.  Need to start talking about it in schools earlier than in high school.  It is better to be honest about contraceptives, STDs, etc. Substance Abuse  Almost 90% of adults who die of smoking related illnesses started smoking as teens  Adolescents who haven‟t tried drugs or alcohol by age 21 are unlikely to try it. Depression  An affective disorder characterized by disturbances in cognitive and behavioural functioning  Children with depression are often unable to concentrate, feel hopeless, have weight changes and sleep problems, are inactive or overactive, have slowed thinking, have low motivation and energy, and fatigue, are unable to have fun, and sometimes think of death  20-25% of adolescents report mild feelings of depression and 4% are severely depressed  In adolescence, more common in girls  Associated with poor school achievement, substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, anxiety and eating disorders, and suicide. Suicide  Girls mark more suicide attempts, but boys are more likely to die.  Rarely an impulsive reaction to a distressing even, there are usually signs leading up to it. o Research shows that adolescents may be absent from school for long periods of time before committing suicide. o Example of sings: Looking for support, saying goodbye, giving away prized possessions, etc. Cognitive Development 19/01/2012 4:31:00 PM Piaget  Believed that children actively construct knowledge of the environment using what they already know to interpret new events and objects  He was much more interested in how children think rather than what they know.  Believed that cognitive development involves changes in a child‟s ability to reason about the world around them.  Schemas o Our basic structures for organizing information. A web of knowledge. o Basically a concept map. o As children progress through Piaget‟s stages of cognitive development, they become increasingly able to use complex and abstract schemas of organizing knowledge. o Assimilation: Molding new information to fit with our existing schemas. o Accommodation: Changing existing schemas to fit new information. o 4 Factors Contributing to Cognitive Development:  Maturation of inherited physical development  Physical experiences with the environment  Social transmission of information and knowledge  Equilibration  Innate tendency to keep our cognitive structures in balance.  Disequilibrium: When we feel funny about not knowing something. o 4 Stages:  Everyone goes through each stage, cannot move backwards  Sensorimotor  Birth to 1.5-2 years old  Development of goal-oriented behavior. Using deliberate actions to reach a goal. o Example: Knowing to turn a container upside down to get things out   Development of object permanence. The understanding the objects continue to exist when they cannot be seen o Between 4-8 months: Kinda look for hidden objects o Between 8-12 months: Actively search for a hidden object.  Preoperational  2 to 5-7 years old  Representational Thinking o The ability to use a word to stand for a real object o Pretend play o Represent world through images and symbols  Number Concepts- understand that: o An array of items can be counted o Each item should be counted only once o Numbers should be assigned in the same order o The order in which objects are counted in irrelevant o The last spoken number word is the number of items in that set  Intuitive Theories o Children‟s attempts to explain natural phenomena using personal experiences o These theories (which are usually wrong) get so well formed that they become hard to change.  Piaget believed that children in this stage had a poor understanding of the mind o Saw children as egocentric (perceiving, understanding, and interpreting the world in terms of the self) o Children are developing these understandings during the preoperational period o Theory of mind- Children‟s understandings of people as mental beings who have differing beliefs, desires, and emotions.  Examples:  18 months: imitate intended consequences  18 months: understand diverse desires  2 years: Orient an object when showing to someone else  3 years: Predict emotion based on whether desire is fulfilled  4-5 years: Understand false belief. Before they don‟t understand that someone doesn‟t know something.  Limitations of Preoperational Thinking o Egocentrism o Rigid: Can think logically in one direction, but reverse thinking is difficult o Centration: Can only focus attention on one aspect of a stimulus  Concrete Operational  Mental operations accomplished in concrete operational stage o Conservation  Understanding that things stay the same regardless of superficial changes in form or physical appearance o Seriation  Ordering objects in a logical progression o Classification  Grouping items by two or more elements (matrix classification)  Organizing concepts according to how they relate to one another (hierarchal classification)  Formal Operational  11-12 and on o Some full grown adults might not reach this stage  Thinking shifts from the real to the possible o Ability to think about things never experienced, generate ideas about things that never happened, make predictions about the future o Abstract thought  4 Key Characteristics of Formal Operational Thinking: o Propositional Logic  Ability to draw a logical inference based on the relationship between two statements o Scientific Reasoning  Form hypotheses, figure out how to test them, and rule out those that are wrong o Combinatorial Reasoning  Figure out how to exhaust all possibilities when solving problems o Reasoning about probability o Limitations and Criticisms of Piaget‟s Theory  Research methods.  Maybe his tasks were too complicated for the children.  Children can be trained to perform better on some Piagetian tasks  Are the stages universal? o Even though there are these limitations and criticisms, his theory is still one of the most believed field for psychologists.  Why this is important o Understanding the stage each student is at o School should be about “learning how to learn” o Exploration and hands-on opportunities help students create their own meanings o Social interactions help children obtain conflicting opinions and reconcile their ideas with others‟ ideas (accommodation) as well as understand others‟ perspectives. Vygotsky  Believed that social interactions shape learning: o You can‟t understand a child‟s development without understanding the culture in which the child is raised. o Cognitive development occurs as children internalize the products of their social interactions o Unlike Piaget, Vygotsky believed that knowledge is co- constructed between people. This means that children learn with others.  Scaffolding o Adults and peers scaffold learning o The process by which adults (or peers) provide support to a child who is learning to master a task or problem  Verbal assistance: Giving a child prompts while reading, flash cards, etc.  Physical assistance: Pencil grips, holding someone‟s arms to teach them how to hold a racket, etc.  Zone of Proximal Development o The gap between what children can do on their own and what they can do with the assistance of others o Vygotsky believed that interactions between a child and an adult (or a peer) that are in the child‟s zone of proximal development help the child move to a higher level of development. o “what the learner could learn with guidance.” The teaching space between boring and impossible.  Role of Language in Development o Vygotsky believed that language is very important for cognitive development. o He identified 3 stages in children‟s use of language:  Social Speech: Language is used primarily for communicative functions. Using language only to get the point across.  Egocentric Speech: Using speech to regulate behavior and thinking.  Inner Speech: Internalize egocentric speech. Doing the same thing as the child, but doing it inside one‟s head. o Role of Private Speech (Egocentric Speech)  Self-regulatory function. A way for children to guide their thinking and behavior  Young children have to work things through out loud. Later move to quiet whispers, followed by inner speech  Research suggests that private speech is a valuable tool for learning  Teachers need to encourage and model this when students are having difficulty.  Role of Peer Interactions in Development o Children influence each other‟s development through collaboration  When children work together on problems they have to come to a mutual understanding. o Sometimes peer interactions are of limited benefit for developing thinking skills because the children may be unable to provide each other with the guidance that adults or older children can.  Limitations of Vygotsky‟s Theory o He places very little emphasis on physical maturation or innate biological processes than most other developmental theories. o He did not specify the specific cognitive processes that are part of development. He never really explains what changes in the brain. Key Differences between Vygotsky and Piaget  Piaget: Development before learning. Vygotsky: Learning before development.  Piaget focused more on biological aspects. Vygotsky focused more on social aspects.  Piaget: more individual. Vygotsky: more social.  Piaget: Egocentric speech, no role in development. Vygotsky: Egocentric speech helps organize and regulate thinking. Applying Piaget‟s and Vygotsky‟s Theories in the Classroom (Diagram in Textbook) Language and Literacy Development 19/01/2012 4:31:00 PM What is language and literacy?  Language: A symbolic system in which a series of sounds make words to represent an idea, an object, or a person and eventually becomes the medium through which we think.  Literacy: The ability to construct and express meaning through reading, writing, and discussing texts. o But not just limited to printed text. Also music, visual, artistic, technological, media, etc. Nature vs. Nurture  Nurture – Behaviourists o Learning language is totally dependent on environmental factors o Cannot explain how children come to produce sentences that they‟ve never heard before.  Nature o Children in every culture begin to learn language at the same age, and they learn it in the same sequence. o Must be due to biological maturation o Some believe we have an innate genetic component that provides children with the necessary grammar. Activated as the child matures. Chomsky  Believed that children are born with a language acquisition device o Programmed to recognize the universal rules and grammar that underlie all languages o Activated as the child matures  Believed that environment only determines which language a child learns to speak. Nature and Nurture  Its likely that its both nature and nurture that contribute to language development o Must mature cognitively in order to learn language, but we need the influence of the environment  Current View: Adults and older children scaffold natural language development in the young child. They make up the language acquisition support system, which helps the language acquisition device. Baby Signs  Using signs with hearing babies to facilitate communication  Goal is to reduce behavior problems that can stem from frustration that infants have when they cannot express themselves, and to enhance socioemotional and intellectual development.  One study encouraged parents to use their own invented gestures as well as some target gestures.  Infants whose parents used signs showed greater gains in early language skills but no advantage at age 3. o Could be because using gestures encouraged parents to use more infant directed speech, pay more attention to their infants‟ interests, and use more effective scaffolding.  Parents also reported more positive interactions with their infants. Felt they could understand their infants requests better  What may matter the most is that parents attune themselves to their infants in a variety of ways, using non-verbal communication when it is helpful. But many do this naturally. Learning Language  Requires joint attention or intersubjectivity (the sharing of a common focus)  Adults often help their children learn using infant directed speech or motherese, which is emphasizing important words, using high pitched speech First Words  Most children begin to say single words around 1 year of age. o Can understand mor
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