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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
o Research design
o Research Question
o Independent Variable
o Dependent Variable
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
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
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
Carried out by teachers, administrators, etc. to improve the
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
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
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
o Examples: Alcohol, nicotine, prescription drugs, radiation, etc.
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
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
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
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.
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
o However, sometimes adults can often recover from an injury
Surviving neurons may modify their structure or
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.
Children‟s ability to process sensory information
o Vision at birth
Newborns can look at objects an follow it to keep them
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
o Infants like to look at:
Novel and complex stimuli
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
Need to know how perception typically develops so you can
recognize when children aren‟t developing “normally”
Characteristics of Children with Exceptional Needs
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”
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
New issues that arise in adolescence can make these
Development of Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills: movement of the head, body, legs, arms, and
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
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.
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.
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
For older children, there is little evidence that sports impact
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.
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
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
Lack of physical activity
Unintentional injury or violence
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.
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.
An affective disorder characterized by disturbances in cognitive and
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.
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
Believed that children actively construct knowledge of the
environment using what they already know to interpret new events
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.
o Our basic structures for organizing information. A web of
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
o Accommodation: Changing existing schemas to fit new
o 4 Factors Contributing to Cognitive Development:
Maturation of inherited physical development
Physical experiences with the environment
Social transmission of information and knowledge
Innate tendency to keep our cognitive structures
Disequilibrium: When we feel funny about not
o 4 Stages:
Everyone goes through each stage, cannot move
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
o Between 8-12 months: Actively
search for a hidden object.
2 to 5-7 years old
o The ability to use a word to stand for
a real object
o Pretend play
o Represent world through images and
Number Concepts- understand that:
o An array of items can be counted
o Each item should be counted only
o Numbers should be assigned in the
o The order in which objects are
counted in irrelevant
o The last spoken number word is the
number of items in that set
o Children‟s attempts to explain natural
phenomena using personal
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
o Children are developing these
understandings during the
o Theory of mind- Children‟s
understandings of people as mental
beings who have differing beliefs,
desires, and emotions.
18 months: imitate
18 months: understand
2 years: Orient an object
when showing to someone
3 years: Predict emotion
based on whether desire
4-5 years: Understand
false belief. Before they
don‟t understand that
someone doesn‟t know
Limitations of Preoperational Thinking
o Rigid: Can think logically in one
direction, but reverse thinking is
o Centration: Can only focus attention
on one aspect of a stimulus Concrete Operational
Mental operations accomplished in concrete
Understanding that things stay
the same regardless of
superficial changes in form or
Ordering objects in a logical
Grouping items by two or more
elements (matrix classification)
Organizing concepts according
to how they relate to one
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
o Propositional Logic
Ability to draw a logical
inference based on the
relationship between two
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
o Reasoning about probability
o Limitations and Criticisms of Piaget‟s Theory
Maybe his tasks were too complicated for the
Children can be trained to perform better on some
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Limitations of Vygotsky‟s Theory
o He places very little emphasis on physical maturation or
innate biological processes than most other developmental
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
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
o Cannot explain how children come to produce sentences that
they‟ve never heard before.
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.
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
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
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.
Requires joint attention or intersubjectivity (the sharing of a
Adults often help their children learn using infant directed speech or
motherese, which is emphasizing important words, using high
Most children begin to say single words around 1 year of age.
o Can understand mor