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Chapter 4

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PSYC 3800
Jen Lasenby- Lessard

Chapter 4 Language and Labeling  Every child has unique collection of strengths and challenges that relate to learning and development. All children in this sense are considered “exceptional.”  Exceptional students: students who have high abilities (e.g., math, art) in particular areas or disabilities (e.g., learning disabilities, developmental delays, brain injury) that impact learning and may require special education or other services  Labeling students is a very controversial issue – it does not tell a teacher which strategies are appropriate to use with individual students  Labels can become self-fulfilling prophecies – everyone may see a label as a stigma that cannot be changed  Labels are mistaken for explanations – textbook example: “Chris gets into fights because he has a behaviour disorder.” “How do you know he has a behavior disorder?” “Because he gets into fights”  Some argue applying labels protect a child – if people know that a student has a disability they will be more willing to accept his/her behaviour  Labels can both stigmatize and help students Disability: The inability to do something specific, such as walk or hear Handicap: A disadvantage in a particular situation, sometimes caused by a disability (i.e., Being blind (visual disability) is a handicap if you want to drive) People- First Language  Describing a complex person with one or two words implies that the condition labeled is the most important aspect of the person  Instead use “People-first” language – refer to students as “students with developmental disabilities,” or “students placed at risk” – emphasis is now on the students first, not on specific challenges students face  Avoid any pity language and when person with a disability is present talk to them and not about them with whoever they are with Intelligence  Intelligence: Ability or abilities to acquire and use knowledge for solving problems and adapting to the world  Plato discussed similar variations of the definition of intelligence over 2000 years ago. Most early theories involved one or more of the following three ideas 1. The capacity to learn 2. The total knowledge a person has acquired 3. The ability to adapt successfully to new situation and to the environment in general Raymond Cattell and John Horns theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence  More helpful in providing explanations of human abilities  Fluid Intelligence: mental efficiency that is culture-free and non-verbal and is grounded in brain development  Fluid intelligence increases until late adolescence (approx. 22 yrs), and then gradually declines with age – sensitive to diseases and injuries  Crystallized Intelligence: ability to apply culturally approved problem-solving methods  Can increase throughout life because it included learned skills and knowledge  Many tasks in life draw on both types of intelligence Hierarchical Model of Intelligence  Most widely accepted view today is intelligence, like self-concept, has many facets and is a hierarchy of abilities – general ability positioned at top, and more specific abilities at lower levels  General abilities may be related to maturation and functioning of the frontal lobe  More specific abilities related to other parts of the brain Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory  There are at least eight separate intelligences: linguistic, musical, spatial, logical-mathematical, bodily- kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist  He stresses there may be more kinds of intelligences, not just 8  Has recently speculated that there may be a spiritual or an existential intelligence or ability to reflect contemplate questions about the meaning of life  Individuals may excel in one of these 8 areas but have no remarkable abilities in the other 7  Bases his theory of separate abilities on evidence that brain damage often affects function in one area but not in others  Believes intelligence has a biological base. An intelligence is a “Biopsychological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems or create products that are of value in a culture”  While Gardner stresses his theory is not an educational intervention, many educators and schools have embraced his ideas – believe MI practices increase achievement, improve student discipline and parent participation Evaluations of MI Theory  While many educators embrace it, has not received wide acceptance in the scientific community  No published studies that validate theory  The eight intelligences are not independent – correlations among some  Some critics suggest several intelligences are either talents or personality traits  No strong research to prove that adopting a MI approach will enhance learning Intelligence as a Process Robert Sternberg’s Triachic Theory of Intelligence  Is a cognitive process approach to understanding intelligence, or successful intelligence  Triachic Theory of Intelligence: A three-part description of the mental abilities (thinking processes, coping with new experiences, and adapting to context) that lead to more or less intelligent behaviour  Uses the term successful intelligence to stress intelligence is more than what is tested by mental abilities measures – intelligence is about life success, based on your own definition of success  The theory has 3 parts: analytic, creative, and practical intelligence  Analytic: involves mental processes of the individual that lead to more or less intelligent behaviour. Some process are specific – may be only necessary for only one kind of task (i.e., solving)  Creativity: involves coping with new experiences. Intelligent is marked by two characteristics: o Insight: ability to deal effectively with novel situations and find new solutions to problems and; o Automaticity: ability to become efficient and automatic in thinking and problem solving  Practical: highlights the importance of choosing an environment in which you can succeed, adapting to that environment, and reshaping it if necessary. o People who are successful often seek situation where their abilities will be valuable – work hard to capitalize on these abilities and compensate for any weaknesses (i.e., career choice, social skills) Measuring Intelligence  Mental age: in intelligence testing, a score based on average abilities for that age group  Intelligence quotient (IQ): Score comparing mental age and chronological ages  Deviation IQ: score is a number that tells exactly how much above or below the average a person scored on the test, compared with other in the same age group  Alfred Binet developed the Stanford-Binet test, an individual intelligence test. Administered to one student at a time by a trained psychologist and takes 2 hours. Most questions are asked orally and a student is more focused and motivated to do well when working with an adult.  Average score is 100 – 50% of the people from the population will score 100 or above and 50% will score below 100  68% of general population will score between 85-115 and only 16% will score below 85, and only 16% will score above 115  Group tests have also been developed although they are less likely to paint accurate picture of any one persons abilities. Students may do poorly because they get distracted or may not shine at paper-and- pencil tests.  Important to ignore small differences in scores among students, keep in mind individuals scores may change over time  Consider scores as predictors of school abilities not measures of innate intellectual abilities, be wary of IQ scores for ethnic-minority students, and individuals whose first language The Flynn Effect: A steady rise in IQ test scores because of better health, smaller families, increased complexity in the environment, and more and better schooling  One result of this effect is that norms used to determine scores must be revised. So to keep a score of 100 as the average, test questions have to be made more difficult. Because of this some “average” students of the previous generation may now be identified as having intellectual disabilities because of the harder test questions  Implications for any program that uses IQ scores for admission requirements Sex Differences in intelligence  From infancy through preschool school years studies find few differences in overall mental and motor development or specific abilities  During school years and beyond no differences in general intelligence as tests have been designed/standardized to minimize sex differences  More boys diagnosed with learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism  In most studies sex differences, race and socioeconomic status are not taken into account  On average males score better on tests that require mental rotation of a figure in space, moving objects and navigating – possibly due to evolution has favored these skills in males or due to males more active play and participation in athletics  Girls in general tend to get higher grades than boys in math classes and females perform better on assessments of verbal abilities  Today most psychologists believe differences in intelligence are due to both hereditary and environment  Cognitive skills, like any other skills can improve  Intelligence is a current state of affairs affected by past experiences and open to future changes Learning and Thinking Styles  Li-fang Zhang and Robert Sternberg (2005) organized work on individual styles into 3 traditions: o Cognitive centered styles assess ways people access info (i.e., bring reflective or impulsive in responding) o Personality-centered styles assess more stable personality traits (i.e., being extroverted vs. introverted or relying on thinking vs. feeling) o Activity-centered styles assess a combo of cognition and personality that affects how people approach activities (differences between surface and deep approaches)  Surface-processing approach: focus on memorizing the learning materials, not understanding them – these students tend to be motivated by rewards, goals, grades and desire to viewed positively by others  Deep-processing approach: see learning activities as means for understanding underlying concepts or meanings – these students tend to learn for the sake of learning, less concerned about how performance is evaluated  Learning Styles: the way a person approaches learning and studying  Learning Preferences: Preferred ways of studying and learning, such as using pictures instead of text, working with other people versus alone, learning in structured or unstructured situations, and so on. (I.e., where, when, with who, music etc.)  Students, specifically younger ones may not be best judge of how to learn  Some prefer what is easy and comfortable and some prefer to learn in certain ways because there is no alternative – unsure of other approaches Students who are Gifted and Talented  Gifted Student: a very bright, creative and talented student  Children who are gifted are not just students who simply learn quickly with little effort – work of gifted students is original, advanced for age and of lasting importance  A classic study by Lewis Terman (followed gifted people) determined these children were larger, stronger and healthier than the norm. Began walking sooner, more athletic, more emotionally stable, become better adjusted adults  Reported lower rates of delinquency, emotional difficulty, divorce, drug problems  Problems with this study: teachers may have selected students who were better adjusted initially, only describes academically gifted students – there are other kinds of gifts  Studies of prodigies and geniuses in many field document that deep and prolonged practice is necessary to achieve at highest levels o Families of prodigies tend to be child-centered, devote hours to supporting development of child’s gifts, tremendous sacrifices made my families – children respond to families sacrifices by working harder, family responds by sacrificing more – upward spiral of investment and achievement  Incorrect to say every student with gifts and talents is superior in adjustment and emotional health – gifted students especially girls are more likely to be depressed and to report social and emotional problems, may be impatient with others who do not share same interest/abilities  When it comes to recognizing students special abilities teachers are only successful 10-50% of the time  Who is gifted? Ways to identify: remembers easily, concentrate for long periods of time, manipulate abstract symbols, developed language and reading early, curious, many interests, work is original and creative  Teaching methods for gifted students should encourage abstract thinking, creativity, and independence  Gifted students learn more when they work in groups with other gifted students High-Incidence Disabilities  Learning Disability: Problem with acquisition and use of language; may show up as difficulty with reading, writing, reasoning, or math – range in severity and result from impairments in one or more processes related to perceiving, thinking, remembering or learning  Higher incidence groups include: learning disabilities, communication disorders, developmental disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders  Most educational psychologists suggest both psychological and environmental bases for learning disabilities such as: brain injury, exposure to toxins before birth (i.e., smoked or drank), poor nutrition, lead-based paint in home, poor instruction  Genetics plays a role as well, 30 to 50% chance of having a learning disability if p
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