Thursday, April 25, 2013

Barb Rentenbach

Barb's presentation was unlike anything I've ever experienced before. At the beginning, she showed us how she uses facilitated communication, consisting of her typing her thoughts out letter by letter. While slow and tedious, it's the only way for her to convey her thoughts. She typed out the words, "dear utk autism is my prism not my prison." From there, her psychologist/facilitator proceeded to explain her idea of autism. Rather than it being a mental disorder or illness, she explains that it's simply a different type of brain. While us "normals" often see autism for its negatives, we should instead focus on the positive aspects. Barb feels as though "normals" go through life too quickly and forget to focus on the small, beautiful things in life that people with autism always notice and appreciate. I really enjoyed the presentation and learned a lot from it, however, I wish that Barb played a larger role in it. It would have been nice to hear more of her thoughts because my favorite part of the presentation was the Q&A. Her intelligence and sense of humor is amazing; she embodies the saying "don't judge a book by its cover."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chapter 5- Individual Differences and Special Education Needs

You have now read several views about intelligence. What do you think about intelligence? Is it one trait or many? More heavily influenced by nature or nurture? A fixed capacity or a modifiable ability? Articulate your views in a paragraph of 6-8 sentences.
In my opinion, intelligence is many traits combined in that it involves the complex interaction of many different mental processes. It's difficult to say whether or not intelligence is more heavily influenced by nature or nurture because so much of nature is affected by nurture, especially when talking prenatally. However, I would say that it's more influenced by one's environment because that is what can completely hinder a child or enable them to flourish. I also feel as though intelligence is a modifiable ability because it's always changing due to what one is doing and experiencing. Intelligence is all about using prior knowledge to understand new situations and apply what one knows to those new experiences. It's always changing and responding to new situations and problems. I agree most with Sternberg's Triarchic Theory because I see people every day that are more intelligent in one of the domains- analytical, creative, or practical intelligence. For example, I'm stronger in the area of practical intelligence rather than the other two.

English Language Learners and Immigrant Students

Teacher Preparation and The Education of Immigrant Children
A. Lin Goodwin
  • Immigrant students are experiencing difficulties adjusting to their new life in the U.S.
  • Oftentimes are lumped into the category of "students of color"
  • Teachers need to become prepared to educate these immigrant children because they are currently unprepared and overwhelmed
  • Teachers should promote cultural diversity in their classroom
Significant Quotes:
  • "Currently one in every five children enrolled in school is an immigrant." (157)
  • "Researchers have also found that many teachers joining the profession exhibit parochial attitudes and articulate a preference for teaching children like themselves in environments with which they are familiar." (158)
  • "Teachers continue to be predominantly White, female, monolingual, and middle class. Teachers of color, despite recruitment efforts, constitute less than 10% of the teacher's force." (158)
  • "Their participation in school quickly introduces them to (and seduces them into) "American" culture, which often results in children feeling ashamed of their home cultures." (165)
  • "Knowledge about their histories, culture, and life stories of immigrant families will be critical for teachers if they are to respond in culturally relevant and sensitive ways to immigrant children." (169)
  • What are some strategies to help students embrace their culture in the classroom rather than assimilating to American culture?
  • As educators, how do we step outside of what we know and become comfortable teaching children that are so different from us?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chapter 3 Song Activity

"Lean On Me"- Bill Withers
Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain, we all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on

Please, swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won't let show

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load
You have to bear that you can't carry
I'm right up the road, I'll share your load
If you just call me

2. Kohlberg's stage 3 level of moral reasoning: good boy/good girl (pg. 94)
3. This concept explains that when people reach this stage of moral reasoning, they begin making decisions based on what actions will please others, especially authority figures. They become more concerned about maintaining relationships through sharing, trust, and loyalty, and they consider other people's perspectives and intentions when making their decisions.
4. I focused more on the part of the theory that states people in this stage are concerned about maintaining relationships through sharing, trust, and loyalty. "Lean On Me" is all about having someone in your life that you can lean on and trust during hard times. While one may be going through a difficult time, there are always people around you to count on and ask for help.
5. I hope that my future classroom is a safe environment where my students feel like they have a group of 20 trusting and loyal companions. Learning can't take place in an environment where children don't feel accepted or trusted by their peers. One way I hope to promote peer acceptance and trust is to promote individuality in my classroom. For example, if a student speaks another language, I will include books or materials that contain some of that language so that student can become the expert. I never want my students to be afraid of being unique or different from their peers because those differences are what makes them great!

Chapter 3- Personal and Social Development

Personal and social development can have a major influence on both individual student learning and the learning environment as a whole. Identify a case from the CSEL guidelines that you would like to address in your paper. Then, examine the possible developmental factors that could be influencing your target student(s) or classroom in the case study. Consider all dimensions of personal and social development, including cognitive, language, social, and moral development.
In the elementary case study, Lisa is having trouble working in cooperative learning groups. When she isn't given her desired role, she refuses to participate in the activity. It seems as though Lisa hasn't yet developed to Erikson's industry vs. inferiority stage of development. This stage, usually occurring in elementary school, is when children learn to persevere at tasks until they are completed and put their work before pleasure. It's clear that Lisa doesn't understand the concept of working on something because it needs to get done, even if she may not enjoy her role.
Check out tables 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 with particular attention to the age ranges you are interested in teaching. Identify your personal favorite ways that an educator can promote a child's sense of self, perspective taking, and moral reasoning.
Sense of Self
Provide opportunities for students to look at one another's work only when everyone has something to be proud of.
Perspective Taking
As students read literature, ask them to consider why various characters might behave as they do.
Help students resolve interpersonal conflicts by asking them to consider one another's perspectives and to develop a solution that addresses everyone's needs.
Moral Reasoning
Use prosocial adjectives (ex. kind, helpful) when praising altruistic behavior.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Chapter 2 - Cognitive and Linguistic Development

One of the most cited theories of human development is that of Swiss biologist Jean Piaget. After reading about Piaget's basic assumptions (p. 27-32) look with particular attention at the stage of child development you would like to teach. How might you accommodate those students who have not yet developed to this stage?
As an elementary education minor, I plan to teach children ages 7-12, which lies within the concrete operational stage of Piaget's theory on child development. During this time, children can demonstrate logical and concrete reasoning. Children are becoming less egocentric and are more aware of their surroundings. They are also learning that their inner thoughts and feelings are very unique and others don't always understand or share those feelings. Students that have not yet reached this stage and are still in the preoperational stage base their thinking on intuition rather than logic. These students will have a difficult time grasping complex things such as time, comparing, cause and effect, etc. I will have to be sure to give more one-on-one attention to these students when teaching the complex concepts. I may also modify their assignments to best suite them. For example, when teaching complicated material like time, I'd be sure to use visuals and incorporate creativity into the assignments because these things cater to children in the preoperational stage.

The other most cited theory of human development belongs to Russian developmentalist Lev Vygotsky. Vygotssky's theory of cognitive development leads us to expect greater diversity among our same-aged students than Piaget. Given these two influential theorists' ideas on cognitive development, how might you accommodate students who are not yet working at the level of their peers?
I feel as though the best way to accommodate these students that are different levels would be to do whole class peer tutoring. Peer tutoring is a great way to address students at all levels. It also encourages socializing with peers, which Vygotsky expresses is very important to a child's development. I would also be sure to differentiate my instruction and assessment so my students are in the least restrictive environment.

Theories in educational psychology promote the idea that language plays a critical role in cognitive development. Examine Table 2.2 (p. 51), paying particular attention to the age range that you are interested in teaching. Consider how you might incorporate or adapt the strategies presented for use with your own students.
Because language plays such an important role in a child's cognitive development, I will be sure to include a word wall in my classroom. I want my classroom to be a print-rich environment so it will have labels throughout the room, posters expressing content and ideas, and a classroom library. My students will also have very rich imaginations so I will be sure to include things like reader's theatre which makes reading fun and creative.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chapter 10 - Social Cognitive Theory

Which of the learning activities/skills can you think of that lend themselves to learning through modeling?
There are numerous activities and skills that can employ modeling. One skill that comes to mind is practicing critical thinking skills and multiple choice problems. Teaching process of elimination is a can be done by displaying a multiple choice problem on the board and having the teacher walk through the process of elimination step-by-step. Afterwards, the students can then do their own multiple choice problem. Another skill that comes to mind is manners. If you want your students to be kind and polite to one another then one should model using good manners with the students as well as with their colleagues.

How might self-efficacy and self-regulation contribute to the intervention plans you use in your case study?
With my case study, I would help Lisa develop some self-regulation plans so she can realize when she is off-task. If Lisa realizes the number of times that she is disruptive or not paying attention in class, then we can discuss different ways of changing the things that she does. Also, I want to increase her self-efficacy by showing the gratification one gets after actively participating in group projects. I would also try to pick activities that I know she is particularly interested in to foster her self-efficacy.