Throughout the semester, we covered many different topics. Although many were significant, Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, as well as the differences between his and Vygotsky’s views on Egocentric Speech, Autism spectrum disorders, metacognition, and self- regulated learning seemed to be some of the more major topics we covered during this semester. Piaget’s Theory of cognitive development isn’t an idea that is accepted by many. It was criticized for many different things such as overlooking cultural factors and underestimating children’s cognitive abilities. Specifically, his stages of cognitive development were the most criticized.
Piaget’s theory of cognitive development has four stages. Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational, and Formal Operational. During the Sensorimotor stage, a child learns through reflexes, senses, and movement (Woolfolk 49). During the Preoperational stage, a child begins to develop language and use symbols to represent objects (Woolfolk 49).
A child will also be able to think logically in one direction. In the Concrete Operational stage, they understand the past, present, and future. They can also think logically about hands-on problems (Woolfolk 49). Lastly, during the Formal Operational stage, a child thinks hypothetically and deductively. They also can see from another’s perspective about a topic (Woolfolk 49). These stages often were criticized.
According to the article, “The Enduring Influence of Jean Piaget” by J. Roy Hopkins, there were three main criticisms. However, one stood out to me as I agreed with this particular criticism. “Piaget’s theory implies that formal operations of intelligence are attained at puberty, around age 11 or 12 (Inhelder & Piaget, 1958)” (Hopkins). Hopkins mentioned that if this were true, many college students would not meet the standard for formal operations. Then again, Piaget “began publishing scientific articles on mollusk shells when he was 15, and whose first paper a report on an albino sparrow – was published when he was 10!” (Hopkins). The age expectations for each stage, especially the formal operational stage, were overestimated.
Vygotsky’s Theory of Cognitive Development was quite different from Piaget’s in many aspects. Piaget thought that Egocentric speech indicated the inability to see things from another perspective, while Vygotsky saw its’ purpose to be for self-guidance and self-direction (Woolfolk 64). Vygotsky also thought that this type of speech became more internal rather than audible as a child grew older. Rather than declining with age as Piaget proposed (Woolfolk 64). Vygotsky also believes that egocentric speech helps complete difficult tasks as it serves as a self-guiding function (Woolfolk 64), while Piaget did not correlate the two.
In the article, “Lev Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory” by Saul Mcleod, he provided support and agreed with Woolfolk, “Vygotsky proposed that private speech diminishes and disappears with age not because it becomes socialized, as Piaget suggested, but rather because it goes underground to constitute inner speech or verbal thought” (Frauenglass & Diaz, 1985)” (Mcleod).
Autism Spectrum Disorders affect 1 in 45 children ages 3 to 17 (Woolfolk 172). 75% of these cases were boys. ASD affects a child’s verbal and nonverbal communication. It also affects their social interaction. It is important to be able to understand how a student may act or behave if they do have this disability.
However, Asperger’s syndrome affects a student differently. They have the same fixations and restricted interests, but their speech is less affected. Their speech may be fluent but unusual (Woolfolk 172). According to Anita Woolfolk, Students who are Asperger’s diagnosed, also tend to have “average-to-above-average intelligence”. Aspergers is different from ASD and also affects each student differently. It is important to recognize these differences and accommodate them accordingly.
Metacognition was a very important topic that we talked about this semester. On page 358, it says “These executive control processes are sometimes called metacognitive skills because they can be intentionally used to regulate cognition” (Woolfolk). One example of metacognition would be when to skim and when to read carefully.
Another example would be determining if you have studied enough to pass a test (Woolfolk 359). These examples show metacognition because you are using your cognitive processes to reach a specific goal. there are individual differences in metacognition, and even essential skills. Such as planning, monitoring, and evaluating (Woolfolk, 359). Metacognition is important for students to develop because it can help them with independent comprehension and problem-solving.
Lastly, self-regulated learning is also important for students to practice. self-regulation is the process we use to activate and sustain our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions to reach our goals (Woolfolk, 463). self-regulated learners have the skill and the will to learn. These learners use a combination of academic learning skills, self-awareness, self-control, and motivation (Woolfolk, 463). Self-regulated learning is important because a student needs to be able to learn independently.
Personal Growth from Learning
Walking into educational psychology, I did not know what to expect. I figured that we might cover some of the same topics that were talked about in my general psychology class. well, that was true, we covered many more topics than I could ever think of. What I know now about educational psychology makes me better prepared for my future teaching career. teaching is not just about the methods by which you teach students. It is also about the relationships with your students and the understanding of how to approach each student, regardless of what they might look like, act like, or their past. Educational psychology taught me to be prepared to teach every student.
The concepts that were the most interesting to me were the ones that talked about students’ struggles, such as depression, anxiety, suicide, and learning disabilities. Each of these topics, I have personally experienced. Reading about how to help those students who struggle makes me happy to know that teachers are being taught to care about their students’ mental health. Mental health is so important for students and teachers alike.
In my virtual and in-person observations, I’ve learned a lot of things about what it’s like to teach. I got to experience the struggles of a first-time teacher, as well as the achievements of a teacher who’s been struggling to adapt to Covid-19 guidelines. This experience opened my eyes to what it’s like to teach, especially in a time like this. I observed these teachers adapting and changing their plans mid-way through their lesson just because they found a better video or had a different idea for an activity.
These teachers were very well prepared and have learned to adapt as they go, but also be organized and planned out. I have gotten to see their lesson plans that they have written. They had very detailed specifications. If I had to take one thing that I have gained personally, it would be experiencing. This experience overall changed my view on teaching. Especially, how much time and effort goes into just planning one day’s lesson.
Classroom Applications of Learning
There are many different aspects of classroom management and strategies that I would incorporate into my future classroom. However, I have chosen my top three. In my future classroom, I will use routines and procedures, as well as rules and disciplinary actions. I will also make my classroom warm and inviting for students.
Establishing classroom routines and procedures not only gets the students in a pattern but also saves more time for learning and less time preparing to learn. I will also save time by not having to repeat instructions over and over. Instead, the students are coming to class knowing what they need to do to be prepared and are ready to learn when I am ready to begin teaching.
Having classroom rules and disciplinary actions associated with them limits misbehavior and teaches the students that actions have consequences. Students will also have choices when deciding their consequence for their actions. I believe that it is important that students have a choice in the classroom, even when it comes to discipline. Students can also help me write the rules for the classroom so that every student is aware of the rules and has an understanding that they chose those rules. The rules will be enforced equally under almost any circumstance.
Lastly, having a warm, inviting classroom can increase motivation in students and limit anxiety of coming into class. I want my classroom to be a safe space for students so that they are comfortable to be who they are without fear of judgment and unequal treatment. As a teacher, I also will be warm and approachable so that my students are comfortable reaching out to me for help instead of struggling by themselves.
In my classroom, I will also have dedicated silent study areas and group study areas so that students feel free to choose whichever they are most comfortable with when given the option. In doing so, I will also not force partners if I notice that two partners are not getting along together or have trouble socializing.