In Chapter Three of Educational Psychology (Woolfolk, Winne, Perry, 2016) we take a look at the process of development for humans and in Chapter Eight we examine concepts surrounding knowledge and memory. Although at first glance these two subjects may not seem directly correlated there is a link between the physical development of the brain and the development of skills that relate to knowledge and memory.
In Chapter Three we look at different types of development that impact students- physical development and the social context for development as referenced in Bronfenbrenner’s (Bio)Ecological Model(Woolfolk, et al, 2016, p.64-69). In reference to the physical development we are looking particularly at the stages of growth and the effects of puberty on developing students. In Bronfenbrenner’s (Bio)Ecological Model we are looking at the relation of contextual impacts on a students life. I think what I found most interesting in the reading as it dealt with Bronfenbrenner is the focus on the microsystem of family and the impact of parenting styles on the outcomes associated for children. Baumrind’s 4 parenting styles may be based in correlation and no causation but the observable correlation between “Authoritative” parenting styles and happy, successful, engaged students as opposed to the struggles facing those raised by “Rejecting/Neglecting” parenting styles cannot go without consideration(1991 as cited in Woolfolk, et al, 2016, 72). As a parent who is attempting to raise children in an authoritative style it is interesting to have at least some anecdotal evidence that there is value in making the decisions, particularly those that are in reference to discipline, the way that we have been. Although it is a brief discussion I found it very interesting to compare and contrast Baumrind’s 4 parenting styles and the effects that each has on children.
In Chapter Eight we are introduced to the contrast between cognitive perspective and behavioural views in relation to the role of reinforcement. I think that this relates directly to Bronfenbrenner’s concepts surrounding the (Bio)Ecological Model’s microsystem and Baumrind’s Parenting styles. As we address students and the ways in which they learn if we believe that reinforcement is key and that reinforcement can either, according to the behaviorist, strengthen response or, according to the cognitive theorist, become a source of information then the microsystems that are closest to the student will have the largest impact by also most directly reinforcing behaviours. If we look back at Chapter Three these microsystems would be the students parents and their peers. The role of learning and cognition is therefore not independent of the context in which the learning is taking place. Students are directly impacted by these microsystems in their development and as such it is key to look at what type of leaning and cognition is being reinforced within each students microsystems.
In Chapter eight we also look cognitive views of memory. As we look at the cognitive processes that form memories and the different levels of memory that exist it becomes evident that we need to create lessons and opportunities that engage our students on different levels of these processes. As learners our students will engage short-term, working and long-term memory in becoming knowledgeable. As students gain both declarative and procedural knowledge it is important that we give them skills that will make this knowledge useful and accessible.
In this week’s readings I really connected to the ideas surrounding Baumrind’s 4 parenting styles and the way that microsystems impact our students. If we believe that reinforcement affects both knowledge and behaviour then it is important that we look at what type of behaviour is being reinforced in the different systems of a student’s life. I think it is fair to say that although the microsystems closest to the student (family, peers, etc.) will create a greater level of reinforcement it is important that we look at what is being reinforced throughout all levels of Bronfenbrenner’s (Bio)Ecological Model.
The second idea that I really connected to was the that in order to reach every student in the development of declarative knowledge it is important that we make the knowledge meaningful. As a teacher it is key to create lessons that are meaningful for all students. As Woolfolk et at state a meaningful lesson is “presented in vocabulary that makes sense, well organized, with clear connections, and make use of old information to help students understand new information” (2016, p.285). I think this is a key concept as we develop our skills in lesson planning. It is not easy to create a lesson plan that meets all that is required in terms of content, outcomes and indicators and still make it meaningful to all students but if we set that as one of our goals from the onset we are more likely to accomplish just that once in a while.
The question I am left with at the end of all of this reading is how we impact knowledge and behaviour as a teacher and how we overcome negative reinforcement. I wonder how we can impact the decisions and behaviour of students who are being raised in the “rejecting/neglecting” parenting style and are having negative behaviours reinforced by a negative peer group.