Journals: Child Development and Teaching
#1. Video Example 1.4: Brain Research http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLiP4b-TPCA (Links to an external site.) In this video, Dr. Jack Shonkoff, founder of the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University, presents the importance of positive early childhood experiences based on what scientists have learned by studying the brain. What should teachers of infants and toddlers do to “build” babies’ brains? How can preschool teachers support children who experience extreme stress in their daily lives?
The YouTube video on brain research emphasis on the role of the brain in childhood development. The speaker notes that the behavior that a child adopts later in life is directly a product of what the brain learns from the child’s early experiences. In this context, the brain is presented as adapted to be shaped by the experiences of children (Shonkoff, 2009). The speaker notes that during the early years of life, especially from pregnancy until the age of 3 years, the child needs appropriate nutrition, protection, and stimulation for healthy brain development. Additionally, he cites recent advances in neuroscience that have brought new evidence about the brain architecture of the child during this period. For example, the brain of a child is built in the first years of life at a blazing speed. During the brain-building process, genetics and lived experiences: adapted nutrition, protection, stimulation through play and speech, attention, and interaction from those involved in the development process influence neural connections (Shonkoff, 2009).
This combination of innate and acquired experiences form the foundation of the future of the child. As a result, building toddlers’ brains require that the toddlers are not only well nourished but also exposed to positive experience that have a positive impact in shaping and nurturing their brains. Similarly, pre-school teachers can support children that experience extreme stress by engaging them learning experiences that reshape their brains away from experiences that put stress them on them.
Question #2 Section 1.2 of Textbook: Dimensions of Effective Intentional Teaching In section 1.2, how does the text define an intentional teacher? Reread the Characteristics of Professional Intentional Early Childhood Teachers in Figure 1.3. Which ones are the same positive approaches to learning that children need to develop? What other ways could this teacher intentionally support children’s enthusiasm and engagement?
Intentional teaching is defined as teaching with a purpose that can be defined. This teaching method entails presenting a subject fractionally, checking the level of understanding, and ensuring active and fruitful participation of all students, thus it is particularly appropriate for learning reading, mathematics, grammar, mother tongue, science, history, and, in part, foreign languages (Allen & Kelly, 2015). Essentially, the mentioned approach is suitable for young students, slow learners, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the better-performing learners. Moreover, effective teachers use instructional, explicit, systematic, instructional-oriented, and, most importantly, use intentional instructional practices to enable students to acquire basic knowledge. This observation is true in many countries that are adopting very different school systems. Certain dimensions associated with effective schools seem to “transcend” cultures. The learning gains observed in the various environments seem to be associated with a type of common pedagogical approach among teachers: directive and explicit teaching.
An important distinction is needed when considering relationships and possible causal links between teaching and learning. It can be argued that the definitions of teaching and learning are logically and causally related. There would not be a need to teach if it were not necessary to learn (in the same way as the notion of explanation is related to the notion of understanding, without being causal). Furthermore, there is a relationship of involvement: the activity of teaching leads to the learning activity. The aim of intentional teaching is not to change the behavior of people, for example, by making them learn, but to transform behavior into action”. Besides, according to intentional teaching, one can learn without teaching and can teach without learning thus teaching is not necessary condition for learning. However, teaching increases the likelihood of the occurrence of learning. The same positive approaches are required of children. They must show willingness to learn and actively engage themselves in the learning process. This way, learning experiences becomes not only purposeful but also interesting. The teacher could further intentionally support children’s enthusiasm and engagement by coming up with activities and approaches that are interesting and engaging, in addition to involving the children in developing such activities.
Allen, L, & Kelly, B. B. (2015). Transforming the workforce for children birth through age 8: a unifying foundation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press
Shonkoff, J. P. (2009). The science of brain development. Harvard Graduate School of Education. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLiP4b-TPCA