Category Archives: Child Study

Relating to discussion around the needs of children as learners, citizens, and developing human beings.

Parents Across America: A Detailed Critique of the Dangers of Screen Time for Young Children

[Here’s something from Diane Ravitch’s Blog that should interest and concern all teachers; I post it here as much for my future reference as anything else, as I am planning to write a couple of lessons on smart phones and screen time and their threat to education.]

Diane Ravitch's blog

Parents Across America (an independent group of parent activists that is critical of the commercialization and corporate takeover of education) has created a valuable resource about the effects of screen time on children. 

It is titled “Our Children @ Risk.”

The paper is 26 pages long. It contains extensive documentation.

It is a valuable resource in light of the profit-driven effort to promote EdTech in the schools without regard to is effects on children.

Here is the introduction:

“Children have a basic right to live in environments that promote their social, emotional and intellectual well-being. They have the right to grow up, and parents have the right to raise them, without being undermined by greed.” Susan Linn

“Parents Across America has developed a position paper and associated informational materials which detail a number of concerns about the invasion of EdTech* into our schools, and which we have collected under the…

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Concept Formation

Process of developing abstract rules of mental concepts based on sensory experience. Concept formation figures prominently in cognitive development and was a subject of great importance to Jean Piaget, who argued that learning entails an understanding of a phenomenon’s characteristics and how they are logically linked. Noam Chomsky has argued that certain cognitive structures (such as basic grammatical rules) are innate in human beings. Both men held that, as a concept emerges, it becomes subject to testing: a child’s concept of “bird,” for example, will be tested against specific instances of birds. The human capacity for play contributes importantly to this process by allowing for consideration of a wide range of possibilities.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Grievance (n.)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the noun grievance I recently wrote to attend a lesson on the French Revolution.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Strategies for Creating Cognitive Apprenticeships

During the month of July, I generally try to work on planning and professional development, so I’ve had my nose in both for the past three weeks. The summer’s reading is The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, which, 205 pages in, I have not found as useful to my own practice as I did The Cambridge Handbook of Literacy. Still, there are plenty of important ideas articulated in the book (Cambridge University Press has thoughtfully posted as a giveaway this PDF of the introduction to the book, by its editor, R. Keith Sawyer; if you search The Cambridge Handbook of Literacy, you’ll find a couple of different PDFs from its pages for free download as well.)

One of the first articles in this volume is by Allan M. Collins, who, as you can see from his Wikipedia page, is an important figure in the learning sciences. I like his ideas about cognitive apprenticeship. Here is an outline describing cognitive apprenticeship strategies that I took from his article and typed into a Word document.

I hope you find it useful.

 

 

Cultural Literacy: Dyslexia

Here is a short Cultural Literacy exercise on dyslexia to complement some other readings and worksheets posted below on cognition and learning,

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Understanding Memory

To add a third to the two Intellectual Devotional Readings on oppositional defiant disorder and learning I posted below, here is an Intellectual Devotional reading on memory and a reading comprehension worksheet to complement it.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Learning about Learning

Kids who struggle to learn need all the help they can get. I work to incorporate into my teaching practice–I have a category of curriculum I simply call “Focus on Learning Methods”–readings that describe the act of learning. If our struggling students can understand the learning process, then they can begin to understand their own struggles with it. From there, students have a real opportunity to learn how they learn, and begin approaching the demands of school with an understanding of how they can meet them.

So, what use for the special education teacher in this situation? Little to none, I would hope–that’s the point of this. The students is autonomous, and the teacher has done his or her job. A pint of ale and a few episodes of “Family Guy,” anyone?

One of the many projects I have going is a unit on learning on cognition. Needless to say, this Intellectual Devotional reading on learning and the comprehension worksheet that accompanies it would form one of the mainstays of such a unit.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.