Discussion and two peer replies

After completing the required readings, please respond to the following:

1. Piaget often worried about American parents and their desire to speed up their children's development. What do you think about this? Is it possible or healthy for us to speed up a child's cognitive development?

2. Is there ever a need for rote memorization in the classroom? Explain your answer and give examples.

As always, please be SURE to reference material from the text when composing your responses. Please post your response to these two questions (together in 1 post) by Friday. Also, be sure to include a reply/reflection to 2 peer posts for this week.


Discussion 1 reply needed:

Week 2 Discussion J

1. Piaget had a belief which he called the “American problem” (p.49).  He was concerned that American parents wanted their children to hurry through developmental stages.  Piaget believed that development was cumulative and that new skills must be built upon previously learned skills.  It is believed that Piaget underestimated the ages at which children could perform tasks.  This may be why he felt that American parents were hurrying the process.

I do believe that American parents and schools too often expect and push children into tasks or skills to which they are not prepared.  There is tremendous pressure for children to perform at higher levels earlier and earlier in life. There is also the expectation that children should be able to master skills based upon age or grade level.  This is simply not the case with all children.  I have worked with many students who were not cognitively or emotionally ready to learn a certain skill.  It is not fair to believe every student is ready for the all the concepts presented in the classroom.  However, given proper support and educational background it is possible for many children to reach developmental stages earlier than Piaget claimed possible.  I believe we must expect students to perform at high levels, and then adapt to their individual needs.  Some students will achieve more than imagined, while others will need further guidance, support, and time.

2.  Rote memory is probably the style which most people associate with “learning”.  I remember being told by teachers that I just need to memorize the information to do well in the class.  To be honest, I know I have said the same thing to students over the years.  I think memorization does continue to be a useful role.  There is still a value to “know” math facts, or be able to recall dates of events or definitions of words.  Having this knowledge assists with the acquisition of further knowledge, as well as the speed which tasks can be completed.  I also think there is a self-esteem benefit to rote memory.  I know I see a sense of pride in students who are able to recall facts and information without the use of a device.  However, with the availability of technology there are ways to succeed without the memorization of information.  I personally do see the value of memorizing information, but I have many students who are able to effectively complete tasks as long as they have a calculator or access to the internet. 

Sternberg, R. J., & Williams, W. M. (2010). Educational psychology(2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.


Discussion 2 reply needed. K

In the book, Piaget explains that Americans have this idea that their children should develop at a faster rate than what they are prepared for; that we tend to push our children into accomplishing those milestones instead of letting them happen as they are intended. While I do not have children of my own, I remember doing this myself when my brother was born. There are 10 years between the two of us so I distinctly remember wanting him to accomplish those milestones. I wanted him to feed him a bottle, then I wanted him to have real food. I wanted him to crawl and then I wished he would hurry and walk. It hasn't stopped. I couldn't wait for him to get in school. Now I can't wait for him to go to college and get a career. We're just checking milestones and accomplishments off left and right. While my parents weren't overly pushy or concerned when he talked a little later than others, I was. Now that I'm older and I have friends who are having babies I see them hurrying through. After reading this chapter, I can't help but wonder if we are doing our children a disservice by not allowing them to progress on their own. I think that it is our job to work with children in order to develop cognitively. It is unfair to expect children to develop without being there to assist them and provide help. It is also unfair to keep a child from progressing because they are doing so ahead of schedule.  

I understand the idea of wanting to produce critical thinkers but I am also a realist. We literally just had this conversation amongst my social studies team yesterday. Another teacher was upset with us because we do require our students to do several sets of rote memorization. They told us that it was "completely useless because if our kids needed to know that they could just Google the answer" and that "we shouldn't teach the students anything that they can Google". I understand that some people agree with that. I work as a waitress/bartender in my spare time and let me tell you, it's one of the most mentally exhausting things I've ever done. A lot of our kids will go on to do really great and wonderful things. A part from that, a lot of our students will go on to get an "average" job, like my part time job. I have had to memorize an entire employee handbook, menu, drink ingredients, and ABC laws. Can I just look them up on Google if I want? Absolutely. Will my job allow me to do that? Nope. So I do have to use rote memorization. Therefore, equipping kids with the ability to memorize basic things will help them later on in life. While I do teach critical thinking skills and require students to learn for themselves, I do throw in memorizing vocabulary terms, Presidents of the United States, and states/capitals. Content related and helps out A LOT when we're talking about these places but it very much so helps these kids learn that memorization will be something that they will have to do in the future.

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