Reflection 1 for Learners in Context

Prompt: For preassessment purposes, tell about what you know about child/adolescent development. Also, describe how your current knowledge of development informs your philosophy of instruction.

From the time we are born and as we progress through life there are life stages that the majority of people will pass through. As a prerequisite for the ARC program, I took a class about early childhood special education.  In this course we learned about several of the influential educators and their philosophies. The ones that I can remember are Piaget and his four stages of cognitive development, Montessori for her exploratory believes of children education, and Vygotsky for relating children’s’ environment to their development.  The text we used for this class was, An Introduction to Young Children With Special Needs Birth Through Age Eight, by Richard Gargiulo and Jennifer Kilgo.  In flipping back through the text, there are a lot of influential people that I have left out.

In my current position working in a middle school self-contained resource room, I haven’t found myself thinking about development.  I try to work with each student and assist them in basic writing, social studies, thinking skills, and developing positive relationships with their peers.   There is a large gap in the academic level and also the behaviors in the classrooms. I seek to be positive and supportive in my interactions with students while encouraging them to put forth their best effort.  I do think about the state standards and how I will incorporate them into the classroom. There is such a wide range in some cases that this will be very challenging to do. However, the standards have been crafted with stages of development in mind so this is perhaps how I will be thinking about development. 

This reflection addresses the Hope standard H1 – Honor student diversity and development.  This standard brings awareness to the endless potential differences that can exist within the human race.  The goal of Special Education is to provide services to meet the unique needs of each student.  In order to do so, it is essential to get to know each student as much as possible.  I find the best way that I can do this is to allow for thinking outside of any conventional developmental stages.  I need to be open to all potential behaviors and learning styles.  I like to be as encouraging and positive as I can be while trying to encourage my students to reach their own potential.