EDU 6132: Module 3_ Cognitive Development

Prompt: What are some general factors (Module 1) that have an impact on student development and learning? How will you adjust your philosophy of instruction to manage these factors and promote student achievement? What does the table (shown below) suggest about our ability to manage factors that influence student achievement? (I invite you to copy-paste the table into your reflection for reference.)

The general factors that have an impact on student development and learning are highly debatable.  Pressley and McCormick (2007), provide us with a visual chart depicting the debatable topics; Nature v. Nurture, Stage v. Continuous, Universal v. Culture-specific, Traits v. Situations, Active v. Passive, Lasting effects v. Transient effects (p. 16).  I believe very strongly that the environment that a child develops in will have much more influence than their DNA. Similarly, the culture will dictate the opportunities for learning to occur. I believe that learning occurs more gradually than just flicking a switch, and moving onto the next stage. Finally, I believe the child must be actively involved for learning to occur, and this will have lasting effects.

My philosophy of instruction is to be a facilitator of engagement, thinking, and growth within the classroom.  I hope to do this by utilizing an array of instructional techniques that require students to engage, think, and learn.  I hope to create a duality of engagement, where functioning properly, the students and I will be equally engaged.  I, in figuring out and adjusting their appropriate level of zone of proximal development (ZPD), and the students’ with the content. The ZPD, are tasks “children cannot accomplish independently but can accomplish with assistance” (Pressley and McCormick, 2007, p.156).

As a Special Education Teacher, I will encounter students with unique disabilities that will uniquely impact their ability to learn.  Each student will have specific learning goals stated in their individualized educational plans (IEP’s).  My instruction will focus on meeting each students IEP goals.  I find the HOPE standard, H2 – Honor student access to content material, to be applicable for this reflection. Each student’s disability will create a unique challenge.  I will need to create learning environments that will best accommodate these needs in order for the student to meet their IEP goals, while working with the class content material. I will include reflection time in my weekly schedule to assess what is working and what could be changed.

The table below speaks to our failure in meeting the needs of Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic populations that are represented in our schools.  These minority groups have been forced to function at a historical cultural disadvantage within the American society.  As a white male teacher, I will need to take every opportunity to learn about the different cultural aspects of my students, and incorporate this knowledge into my instructional practices, to be of best service, ensuring every student finds the content material accessible.  Improving the data on this chart will take intentionality in creating school cultures that will allow these minority groups to succeed.
chart module 3

Pressley, M. & McCormick, C. B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York, NY:

Guilford Press.


P3 – Practice standards-based assessment

P3 – Practice standards-based assessment.  Working in a special education self-contained resource room, this standard to me means trying to create opportunities for students to meet their IEP goals.  The evidence for this post is a journal entry from a student that was prompted to write about an animal they would be and why? 


This student has a writing IEP goal of being able to write a personal narrative piece using at least 3 paragraphs with proper indentation and organization. This evidence shows the student has the ability to generate enough ideas, but needs help with developing them further while improving the organizational structure. Marzano (2007) writes that using “academic notebooks allow students to make corrections in their thinking because they provide a sequential record of students’ understanding of the content” (p 56).  Using this premise for academic notebooks, I could have this student develop this writing further the next day.  The ideas could be broken down, details about flying, breathing fire, being able to roar, could be expanded to create three paragraphs.  In doing so, the student would be working towards meeting their stated IEP goals.  Developing more complex, detailed thoughts, while incorporating them into an academic journal, will be beneficial for the student. The use of graphic organizers could also be used at the start of writing to assist the student in the pre-writing process.  I would want to be clear with the student in regards to expectations that could be created, working towards the IEP goal.  Utilizing this writing for pre-assessment purposes, I have also gathered that lessons on punctuation, capitalization, and paragraph structure will also be necessary.  I would continue to use academic journals as learning opportunities for the student, and for assessment purposes that will help guide my teaching. 

Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for

Supervision and Curriculum Development.