My entire 24 years of existence, I have been around education. Whether it be my own education or the education that my mother provided to inner city students for 35 years, I have always been around education. I have come to the conclusion that my life is learning. My life is learning and teaching. My life and passion is teaching students in the inner city how to learn and reach their highest level of achievement in the classroom and outside in their community. Teaching students in the inner city is not only my passion but it is my heart and it is my soul.
I am very fortunate that since I have become a certified PK-12 Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, I have been able to educate students throughout the grade ranges: Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and Grades 6-12. I have had various experiences inside and outside of the classroom with students that has presented me with many different situations that I have learned and grown from. Due to the fact that I have been able to work with so many students at so many different ages, one of the things I strongly believe in is Piaget’s Developmental Theory. Piaget believed that as our age grows, our idea of the world grows (Elkind, PhD, 1989). However, every person is different. Although there are people in the world that have been through the same experiences, the way they dealt with specific situations, solved problems, etcetera, varied depending on the way their brain told them to react. Overall, the brain is an extremely powerful organ that controls our bodies along with our every move and our every thought.
In order for me to be successful as an educator, I need to think about the cognitive science of teaching and learning in my classroom. It is important for me to understand the mental representations of logic, rules, concepts, analogies, and images, along with the needs and wants of my students in order to service them the best way I can. When I understand this, I am also able to connect with my students on a deeper, more meaningful level. My students know and understand that I care about their success not only in my class but in other classes as well.
The video below is a very good representation of what I am dealing with now in my elemiddle setting with my middle school students. It is a great explanation for someone who is struggling in the middle school field who needs help understanding how to work with middle school students and why they do some of the things that they do.
Overall, in order to help students be successful and become lifelong learners, educators need to look at the full picture of the student, including the way that their brain functions. Without this, how can we truly be successful in the classroom?
Elkind PhD, D. (1989). Piaget’s developmental theory: An overview, part 1. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_EkfWS2Wks
Morris, M. & Gibson, M. (2013). Cognition education the middle school learner. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz7lC13TQMg