The Developing Child: Self- Concept

Critical Analysis: “How do differences between men and women, which have developed over many years, contribute o expectations about how male and female infants differ in temperament? In other words, in your view, do adults engage in what might be backward generalisation from adults to infants with regards to their opinions about the existence of gender differences early in life?”

After reading Boyd, D.G. and Bee, H.L. (2014, p.318) I could see that even during infancy parents start having an influence on how the infants view gender by the way they behave. It can also influence parent-infant relationships. In the text Boyd, D.G and Bee, H.L (2014, p.318) discuss that parents can respond positively to an infant girl who is calm. This is because their experiences and have led them to have this perception that this is ‘girly’ and therefore desired in an infant girl. If an infant girl behaves in a much more active way, this is seen as stereo typically masculine. Without sometimes realising parents can act disapprovingly because of their perceptions. This as a result leads to gender- bias expectations at it is inborn in the children inborn character.

After watching the video No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free? 21:00 16/08/2017, BBC2 England, I can see that, parents treating boys and girls differently even as early as infancy can affect how they perceive boys and girls. The video shows that boys and girls associate the word ‘strength’ with boys, that they have stronger muscles and cry much less. This is also discussed in the text McClure (2000) cited in Boyd, D.G and Bee, H.L (2014, p.318), who says that girls are often perceived as being much more emotional.

So, to answer the question; “do adults engage in what might be backward generalisation from adults to infants with regards to their opinions about the existence of gender differences early in life?”. From what I have read and watched I think that yes, parents do treat infants differently because of their perceptions, but these perceptions have probably come from the gender- difference perception their parents have and are influenced from how their parents treated them differently if they were a boy or a girl as infants.

I believe that as a teacher it is important to challenge these perceptions in a way that will help the children understand but also not to upset them. This is because, the video showed one of the boys getting very upset and angry when it turned out he wasn’t the strongest. One girl had greater belief in herself at the end of the strength test, this was fantastic to see. But, I think having a positive impact on one child shouldn’t result in having a negative impact on another. Therefore, changing these perceptions can be quite a difficult task to do effectively, but I believe it can be achieved. Involving the parents in this is a great idea as they influence their children’s thoughts and perceptions greatly.

References:

‘Gender Differences in Temperament: Real or Imagined?’ Chapter 10 (p318) of Boyd, D.G. and Bee, H.L. (2014). The Developing Child. 13th edn.

No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free? 21:00 16/08/2017, BBC2 England, 60 mins. https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand/index.php/prog/0F7AFD86 (Accessed 01 Oct 2018)

The International Baccalaureate

Reflective Activity One and Two:

  • How do the IB aims align with the main aims of CfE?

Firstly, there are 4 main aims of Curriculum for Excellence, these are:

  • Successful Learners, learners who can express their thinking and thoughts, meet challenges with a positive attitude and come up with the innovative solutions to problems.
  • Confident Individuals, these are individuals who are determined, have learnt about self-awareness, discipline is committed and confident in their learning. Showing this through drawing upon their knowledge, experiences, feelings and ideas.
  • Responsible Citizens: These are student that can explore ethical questions, respond to issues that are social and personal as well as develop morals and views.
  • Effective Contributors: this focuses on the ability for learners to express themselves creatively, work with others in a collaborative and cooperative way, showing initiative, leadership and enterprise.

These are known as the four capacities. The four contexts for learning are: Curriculum areas and subjects, Interdisciplinary learning, Ethos and life of the school, Opportunities for personal achievement.

After watching the video, I can see a very strong link and alignment between the aims of the IB and CfE. The IB aims are much more broken down, with very specific definitions. They are broken into 10 aims instead of four, but they cover very similar, if not the same aspects:

IB learners strive to be Inquirers, these are learners who ask powerful and knowledgeable questions to expand their learning and be lifelong learners. Knowledgeable learners are those the IB strive not only to explore locally but globally. They also strive for their learners to be:

  • Thinkers: Make decisions which are well thought out and many options have been investigated.
  • Communicators: Good listeners and confident in more than one language. This is very similar to confident individuals in CfE.
  • Principled: This is a large focus on the sort of people these students become, which is honest, fair and responsible.
  • Open- minded: This is focussed on developing critical appreciation for not only your own culture but for other cultures you may come across and explore.
  • Caring: Committed to serving the community, this aligns greatly with responsible citizens in CfE.
  • Risk takers: Courageous, resourceful and resilient.
  • Balanced: Taking care of personal wellbeing for themselves and those around them.
  • Reflective: thoughtful, realistic and hopeful for the future.

IB is highly focussed on their students, help them to become lifelong learner, which is also a focus in CfE. IB education help build understanding through enquiry and reflection, using independent research to gain understanding and is not only about their own knowledge but also about what else they can do. IB students are globally engaged, help face local and global challenges. Students learn content that is worth knowing and make connection through many fields of study. I would say that CfE is not as focussed globally as the IB, the IB really emphasises this area impressively. The IB aims to remove barriers and boundaries by improving pupil’s knowledge of other countries, their languages and culture. This is to build intercultural learning, understanding and respect towards every individual, enabling collaboration with others.

  • Have you experienced any aspect of the IB aims when working with children or in your own education?

I have experienced many aspects of the IB aims as a pupil myself and when working with pupils. I believe this is because many of the IB aims are like those of CfE. The only ones which I would say are not as closely looked at is how global the IB is. There are languages done in schools but there is not such a focus on it as there is within the IB, which is what makes the IB so unique. During each school day, as a student teacher is as trying to develop the children numeracy, literacy and Health & Wellbeing, which aligns with the IB. In contrast, when on placement I did get to experience seeing French lessons being taught, as well as looking at War and Peace across the globe now, not in the past but what is happening in the world currently. So, this shows that CfE does have some focus globally put perhaps isn’t recognised as globally as the IB. As a student teacher I have also experienced how important being aware of other people’s culture and background is in this profession and in teaching. The IB programme also aligns with CfE as it focuses on the teaching to be successful in the way that it is engaging, thought provoking, significant, challenging and relative. These characteristics will build pupils into successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. Both the IB and CfE focus on creating a safe, healthy and successful environment.

Health and Wellbeing

The main messages sent in Suzanne Zeedyk and John Carnochas videos, was all to do with the importance of early brain development in children. Both videos explained that babies are born prematurely compared to most mammals. Because of this baby’s brains are not only more fragile but also more flexible. They are not fully developed, and they continue to develop not only because of genetic codes but they also develop based on the relationships and environments they are presented with. As teachers we need to take into consideration that there are consequences to the brains we are asking children to develop. The pathways the brain makes in early years, will be the pathways that continue onto adulthood. If a child lives with domestic violence where there is a lot of shouting their brain has to develop to cope with those situations. Their brain is constantly monitoring when the next threat comes from, so they can’t have learn about a lot of other things in the world as they are too busy looking for threat. Cortisol: helps to cope with stress, if have this hormone all the time it starts to swamp the brain with the stress hormone. Brain is almost drowning in stress hormone.

We have to carefully consider the environment we present to children because their brains will develop in response to this environment. As Suzanna Zeedyk says in the video: “If we are giving them a world that is calm and predictable then their brain is developing in this and they will carry on this motorway system into adulthood and expect everything to be calm and predictable.”  Children need consistency in their life, and their only chance to have that may be in the classroom. If children haven’t built relationships it can have a very negative impact on them, they can then struggle to build relationships all throughout their life.

As teachers we need to consider what kind of brains we are asking children to develop and what kind of motorway systems we want them to develop. The pathways that are created in their brains need to give them the ability to make decisions, communicate with others and also empathise with others.

Resource Allocation Workshop – Reflection

Our first workshop for MA1 Education withing the Values: self, society and the professions took place on Tuesday the 19th of September. It was one of the most confusing workshops to start off with but once we understood the reason behind the workshop it was a very good lesson, and a good way to bring the message of the workshop across.

We were all split into different groups and given an envelope with resources. We were all asked to open up our envelopes and see what was inside. My group had an elastic band, some blue tac, one sticky note, two paper clips and a pen. Everyone else around us had more, and one group had much more than anyone else. The task was to create something that would help 1st year students like ourselves. With such limited resources our group decided to create a map with all the places to go during your freshers week, it also gave you different challenges to complete, such as joining a society.

Once we were all finished we had to present what we had produced to Derek. This is when it became clear that Derek was treating each group differently and unfairly, when the first group was presenting to everyone else they received a lot of praise from Derek, as he went round everyone’s groups the amount of resources the groups had lessened as did Derek’s attention to what they were saying.

Because our group was the one that received the least amount of praise and had the smallest amount of resources we became really frustrated, I became quite confused and started thinking we had done something wrong. when Derek started paying more attention to his phone than what we had to say that’s when we all became quite agitated. The confidence of the first group who had received most resources and praise grew throughout the workshop, while the last group who received no praise, no attention even became less confident and also quite frustrated.

Once everyone was finished Derek explained that his performance was to demonstrate that in our profession we will come across children who have less and children who have more, from different cultures and backgrounds. How much children have, where they are from or what they believe in should not affect the way teachers treat them, they should all receive an equal amount of support and praise. Children shouldn’t be limited because of resources, but should all be treated equally, receiving support so that they can grow in their learning but also grow in themselves. Our job as teachers is to help every child reach their full potential.

After everyone in the workshop understood the reasoning behind the input, he asked if anyone had noticed what was happening. My group had noticed quite quickly but the group;s that had received more resources were too focused on completing the task, not taking into consideration that they could share their resources, and help those who had less.

Overall, I think this was a really effective way of demonstrating that not all children will come into our classrooms with the same upbringing, with the same resources or the same background and as teachers we must not create a gap between children and treat them differently, we should treat them all equally and give them the same opportunities.