These videos were very interesting in terms of the viewpoints that Dr Suzanne Zeedyk and John Carnochan OBE had on babies’ and children’s development.
Dr Zeedyk made some thought-provoking points, particularly about the physical and mental development of newborns. New information about babies’ brains suggests that, at the point of birth, growth and change are only just beginning. This sheds light on the fragility of the human child compared to the offspring of other species. It also goes some way to explaining the extremely long dependency period that humans have (zero to eighteen years) and the high level of parental investment required to raise a child into adulthood. I have also learned from this first video that some reasoning for children behaving in a seemingly non-conforming and ‘challenging’ manner can be due to the fact that they may have been raised in an unpredictable, hazardous living situation. If abuse and terror is all they know, then that child will forever go into every situation with their defences on high alert, in anticipation of danger. This cause-effect relationship will only continue to strengthen in the child’s mind until a responsible adult steps in and proves to them that the world can be full of more than just “sabre-tooth tigers”, and that actually there are so many good people on this planet that are ‘on their side’. One of my main goals as a teacher is to have my pupils feel confident and happy, and know that they can come to me with any issues they are facing in their lives, in school or at home, if they are not.
John Carnochan also provided some very useful insights into a possible cause of abrasive behaviour in adolescents. He suggests that it can all stem from environments that the infant’s brain has been exposed to, and had to cope with, in these formative ‘early years’. After watching John’s video, I have realised the importance of implementing routine and consistency in my classroom so the children have a degree of predictability and calmness in their lives, particularly for those who are not experiencing any level of peace in their home environments. Despite all of these negative experiences in a person’s life, it only takes one person to “smile at them”, “say the right things”, “do the right things” and “spend quality time with them” to show them positivity and guide them off the path of distress and upset. Listening to Suzanne and John has reaffirmed in my mind the importance of teachers in children’s lives, not just for education and learning, but for development of the ‘whole child’; their personality, their experiences, their emotions and their attitudes.
My final thought after this task is summed up well by what John says in his video; “loving kids is what it’s really about”. I feel that a huge part of the primary teacher job description is to be passionate about what you do every single day, but also, even more importantly, to be passionate about who you are doing it for; the children, now and in their futures.