Piaget’s different stages of cognitive development will be extremely useful in my teaching career. It is important that I do not demand too much from my students while still challenging them in a healthy way. There are limits to what children at younger ages can do and understanding these limits can help eliminate a lot of frustration. I do not want my students to feel inferior or stupid because they cannot do something I am asking of them. To ensure that this does not happen, I must always have age appropriate lessons and activities that will teach them new things while reviewing things that they already know. These stages serve as guidelines for what to expect from children in these age groups and they will be referred to frequently in my classroom.
Vygotsky’s discussion of private and inner speech is interesting to me because as a child, I was extremely shy and would not talk to any one except for my family and one friend at school. For the first few years of my life, my teachers did not even know that I could talk, which confused my parents because they heard me talk all the time at home. I used private speech at home by narrating what I was doing or simply talking to myself like a normal child. However, when I was at school or somewhere in public I did not use this private speech except to communicate with my one friend who had to relay what I would say to my teachers or peers. I want to ensure that my students feel comfortable exercising their private speech in my classroom. It would have been so much easier for everyone in my classroom if I had vocally communicated my wants and needs. Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development is important for me to understand because I must give my students independence and the ability to find answers using what they already know, but I must also be there to teach my students new things and help them build upon what they know. I want to challenge my students and make them think in order to solve problems. I also want to be there for my students and offer my help when it is genuinely needed. Finding the balance between these two things is, in my opinion, one of the key factors of being an educator.
David Elkind’s theory of adolescent egocentrism is relevant to me because I, like most adolescents, felt all three of these things at one point in time. When you are an adolescent you are going through many changes both physically and cognitively and this can cause self esteem issues, which are heightened by the imaginary audience. Confidence issues often result from the belief that everyone around you is analyzing you and making judgments about you. I often felt as though everyone was looking at me and developing their own opinions about every decision I made. I also had days where I felt as though no one understood me, which is also known as the personal fable. I believe that this is common for adolescents because they are filled with so many hormones, which can cause them to feel extremely emotional and sometimes even alone. I remember always getting upset with my parents for every little thing that they said and going to my room crying because I felt as though no one in my family understood me and I just wanted to get away. In reality, I was just in a very emotional state and did not like the advice my parents were giving me even though it what was best for me. The mythological fable occurred for me later in adolescence when many of my friends were beginning to skip class to go get food or hang out at the mall. Many people would get caught and suspended for doing these things but my friends and I always thought that it would not happen to us. However, during my senior year three of my friends did get suspended for skipping class and this allowed me to realize that I could get in trouble for this too if I did not stop.
I believe that Bloom’s taxonomy will prove to be a very useful reference tool in my lesson plans. I want to ensure that each student reaches each stage before they move onto the next one. I think that each concept discussed in this theory is an important part of learning. I want my students to be able to remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create in every area that I teach them about. This will encourage students to use different parts of their brain to learn new things.