Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Individual Differences and Learning

Individual Differences

As a developmental psychologist I know that children are born with differences.  One of the earliest differences is in temperament, recognizable shortly after birth.  As any parent or teacher will tell you, kids are individuals first and members of a “category”—sex/sexual orientation, cognitive ability, language development, social/emotional skills—secondarily.  Parents with more than one child or of twins recognize differences early on. Even in infancy, one of our twin daughters was active and spontaneous, the other quiet and thoughtful.  And I saw the same range of differences from early on in our twin granddaughters.  More recently as a Kindergarten volunteer, I have seen real differences in children across classrooms. 

We value differences in children and try to nurture their development.  I believe that excellent teachers do that too—value differences and nurture individual children.

I am concerned about particular kinds of differences—differences in privilege, opportunity, and learning.  More specifically, I am concerned about and committed to advocating for children trapped in the “achievement” gap and children born with a learning disability.  And so, in the roles of developmental psychologist, speech/language pathologist, and special education/learning “specialist,” I have focused on and will bring to this blog resources on early language, literacy and learning.  I will try to bring information and ideas from sources that advocate for these children, especially those that focus on the 3 to 3 range—3 months to 3 years to grade 3.

For me, probably due to my earliest training in elementary education and speech/language pathology, a natural starting place is language development.  I have written extensively about language development on another blog (Dialogue about Language, Literacy, and Learning), covering the 5 areas of language development: phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics.  You can follow those posts, starting with: Early Language Development:
 An Overview (March 19, 2014) with information from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association—“Hearing and Understanding and “Talking”.

Over time, the focus here will shift to literacy and, more specifically, reading because it is so central to learning and to school success and because so many of our vulnerable children are vulnerable because they cannot read “at grade level.”

Learning to use language and to read is not just about the children.  Learning involves adults who have the power to help children learn.  So the blog will also focus on teachers and parents and the role they can and sometimes do play in helping children to learn language and literacy skills.  In advocating for children and their growth we really need an ALL IN orientation.  Responsibility goes beyond parents and teachers. Others in education and the larger community also have roles to play; and I will address those roles and contributions as I find good sources and examples.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Learning Starts Day One from Let's Grow Kids



Monday, January 23, 2017

ALL IN Resources

From the U.S. Department of Education focus on early learning:
A short excerpt
In a continuing effort to inform the community of stakeholders who care for our children and to respond to continuing demand from the field, today ED is releasing a new resource guide for early learning educators and families as a follow-up to a 2015 Resource Guide focused on secondary students.”….
 “The resource guide includes two parts:
·         The first half of the resource guide, entitled Resource Guide: Building a Bright Future for All, provides tips for educators in early learning programs and elementary schools as well as schools, districts, and States to (1) facilitate school enrollment by immigrant families; (2) promote healthy child development in the school setting; (3) encourage caregiver engagement in children’s education; and (4) build staff capacity and knowledge about immigrant students and their educational needs.
·         The second half of the guide entitled Handbook for Parents, Guardians, & Families: Building a Bright Future for All provides tips for parents and guardians on how to promote and facilitate children’s education from birth and play an active role in helping to ensure their children’s success in school regardless of their own schooling history or context.”

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Complementary Approach to Early Language/Literacy Instruction

Coming soon....as in this week:

How do we find ways to provide "complementary" instruction

^ across oral and written language,

^ across the 5 dimensions of language and literacy?

^ across teacher and parent perspectives and roles,

^across settings: inside and outside the classroom,

^across individual differences in learners?