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In her article, Semrud-Clikeman (n.d.) explains the importance of understanding the differences in children’s brain development. The author emphasizes that if a teacher underestimates these divergences, they will never succeed in providing their students with the most efficient instruction.
As a result, learners will not reach the proper level of understanding and knowledge. Semrad-Clikeman (n.d.) notes that instructions below and above the maturity level of a child’s brain development can produce equal negative outcomes. The adverse effect of the failure to understand the brain maturity of each student can lead to misbehavior. Semrad-Clikeman (n.d.) remarks that brain functions develop at a different pace for each person. Thus, the scholar advises that teachers should be aware of developmental disparities among learners.
Also, educators should understand that their students’ development can be affected by such issues as illnesses, hospitalizations, or family disruptions. Children experiencing these circumstances should sit at the front of the class and receive encouragement from the teacher to help them accommodate. Semrad-Clikeman (n.d.) notes that children with chronic diseases should be suggested to engage in alternate activities, and the teacher should explain the reason for such changes to other students.
The author also draws attention to the fact that there should be a variety of materials and ideas to promote children’s brain maturation. Semrad-Clikeman (n.d.) mentions that learners’ skills can be enhanced through games, puzzles, and other activities. Additionally, the scholar warns teachers not to expect that all brain systems of a child will develop at the same rate. Thus, Semrud-Clikeman (n.d.) emphasizes that teachers should not employ a one-size-fits-all approach or base the division of learners into groups only on age characteristics.
Semrad-Clikeman (n.d.) remarks that while brain maturation is a crucial aspect for teachers to consider, it is far from being the only one. Other important issues include genetics, age, environment, temperament, and the level of development. Brain maturation starts before birth when different neurons travel to their appropriate locations within the brain (Semrud-Clikeman, n.d.). If some nerve cells do not find their place, they are destroyed, and the baby will have some disorders in the development.
After birth, the baby already has the auditory and visual systems that continue to evolve as the brain accommodates the environment. The scholar remarks that the development of brain systems is different for each baby. The motor and sensory systems of healthy infants keep developing during toddlerhood and preschool time. However, it is necessary to keep in mind that inputs from the environment, which are different for all newborns, can have both positive and negative effects.
Teachers should understand that the development of brain systems has a great impact on students’ ability to understand instruction. For instance, if the auditory system of a child is not at the appropriate level of development, the reading skills progress will be delayed (Semrud-Clikeman, n.d.). Thus, it is necessary to give age-appropriate tasks to young children and not to combine two activities into one. During the early elementary school years, the brain continues to mature, and children can start performing more complex activities.
Semrad-Clikeman (n.d.) also discusses such topics as learning disabilities, models of attention, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Each of these themes is important for teachers to research and understand since their knowledge can help to arrange work in the classroom correctly. Being aware of different approaches enables educators to select the most suitable methods of work for every student. Some of these topics will be discussed below in the further resources section.
There are many aspects in Semrud-Clikeman’s (n.d.) article that I could use to benefit my students. First of all, I will take into account the recommendations that the author gives in the “do’s and don’ts” section. Namely, I will always pay attention to developmental differences among learners since these divergences can have serious implications for children’s conduct (Semrud-Clikeman, n.d.).
Also, I will prepare a questionnaire for parents to find out the peculiarities of their child’s physical and mental development, which, in their opinion, could imply additional attention for their child. As Semrud-Clikeman (n.d.) notes, the development can be enhanced through a variety of techniques and materials used in the classroom. Thus, I will constantly work on discovering new methods and will provide my students with diverse options for creative thinking.
At the same time, I will make sure not to allow issues from the “don’ts” list to occur in my classroom. To achieve this, I will not use a single approach for all children. The “one-size-fits-all” method, as Semrud-Clikeman (n.d.) remarks, can hinder the brain maturity of students. I will also pay attention to children’s development based on factors other than age. Such a method will allow arranging suitable conditions for learners’ brain maturity.
Also, I will not evaluate pupils’ abilities based on their physical appearance. According to Semrud-Clikeman (n.d.), cognitive advancement is not always correlated with physical maturity. Therefore, I will employ an individualized approach to understanding every child’s level of development.
Out of the list of sources used by Semrud-Clikeman (n.d.), three articles were selected for further analysis and discussion. In their research, Corbetta, and Shulman (2002) study two kinds of attention: goal-directed and stimulus-based. Scholars remark that brain areas are partially segregated and each of these networks is responsible for different “attentional” functions (Corbetta & Shulman, 2002, p. 201).
The authors note that there are two sets of functions that control visual attention: top-down and bottom-up. Top-down, or cognitive, aspects include expectation, knowledge, and current goals, whereas bottom-up factors reflect sensory stimulation. Apart from these, there are also such determinants as unexpectedness and novelty, which manifest the interaction between sensory and cognitive effects. This article is a valuable resource since it provides an explanation of different functions of attention, which is crucial for teachers to know.
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Research by Hale et al. (2011) is focused on ADHD. Scholars investigate the impact of this disorder on children’s academic achievement. Hale et al. (2011) note that ADHD children are frequently diagnosed with learning disabilities. The study involves the analysis of approaches to the treatment of ADHD and emphasizes the need to investigate the problem at the national level. This source is necessary for teachers to review and analyze since insufficient management of ADHD children’s problems at school can have adverse outcomes both for these children and their classmates.
The study by Aylward et al. (2003) is also aimed at the investigation of learning disabilities. The scholars focus their research on dyslexia as a serious language disorder preventing a child from spelling and reading the words. Aylward et al. (2003) remark that special tasks involving brain activation, such as comprehensive reading instruction, can help manage dyslexia in children. The article is valuable for educators since it helps to understand the methods of relieving the effect of dyslexia on young learners.
Aylward, E. H., Richards, T. L., Berninger, V. W., Nagy, W. E., Field, K. M., Grimme, A. C.,… Cramer, S. C. (2003). Instructional treatment associated with changes in brain activation in children with dyslexia. Neurology, 61(2), 212-219.
Corbetta, M., & Shulman, G. L. (2002). Control of goal-directed and stimulus-driven attention in the brain. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 3(3), 201-215.
Hale, J. B., Reddy, L. A., Semrud-Clikeman, M., Hain, L. A., Whitaker, J., Morley, J.,… Jones, N. (2011). Executive impairment determines ADHD medication response: implications for academic achievement. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 44(2), 196-212.
Semrud-Clikeman, M. (n.d.). Research in brain function and learning: The importance of matching instruction to a child’s maturity level. Web.