Encouraging the development of a child is critical for further successful emotional and cognitive progress. For this reason, exploring the unique characteristics of specific stages of a child’s development is critical. By performing an in-depth analysis of the culture-specific needs of an individual, an educator can create innovative teaching strategies that will allow a child to acquire the skills associated with abstract and critical thinking, creativity, and, eventually, independence in learning.
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Due to the need to focus on child-educator interactions, it is crucial to develop a rapport based on emotional investment in the communication process, as well as to use a variety of activities that allow students to solve logical dilemmas. Coupled with a cooperative learning approach that assists children in building social skills, the proposed technique is bound to lead to successful development.
In the case under analysis, the developmental process of a four-year-old African American girl (Doris) was analyzed. Doris has been developing her speaking skills at a comparatively slow rate, with her vocabulary being quite scarce and her ability to annunciate words being rather poor. Nevertheless, Doris is physically healthy, although she has been unwilling to consume healthy food after having tasted fast food at her friend’s birthday party. Due to the tantrums that Doris often throws when offered healthy food, her mother, Janis, feels increasingly more inclined toward yielding to Doris’s demands.
As far as the girl’s learning skills are concerned, she seems disinterested in anything school-related, including reading, as well as exploring the world around her, in general. Her lack of investment in the process of learning aggravated as her mother presented her with a gadget to keep her daughter busy while she does the chores. Therefore, the current focus has to be on the exploration of strategies for motivating the child to shift toward healthier behaviors and habits, at the same time increasing her engagement in the learning process.
A cooperative learning approach introduced into the frameworks of interactions between a teacher and the child has helped to increase Doris’s willingness to alter her current stance on the concept of healthy eating. The changes in the child’s behavior were very slow due to the evident unwillingness to abandon the eating patterns that have already been established. It was also essential to communicate with the mother of the child in order to redesign the latter’s daily routine.
After a brief parent education session, Janet learned to introduce early morning activities into Doris’s daily routine by using games as the incentive for the process. The proposed technique worked particularly well due to the authority that parents usually have at the identified stage of a child’s development, according to Piaget (Fleer 73). Although Doris tended to rebel at some point, she finally accepted physical activities as an integral part of a game and, thus, integrated them into her life.
While the promotion of a more direct conversation between a teacher and a child is crucial in Doris’s case, it was the establishment of the emotional rapport that made the greatest difference in changing her current development process. The child still has a significant amount of progress to accomplish, yet her readiness to respond to the encouragement provided by the teacher signals that the correct strategy has been chosen. In order to promote further positive change, the teacher will have to consider using culture-specific tools that will spark positive emotions in the child and lead to a rise in her motivation toward building new communication patterns.
Specifically, it is essential that Doris should develop an appropriate level of understanding of how social transactions work and what social expectations she will have to meet. For instance, it will be necessary t help Doris acquire the ability to empathize with others. In addition, it is critical to ensure that Doris develops emotional self-awareness. Several steps toward the identified change have already been made.
For instance, Doris has been encouraged to denote her emotions whenever she felt a change in her emotional status by saying, “I’m angry” or “I’m sad.” Thus, the child developed the basic self-awareness skills that would allow her to acquire further ability to navigate her emotional landscape and manage her emotions, respectively (Levine and Munsch 102). The observed change is likely to serve as the platform for the child to acquire key social skills that will allow her to communicate with her peers more actively.
The problem of cognitive behavior observed in Doris initially can be seen as the effect of the lack of interaction between the parent and the child and the following loss in the latter’s motivation. Furthermore, the introduction of gadgets as the alternative to the activities aimed specifically at cognitive development can be defined as one of the core issues in the child’s progress. At present, it is necessary for the teacher to interact closer with Doris and build emotional engagement in the student in regard to her development, specifically, her cognitive abilities.
Furthermore, cooperation with the mother is critical in improving the child’s vocabulary. It is essential that the mother should employ a more complicated vocabulary when communicating with the child. Avoiding the words built on the principle of onomatopoeia and using vocabulary words, instead, should be regarded as a necessity. For instance, it has been noted that Doris demonstrates signs of apraxia, which is a serious sign of a developmental delay (Bayat 76). Therefore, it is essential to engage in active communication with the child and encourage her to use more complex words by engaging her in the relevant activities (Levine and Munsch 128). Thus, a shift in Doris’s development will be observed.
With the incorporation of the teaching practice based on the promotion of engagement in the child and the establishment of trust-based rapport with the learner, further progress became possible. Although initially, Doris displayed rather negative behaviors, the introduction of the proposed approach allowed the teacher to convince the child to accept a different attitude toward the idea of physical fitness. In addition, the cognitive issues that Doris has been facing are currently being addressed.
The case study has indicated that active parent education is required along with the collaboration between a parent and a teacher to ensure that the development of a learner remains consistent. For example, without knowing what techniques should be employed so that Doris could develop proper speaking skills, Janis unintentionally made it possible for Doris to retain the vocabulary based on onomatopoeia, thus slowing down her progress.
In general, the issue of cognitive development needs to be addressed as one of the primary issues to be managed. The child currently lacks parental support and the resources with the help of which she can acquire a new vocabulary and develop proper speaking skills. The identified step will require the continuous collaboration between a parent and a teacher, as well as consistent communication between the teacher and the student. Thus, even in the setting of her home, Doris will be able to continue training the skills needed to communicate successfully and develop the required cognitive skills.
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In addition, the development of memory and the associated skills should be regarded as necessary at the specified stage. In accordance with the framework suggested by Piaget, at the age of four, a child requires the activities that will prompt the development of emotional, egocentric, and intuitive intelligence, which will afterward define their ability to perform more complex functions (Fleer 73). Thus, the involvement of the mother and her continuous support will be critical to building the basis for Doris’s further progress.
By establishing a strong emotional rapport with the learner, as well as integrating learner-centered approaches rooted in the understanding of a student’s emotional and cultural needs, a teacher will be able to create the setting in which a child will develop successfully. Due to the current lack of resources for the education of both the learner and her parents, Doris has been experiencing difficulties in adjusting to her social environment and discerning her emotional needs.
The application of the strategies based on games and interactions between a learner and an educator has allowed improving the situation significantly by addressing some of the current developmental issues. Specifically, the concerns associated with the child’s physiological development have been explored and managed. Similarly, the framework for meeting the emotional needs of the learner was created, providing the foundation for success.
Bayat, Mojdeh. Teaching Exceptional Children: Foundations and Best Practices in Inclusive Early Childhood Education Classrooms. Routledge, 2018.
Fleer, Marilyn. Child Development in Educational Settings. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
Levine, Laura E., and Joyce Munsch. Child Development From Infancy to Adolescence: An Active Learning Approach. SAGE Publications, 2018.