ED209 – Week 5

I must say that I’m enjoying getting back to reading the course books after a frustrating couple of weeks struggling with TMA01. I’m still not very happy with my essay, but I’ve decided to put it aside for the next few days as there are still a couple of weeks or more to go before the deadline.

Chapter 4 is on early cognitive development and seems to start exploring this from the viewpoint of Piaget and then providing evidence to support or contradict his conclusions. It’s not the easiest chapter to read, but distilling it down into a set of notes based on each idea and the evidence that supports or contradicts it seems to work quite well. It’s one of those chapters that you hope a ‘how far does’ or a ‘to what extent’ question appears on the exam paper as there’s plenty of material to construct an answer from.

Last night I listened to the ‘Mind Changers’ audio band on Piaget and if nothing else, I now understand why the idea of sandpits, big sinks and letting children get on with playing as part of education that I experienced in the 70’s must have been such a shock to my parents who were brought up when rote learning was practiced in schools. Piaget comes across in the programme as being a rather isolated figure and quite sad in some ways. The undoubted insights he had into child development could have been much more quickly developed if perhaps he hadn’t had this obstinate streak of wanting to prove his initial ideas were completely right by demanding his assistants produce more and more data to support them and ignoring data that didn’t support these ideas. A genius, certainly, and comforting (to me!) to know that even he had flaws.

Notes here.

Garages – they just aren't, anymore

I needed some de-icer for our cars this afternoon and was too late to get to Asda before it shut. No problem, there’s a garage just down the road. With a shop. I could have bought a whole range of groceries, sweets, chocolate, valentine’s day cards (what kind of person buys valentine’s day cards from a petrol station?), cuddly toys … but no de-icer. In fact, the only car related stuff was half a shelf of oil and the type of air fresheners only taxi drivers would buy. So I tried the next garage – and a similar story. Probably three times the floor area of the other shop, fresh coffee on sale, vegetables, nappies, more valentine cards … and the same paltry half shelf of oil and a bottle of de-ionised water. No de-icer. “We don’t stock it pet”, the cashier said, “no call for it. Asda sell it cheaper than we can”. Sigh.

Sleepless in Madrid

I’ve had an enjoyable couple of days in Madrid with work and hopefully, a productive one too. My flight back is at 0630, which means I need to leave the hotel in Tres Cantos at about 0430 to be sure of catching it. Guess what – I can’t get to sleep! Too worried about missing it I think.

Update: 6 February, 4.10pm

I didn’t miss the flight – but it didn’t land at Stansted! We were on final approach with about 5 minutes to go before landing and the runway was shut due to snow and ice. It’s been a frustrating day travelling back from Gatwick instead. Full credit to Ryanair – they managed to get everyone onto buses and away from Gatwick back to Stansted within an hour of landing. Shame about the A14 once I’d picked my car up though – but the snowmen along the side of the dual carriageway were a sign that I could have been stuck there a lot longer.

Madrid and TMA1

Weather permitting, I’m off to Madrid in the morning for a couple of days to work with my colleagues at Software AG in Spain. While the weather seems not too bad here at the moment, it looks as if Madrid might be in for some snow over the next couple of days, so I’m hoping that it all works out somehow as I need to be back in time to finish off the first draft of my TMA before my tutorial on Saturday morning. Well, I don’t need to be – it’s just that I want to keep up with the schedule I’ve set myself. The essay doesn’t have to be in until the second week of March.

I’ve gone for the first option – writing an essay on how far social and cultural influences are recognised in theories of child development. I’d forgotten how painful I find essay writing – I seem to go through six or seven attempts before I get something I’m happy with and it’s taken me all week to get a not very good half essay so far. Maybe Madrid will inspire me – and if not, perhaps the tutorial on Saturday will!

ED209 – Week 3 – not quite finished

Not a good week for study this week. I’ve been away from home the whole time for both work and pleasure, so it’s been very difficult staying disciplined. I am nearly there though. All of the reading and annotation of the course texts is done and I’m about halfway through creating my notes. A concerted effort tomorrow evening should see me clear of it and onto TMA1 – the dreaded essay. I haven’t decided which option to write yet, though I’m leaning towards the chapter 1 choice.

Week 3 has been all about sensation and perception, with the links between sensation, perception, cognition and behaviour being stressed. Vision and hearing have been the two key topics, with quite a biological slant in the course texts. Ican’t say that this has been my favourite chapter, but I can see how linking biological aspects of development to psychological development can be a realtively straightforward choice for an exam question if the chapter comes up.

ED209 Week 2 – Finished

Now that wasn’t too bad in the end – certainly once I’d viewed the DVDs a couple of times. Being schooled through the late sixties, seventies and early eighties I can recognise aspects of all four theories being used during my education. I can also recognise some of the things that have been used with my children as well. It certainly helps to explain why some of the heated debates over the last few years have occurred (for example, the impact of television viewing on children) – and why people take different positions.  My notes are here.

ED209 – Book 1, Chapter 2

I’ve enjoyed this week’s study and feel I’m starting to slowly get into this course. It’s been on the four ‘grand theories’ of child development and the text, combined with the programmes on the course DVD, have been very interesting.

The four theories (and the main researchers cited) are:

Behaviourism (or learning theory) – Skinner

Social Learning Theory – Bandura

Contructivism – Piaget

Social Constructivism – Vygotsky

The DVD was great for getting some of Piaget’s experiments and the limitations of his theory to stick. Seeing his classical conservation experiments demonstrated and then comparing the results from the modified experiments (that give a rationale for what the child is being asked to do) has certainly helped that part of the chapter to stick. Behaviourism had been covered pretty well in DSE212, so much of that material felt familiar and Bandura’s theories will probably stick because of the use of the Bobo doll. I had one of those when I was growing up (same one, by the look of the photographs in the text book) and it brought back some nice memories. My Godfather brought one back for me from a business trip to the US. I was always afraid to punch it to hard in case it burst! It sat for years in my bedroom at my parent’s house until eventually it got thrown out, while I was at University I think.

So, I seem to be back on target with study now and I’ll work on my notes over the weekend. Good job too as I’ve got quite a number of evenings away from home ahead of me, with stays in Bracknell, Madrid and New York between now and the end of February to fit in.

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