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!
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.
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.
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.
Not a great week for study – it’s taken me nearly two weeks to do the first week! Still, I am still ahead of the game as the official start date isn’t until 7th February. My target is to get the first TMA drafted before then, so it’s still looking ok. I’ve also managed to create my own notes as well – they’ll get rehashed again come revision time in September.
Right, I’ve managed to start work on ED209 over the last couple of days, so with any luck, I’ll have got my first assignment finished by the time of the official start date of February 7th – giving me a four week headstart. Looking at my work and social calendars for the first quarter of next year I’ll need it!
I’m trying to create my revision notes as I go along this time. On DSE212 I didn’t really make proper notes until I was revising for the exam. It would have been a lot easier if I’d made notes during the course (rather than simply annotating the textbooks) and then used those notes to do most of my revision from.
Book 1 Chapter 1 is on children and development – and seems mostly ‘common sense’ to me. The idea that the definition of childhood is dependent on the culture, point in history, societal and parental values prevalent as the child matures seems to be no great surprise. It’s also no surprise that “childhood is constructed and reconstructed both for and by children” (James and Prout) either. The four major historical perspectives on development – Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke and Kant are all interesting in their own right but none appear to me to be complete. Good news – as it should make TMA1 interesting to do if I choose the option that’s available on this chapter.
Time to get back to note taking I think …
I’ve just had my ‘Exploring Psychology Project’ result back from the OU – and I passed! That means I just need another 180 points to get the diploma. I’m not sure if I’m completely looking forward to next year’s course on Child Development, but if nothing else it will be a challenge. Because I registered for it last year and then had to withdraw before it started, it means I have the first two books already. I’ll be trying to make a start over Christmas because if it’s similar in workload to Exploring Psychology (and it should be) then I’ll need a few weeks in hand to make sure I finish the final assignment in time.