In Miss Tan's Kindergarten 2 class of 15, presuming that children aged five to six, it had been divided into six groups; Group A, Group B, Betty, Andy, Tom and Jim. The abilities amongst the children ranged either average or above average.
In addition, there were a number of challenges mentioned in Miss Tan's class. From the list of challenges stated, it can be categorized under 3 categories; Behaviorist, Cognitive, and Social Learning theory.
Therefore, in this written essay, with the use of various theories from various theorists, I will furthur elaborate on the different types of challenges met in Miss Tan's class.
Betty, being the only child, often fights over toys with her friends over sharing of toys. Jean Piaget had come up with four stages in cognitive developments, namely Sensorimotor stage, Pre-operational stage, Concrete operational stage and Formal Operational stage (Huitt and Hummel, 2003). Hence, children in Miss Tan's class falls under Piaget's Pre-operational stage. According to Huitt and Hummel (2003), it was stated that egocentrism in children very much exist in this stage. Also, children are engaged in symbolic play at aged five to six. On top of that, Betty is an only child, her prosocial skills may not be as developed as other children with siblings. As mentioned from Preusse (2008), for sharing to occur among children, children's cognitive and emotional abilities are to be developed. In a sense, children needed to be able to view themselves performing a certain task and showing empathy towards other children respectively. Only when these three elements are present, children then will be able to share.
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As for Betty, she is facing cognitive issues. Therefore, it would be harder on her to share her toys with other children. Also, being an only child, Betty may have a higher level of egocentrism.
In addition, Betty and Tom are active children. There were three components of personality under Sigmund Freud's Theory of Personality; ID, Ego and Super ego (Changingminds, 2002-2011). In relation to Freud's Theory of Personality, Betty and Tom may be lacking in the Ego aspect. It was theorized that children under the Ego aspect should be able to understand that certain behaviours may led to certain consequences (Changingminds, 2002-2011). Such consequence may be interlinked with children's social interaction with their peers.
Being active children, they may not be able to view the consequences due to their personalities. As a result, Betty and Tom could be lacking in the Ego aspect being active children. As for Betty, she may be lacking in the reasoning skill, which resulted in her fighting with other children over sharing of toys. On the other hand, Tom is usually not aware that he pushed his friends which led other friends avoiding him. For these reasons, it had certainly affected Betty and Tom's social aspect.
Furthermore, Tom is impulsive and was poorly coordinated. As mentioned above, he is unaware when he pushes his friends. Albert Bandura's Social Learning theory shared about how people's behaviours can be learned through observing others, modeling or even imitation of others (Learning Theories Knowledgebase, 2011). In consequence, Tom's impulsiveness may be a result of imitation of others or his observations on the people around him.
With regard to Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences theory, Tom's poorly coordination may be due to the lack of bodily kinesthetic intelligence. Nolen (2003) elaborated on the term bodily kinesthetic intelligence as one who has very developed fine and gross motor skills. Likewise, one with bodily kinesthetic intelligence is able to perform moves that require well-defined actions or control.
Above that, Tom's issue may be linked to how his brain works. There might a deficient in the function of parietal lobe and cerebellum. These two functions are associated to one's coordination of movements, orientation and posture (Serendip, 1994-2011). Hence, with the under developed of his motor skills and the functions of his brain, it caused Tom to be poorly coordinated.
Next, Andy was a shy and withdrawn boy. Both of his challenges can be related to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. As a shy boy, Andy's socials needs may not be met based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Andy may be lacking in interactions with other people which had reduced his needs of friends, a sense of belonging and love (Netmba, 2002-2010).
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Based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Andy's esteem needs may not be met which led him to be withdrawn. According to Netmba (2002-2010), there are two types of esteems; internal and external. Thus, esteems needs are referring to self respect, achievement, attention, recognition and reputation. As a result, there may be a possibility that Andy is lacking in one or two esteems needs which had caused him to be withdrawn.
Besides being a bright boy, Jim was also sensitive. On top of that, Jim cries when he feels frustrated or he did not perform up to his personal expectations. Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligence on Intrapersonal shared that one element of intrapersonal intelligence is that the child may be in need of recognition and praises frequently (Nolen, 2003). In accordance to brain research (Serendip, 1994-2011), the limbic system which is also known as emotion brain may have affected Jim as he might not able to control his emotions.
In all, without acknowledgment from people around him and the deficient of the limbic system, it may have led Jim to feel frustrated and cry when he feels that he does not meet own personal expectations.
Children in Group A were classified to be able to count up to 10. According to Queensland Government (2003), children aged five to six should be able to count up to 20. Therefore, in relation to Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence, children in Group A may be in short of the ability to detect patterns, logical thinking as well as the ability to reason deductively (Nolen, 2003)
According to U.S. National Library of Medicine (2011), children aged five to six should have a wide vocabulary of about 2000 words. However, children in Group A are only able to identify letters and simple sight words. Lev Vygotsky (1978) theorized that Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) refers to a child's ability to perform a task with and without help from adult.
Similarly, lack of ZPD may apply to children in Group B; able to write simple sentences and the capability to do addition up to 20. Without assistance from adults, children may not be able to reach their potential. As a consequence, it had led children in Group A and B to have such challenges.
Not only Betty was a slow learner, she has difficulty counting up to five. Swim (2008) shared about Arnold Gesell's theory on maturation that children were not allowed to grow at their own rate. Likewise for Betty, she may be lacking in logical mathematical intelligence, theorized by Howard Gardner as she has difficulty counting up to five. Being a slow learner, it could be important for Betty if she could be able to grow and learn at her own pace.
Last in the list for cognitive challenges are Tom and Jim. Both of them have to struggle in reading and writing letters in sequence. Nolen (2003, p.1) quoted "They have great ability to use words with clarity." However, Tom and Jim do not display such aspect. Following Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence, both Tom and Jim may be lacking in linguistic intelligence.
Despite being above average boys, Tom and Jim's part of the brain may be not fully developed. According to Serendip (1994-2011), Tom and Jim occipital lobe could be affected as this part of the cerebrum is related to visual processing. Due to this shortcoming, it may have resulted in the difficulties of reading and writing letters in sequence.
As above mentioned, Betty fights with her friends over sharing of toys. According to Albert Bandura's Social Learning theory about how people's behaviours can be learned through observing others, modeling or even imitation of others (Learning Theories Knowledgebase, 2011), it could be a case whereby Betty did not have the opportunity to learn how to share her toys as she was the only child.
Therefore, Bronfenbrenner's ecology theory will be able to come in place as well. The micro system which consists Betty's family and school, should further guide Betty in her behaviours (Division of Educational Studies, 2008). As well as the meso system that is, for example, the relationship between the home and school, should work together to help improve Betty's behaviours.
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Last but not least, Andy, a slow learner, may be lacking in linguistic intelligence. Howard Gardner mentioned that one with linguistic intelligence is good with words and through language, it might a bridge of communication (Nolen, 2003). However, Andy hardly speaks due to speech and language difficulties. Therefore, in relation to Howard Gardner's theory, linguistic intelligence affects one's verbal ability as well as their visual skills.
In addition, part of Andy's brain, the frontal lobe, may have affected him. For instance, due to his frontal lobe which is associated to parts of speech and emotions, it had caused Andy's speech and language difficulties (Serendip, 1994-2011).
Similarly for Andy, Bronfenbrenner's ecology theory will be able relevant to Andy's situation. According to Division of Educational Studies (2008), through the home and school (micro system) and the better relationship between home and school (meso system), it might further enhance Andy's to overcome his speech and language difficulty.
According to Miss Tan's class, I've identified six different learning needs. Firstly, to help children in Group A identify more simple sight words. Secondly, to help children in Group B to perform addition activity by recognizing numbers. Thirdly, to help Betty enhance her prosocial skills such as sharing her toys with her friends. Next, is to help Andy speak up with the people around him. Subsequently, is to help Tom write letters in sequence. Lastly, is to help Jim to be able to control his emotions.
One aspect for children to learn better will be the learning environment. Highland Council Education, Culture and Sport Service (2010) mentioned that a conducive and stimulating learning environment allow children to communicate with their friends during the process of learning and teaching.
Identify more sight words
Besides having a conducive environment, in order to meet children's learning needs, the classroom may need to be aesthetically pleasant to the children as well. For instance, to help children recognise words, children will need to be exposed to those words. In addition, teacher uses phonics to further guide children. Therefore, what a teacher can do is to create a word wall for the children. Additionally, teacher designs another "I can read!" wall that shows that children are able to identify certain words.
For this word wall, teacher will introduce simple words to more complex words. With the use of phonics, simple words may be words containing sounds of consonants and more complex words refer to words that include blends. For each week, teacher place two words for children to recognise.
With every word that the children recognised, teacher will place it into the "I can read!" wall. However, teacher has to be observant of children's learning process and progress. If a child needs more time to learn, teacher should follow child's pace and not rush child.
In this way, children emotional needs will be met as children will feel good about themselves as they are able to recognise more words. On the other hand, if children needed more time to complete this task, they know that the teacher is not pushing them too hard.
Performing addition activity
Similarly, children need to be exposed to numbers for them to perform addition activities. Therefore, teacher can put on a number chart up to 20 in the Mathematics learning corner. Additionally, teacher can design an "I can count!" chart for children.
To meet children's learning needs, Teacher first rote counts with children from one to twenty. After that, teacher introduces tens and ones to children. On top of that, teacher does addition activity with children according to the complexity of the activity, starting from the simplest.
In order to meet children's emotions needs, with every equation that the children did correctly, children will place it onto "I can count!" chart. By doing so, it may help children to feel good about themselves.
On the contrary, some children may not be as fast as other children in the group. Therefore, it is important that teacher have one to one session with these children. Also, teacher has to practice with children daily for slower children grasp the mathematics concept. Most importantly, teacher should never put the child down if he or she cannot the equation.
Enhance prosocial skills
Next, teacher has to help Betty to improve her prosocial skills. In order to help Betty, teacher has to reinforce the child's social interaction with other children (Essa, 2003). Furthermore, teacher should reinforce other children to interact with Betty as well (Essa, 2003)
As Betty is a slow learner, in order to meet her learning needs, teacher has to clearly demonstrate to her what does interacting with other children mean. In addition, teacher needs to show Betty the way to share toys with other children and explain to her that the toys do not solely belong to Betty.
On the other hand, teacher can help to meet Betty's emotional needs is by highlighting to their children that they should try to interact with Betty. Likewise, other children can share with Betty their toys and Betty may model such behaviour. By doing this, teacher and other children may help Betty to feel that a two way communication is needed to help Betty in her prosocial skills.
Enhance speech and language
In order to meet Andy's learning needs and to make him talk, teacher can encourage and reinforce talking for him (Essa, 2003). Teacher observes and picks out a certain activity that Andy may enjoy the most. From there, teacher may try to get child talk about the activity.
As for Andy's emotional needs, teacher should not force Andy to speak up. Most importantly, teacher should understand that Andy may start to talk when he feels more comfortable and when he is ready.
Writing letters in sequence
To help Tom meet his learning needs, teacher can start a simple activity with him. For example, teacher may want to practice with Tom the way to write the letters. Teacher starts by holding his hand to allow Tom to have the feel how to write certain letter. After so, teacher will reduce the time that she helps Tom. However, this has to be done over a longer period of time.
For Tom's emotional needs, teacher may want to practice on one letter per day with Tom. This may give Tom more time and to help him progress at his own pace. In addition, Tom may not feel to stress over the daily practicing of writing letters.
Have control over own emotions
As Jim is a bright boy and to meet his learning needs, teacher may want to set clear expectations with Jim. Teacher explains and discusses with Jim the methods he can use when he feels frustrated.
In addition, teacher can have a chart for Jim that shows how many times he can control his emotions. The chart may help to reinforce Jim's positive behaviour. Most importantly, teacher need to express to Jim that she is pleased and happy that Jim is improving and she would like to see Jim display such behaviour (Essa, 2003).