channeling my grad student persona
I've been sick lately... though surprisingly, not of school. It's been strictly physical ailments of fatigue, insomnia, coughing, and sneezing, all of which makes it hard for me to determine if the cause is a cold, my allergies, my dietary restrictions/fasting for Lent, or something else.
Still, schoolwork has to be done. From the 20+ page unit plan writings of my alter-ego persona, "Grad School Gar":
Given that the age ranges of most of the students in the 2nd grade are between seven to eight, the students occupy a unique area where they are transitioning from a lower to a higher stage of cognitive development. In Jean Piaget's stages of cognitive development, a seven year old student could be functioning at either the preoperational, the concrete operational level, or a blend of both (Snowman, p365).
At the preoperational level, children are still developing their mastery of symbols, and linking those symbols to ideas and experiences – their struggle to master reading and writing reflects this because words themselves are complex symbols for language. Children at this stage are also beginning to develop modes of logical thinking, but they are impeded by perceptual centration, the strong preference to focus only a single characteristic of an object or problem at the same time (Snowman, p365).
In contrast, at the concrete operational level, understanding of symbols and logical reasoning are much more strongly developed, but children require first-hand experiences and direct interaction to solve problems. The emphasis on “concrete” in “concrete operational” is important to know because their thinking is limited mainly to objects or experiences that can be immediately sensed. While they can visually understand problems containing concepts like size or conversation (such as pouring a tall glass of water into bowl and understanding that amount of water is the same), they have trouble generalizing a concept from one situation and constructing theoretical knowledge (Snowman, p37-38). Children at this level mostly construct knowledge derived from experiences.
Social & Emotional Development
Evaluating the class in light of Piaget's theories, one of the issues between the children's stages is the presence of marked egocentrism. In application to the class, the definition of egocentrism is not so much selfishness as it is an inability to comprehend the perspective and viewpoints of another person. The natural assumption most children make at that preoperational level is that everybody else sees and understands the world the same as they do (Snowman, p37). As the children enter the concrete operational level, the influence of egocentrism should decrease as they learn to empathize with feelings of others (Snowman, p76).
In terms of relationships, children at this age are more selective in their friendships and are likely to have a best friend(s) (Snowman, p75). They like group work and organized games, but during competition, it is common for quarrels to erupt, especially over personal feelings because children in this age range are sensitive to criticism (Snowman, p76). However, this same sensitivity to criticism also inclines children to be more receptive to praise from a perceived authority figure like a teacher, and they are eager to please (Snowman, p76).
Now imagine your assignments are to write about 20+ pages of similarly worded and cited text on a single project
, and that's pretty much been my life this past quarter. Having been a few years removed from my undergrad career (as a double InfoSys business & EdJ comm major), it's definitely been an adjustment. However academically rigorous it's been though, I'm still happy I chose the masters program at Seattle U
, with both its Jesuit background and its strong emphasis on social justice. It's hard for me to imagine me choosing a different program and being as satisfied as I am now.
In completely unrelated news, the season finale for Battlestar Galactica was quite the shocker. It tied up a bunch of loose ends as well as made me start drooling for Season 3 (like it's supposed to, right?) I can already visualize what's going to happen.
Highlight this for my predictions for next season/spoiler commentary...
((The finale ends with the Cylons invading and occupying New Caprica, the planet where most of the fleet has settled. There's a Number 6 voiceover saying how humanity has been judged and now, the Cylons and their 'God' will "guide" humanity in the ways of "peace". Battlestar Galatica hasn't been shy about making moral commentary with obvious parallels to current events... the whole "occupation" scenario is a brilliant move by the show's creators in setting up allegory about the current situation of the US occupation of Iraq...)