Document 10245487

Julia Argabright
November 5, 2012
This Developmentally Responsive Instruction
will be an instruction manual for middle school
teachers, specifically the fifth grade.
Areas of development included are:
 Physical
 Cognitive
 Psychosocial
 Moral/spiritual
 Cultural
Then through these areas of development, the
role of the teacher will be defined.
All students grow and change differently, thus
all students learn differently. In order to
create a learning environment where all
students are supported and can be taught
effectively, differentiated instruction or
developmentally responsive instruction should
be used. Students in middle school, 10 or 11
years old, are experiencing a plethora of
developments, but teachers can use these to
enhance the curriculum and method of
[change in body structure and function over time]
In general for the ten-year-old:
 Girls are generally ahead of boys in physical
maturity; onset of puberty for some girls
 Increase body strength and hand dexterity
 Large muscle development is advanced
 Handwriting often sloppier than at nine
 Have improved coordination and reaction time
 Desperately need outdoor time and physical
 Complaints like stomach aches, headaches, leg pain,
etc. usually less than at nine
 Snacks and rest periods helpful for growing bodies
 Appetite fluctuates but is generally good
In general for the eleven-year-old:
 Vast appetite for food, physical activity, and talking
 Growth spurt of early adolescence for some girls, may feel
awkward and clumsy
 Girls ahead of guys in physical maturity; boys’ big growth
spurt may not start until 14; Boys worry if they are ever
going to grow
 Wide differences among individuals in rate of development
 Curious about opposite sex; girls usually interested first
 Tiredness; need for more sleep
 Often uncomfortable with questions and observations
about how much they have grown and physical changes
 Increased need for personal hygiene
Physical development also includes the
development of the brain. Pruning takes place
throughout the entire life of a person. Pruning
supports cognitive development and is extremely
necessary, especially if there is an overproduction
of neurons. The brain itself also develops.
Different areas of the cerebral cortex have
different functions, but this area of the brain
develops more slowly than other parts of the
brain. Damage to the left side of the brain, which
allows language development, is harder to
overcome for older children and adults. No mental
activity is exclusively the work of a single part of
the brain– all parts work together.
Woolfolk, Education Psychology
It is important for educators teaching this age
group to be supportive and encouraging
through this time of physical development. It
can be awkward and students may feel
uncomfortable with their bodies. Also studies
show that stimulating environments and
meaningful interactions better support better
brain development. Teachers can help students
feel comfortable in the learning environment
to create optimal learning opportunities for
Plan activities outside that encourages students
to have physical activity. This could include
teaching area on a basketball court or teaching
angle symmetry while shooting baskets. Students
will think this is fun and will learn interactively.
 Do not point out physical developments; this
may cause the student to feel embarrassed.
 Be sensitive to student differences.
 Take breaks in between activities, so students do
not become lethargic in their seats.
 Stimulate brain development by giving students
critical thinking problems.
[gradual orderly changes by which mental processes become more complex
and sophisticated]
In general for the ten-year-old:
Can be voracious readers
Expressive, talkative, like to explain
Cooperative, competitive and inquisitive
Classification and collections of interest; like to organize
Able to concentrate, read for extended periods
Good problem solvers
Like to complete a task but doesn’t usually wish to enlarge or elaborate on it; wish to try
Interest span is short
Have a stricter ethical sense than most other ages
Very concerned about fairness
Generally love to memorize, but don’t generalize or correlate facts, or care what to do with the
Often enjoy “place” geography--names of states, capitals, but vague about actual geographic
Not able to plan own work, need schedules
Better able to see the perspectives of others
Most interested in concrete learning experiences and learning of specifics
Like to talk and listen more than work
In general for the eleven-year-old:
 Mostly interested in present, limited thoughts of the future
 Intellectual interests expand
 Increased ability to de-center and see world from various
 Development of ideals and selection of role models
 May experiment with dangerous risk-taking behaviors
 Even if students can make abstractions, they learn best
when activities are active, hands-on, and related to
personal experiences
 Concerned with rules, standards of behavior and fairness,
especially for themselves
 Do not distinguish between what they are thinking and
what others may be thinking; assume that every other
person is as concerned with their behavior and appearance
as they are better at planning than carrying out the plan
Students in the fifth grade, although they may
be developing at different times, will be in
Piaget’s Concrete-Operation Stage. Piaget
would describe this stage as “hands-on”
thinking. Basic characteristics include:
 Recognition of the logical stability of the
physical world
 Realization that elements can be changed or
transformed and still conserve many of their
original characteristics
 Understanding that these changes can be
Woolfolk, Educational Pyschology
Guidelines for teaching a concrete-operational
 Continue to use concrete props and visual aids,
especially with sophisticated material
 Continue to give students a chance to
manipulate and test objects
 Make sure presentations and readings are brief
and well-organized
 Use familiar examples to explain for complex
 Give opportunities to classify and group objects
and ideas on increasingly complex levels
 Present problems that require logical, analytical
Woolfolk, Educational Psycology
Again, teachers should be supportive to all of
students different learning paces and methods.
Teachers will teach their students the three
basic aspects of reasoning: identity,
compensation, and reversibility. With these,
according to Piaget, students will be able to
solve conservation problems. The student will
develop a logical system of thinking, though
still tied to the physical (concrete) reality.
Teachers need to encourage development in
students discovering and thinking
 Plan
hands-on activities. These could include
manipulates like tangrams or pegboard when
learning about different polygon shapes or
 Base new material off of already acquired
knowledge. For example, when learning to
multiply or divide, help students discover
that addition and subtraction is used.
 Play games with clearly defined rules to use
competition to motivate learning. A good
example is playing Around the World with
math facts.
[describing the relation of the individual’s emotional needs to the social environment]
In general social/emotional development for the ten-year-old:
Fairness issues peak and can be solved
Like clubs, activities, sports
Humor is broad, labored, and usually not funny to adults
May discuss contemporaries in terms of capabilities; his reading or his math
Usually direct, matter fact, clear-cut
Generally easygoing, content, friendly, and balanced
Usually less anxious, exacting, and demanding than at nine
Talkative; likes to tell stories about something they have seen, heard, or read about; can talk
something “into the ground”
May belittle or defy adult authority, but are closer to their families then at many other levels
Enjoy both family and peers
Developing more mature sense of right and wrong, good at solving social issues
Often interested in caring for animals, boys and girls may be interested in horses, but girls are
especially interested
Shrug off responsibility; can usually toss off criticisms and bad grades
Likes and dislikes are described in very specific terms
Note passing, sometimes about the opposite sex
In general social/emotional development for the eleven-year-old:
 Less overt affection and attention shown to parents, with
occasional rudeness; tests limits
 Impulsive, unaware
 Focus on self, alternating between high expectations and poor
 Have tendency to return to childish behavior, particularly when
 Experience extremes of emotions
 Inclusive/exclusion; height of cliques, seek to belong, discovery
of telephone
 Experimenting with behavior, roles, appearance, self-image
 Difficulty with decisions but need to be able to make some
choices for themselves
 Demand privileges, but may avoid responsibilities
 Feel unique; believe that no one else has ever felt the way they
do; suffered so much, or been so misunderstood
I think there is variety when discussing a 5th
graders psychosocial stage, but I believe my
students will fall in industry versus inferiority.
A description of this stage is: the child must
deal with demands to learn new skills or risk a
sense of inferiority, failure, and incompetence.
Students begin to see a relationship between
perseverance and the pleasure of a job
completed. This is also the age where
students begin to be compared to other
students their age.
Woolfolk, Educational Psychology
Guidelines for encouraging industry in a child:
 Make sure that students have opportunities
to set and work toward realistic goals (start
with shorter assignments, then move to
longer; write goals)
 Give students a chance to show their
independence and responsibility (class jobs)
 Provide support to students who seem
discouraged (keep work to show student
progress over time)
Woolfolk, Educational Psychology
Students in this stage of development are very
conscious of other people around them; they
often compare themselves to others. Teachers
need to help all students feel accepted and
worthy of praise. Middle school is where
competition– academically, socially, and
athletically– is increased. Teachers play an
important role is setting and implicating rules,
becoming a role model for desired behaviors,
and allowing students to learn without
criticism or judgment. Teachers also need to
give students responsibility in their education.
Woolfolk, Education Psychology
 Make
an honor code with goals set clearly,
have students sign, then they hold
responsibility for their own actions
 Do not compare students in class, this could
cause feelings of inferiority
 Create activities where students interact
with each other in a positive manner (one
student is the scribe, another the speaker,
 Ease transition into middle school by
lessening stress and providing help on
The morality of 5th graders is based on fairness
and the welfare of others. They already have
developed what is right and what is wrong, so
in this grade a teacher will hear frequently
“Billy got more than I did– that’s not fair!” But,
after transitioning from elementary to middle
school, there may be development in the
understanding of rules. Middle school, I
believe, is a turning point for students
beginning to think independently and avoiding
a certain action to avoid consequence. They
begin to take more responsibility for how they
interact with each other.
I would identify students in the 5th grade as
being in level two (conventional moral
reasoning)/ stage 3 (good boy– nice girl
orientation). In this level, judgment is based
on others’ approval, family expectations,
traditional values, the laws of society, and
loyalty to country. In this stage, good means
“nice”. It is determined by what pleases, aids,
and is approved by others.
Woolfolk, Education Psychology
It is the teacher’s role to delegate rules in the
classroom. These need to be clear and in view.
Students should be aware of these and know
the consequences if they are disobeyed. A
teacher should also make all students feel
welcome and comfortable. Similar to
psychosocial, morally, students should not feel
inferior to others in the classroom. Teachers
should also comfort students if they are
experiencing moral dilemmas.
 Give
students hypothetical moral dilemmas
such as “a man’s dying wife needs
medication, but he can’t afford it. Should he
steal it or let his wife die?” This will get
students thinking
 Model good moral behavior choices
 Allow students time to further clarify their
reasoning for something– this will help
explain why they made a certain moral
Cultural development is similar to exposing
students to diversity in the classroom. Some
students will come from backgrounds where
the teacher is the authoritative figure, others
will think that homework is too easy, and
others will think that not enough time is spent
on learning English. All of these beliefs affect
the students’ cultural development. These
cultures will be brought to the classroom, and
students will learn about a variety of cultures.
The teacher’s role in cultural development is
to help students develop a strong sense of
identity. It is also important to create a
learning environment where all students feel
accepted. Acceptance is the important to
stress in the classroom. Teachers should treat
all students with respect and should be a
model for the students. If students are shown
to be kind and respectful, studies show that
the students will then be more kind and
 Ask
speakers from different cultures to come
to the class and share about their beliefs. Or
even better ask students to share their
 Hang up posters from different cultures
 Instead of holiday parties for one specific
religion or belief system, teach about all of
them. For example, Christmas around the
 Read books about or from different cultures
 Be accepting and loving to all who walk in
the classroom
With all of this information in mind, it is important
for me to get to know all of my students. I want my
classroom to be a learning environment that accepts,
comforts, challenges, and stresses the importance of
being equal to all students. My students will be
developing at different paces, will learn at difference
paces, and will learn in different ways– this is
something that I will have to take in strives because it
will be worth it to have my students enjoy school.
Every student that I come in contact with, I want to
gather their individual characteristics to make his or
her learning experience as personal as possible. I will
play an important role in the development of all of
my students.
Woolfolk, Anita E (2010). Educational
Psychology (11th ed.) Columbus, OH:
Characteristics of Fifth Graders. N.p., 07 Dec.
2007. Web. 03 Nov. 2012.