Chapter 7- Middle Childhood Body and Mind A Healthy Time • The average 7- to 11-year-old gains about 2 inches (5 centimeters) and 5 pounds (2.2 kilograms) per year. • Healthy 7-year-olds tend to be agile and neither too heavy nor too thin. • After age 6, the rate of muscle growth slows. Children master any motor skills that don’t require adult-sized bodies. A Healthy Time Asthma • A chronic disease of the respiratory system in which inflammation narrows the airways from the nose and mouth to the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing. Signs and symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. • Some experts suggest a hygiene hypothesis for the current increase in all allergies, from peanuts (an allergen for about 1 percent of U.S. children) to cockroach droppings (a trigger for asthma). A Healthy Time Obesity • Many 7- to 11-year-olds eat too much, exercise too little, and become overweight or obese as a result. • Body mass index (BMI)- The ratio of weight to height, calculated by dividing a person’s body weight in kilograms by the square of his or her height in meters. • Overweight- In an adult, having a BMI of 25 to 29. In a child, having a BMI above the 85th percentile, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s 1980 standards for children of a given age. • Obesity- In an adult, having a BMI of 30 or more. In a child, having a BMI above the 95th percentile, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s 1980 standards for children of a given age. A Healthy Time • • • • • Physical Activity Benefits: Better overall health, including less asthma Less obesity Appreciation of cooperation and fair play Improved problem-solving ability Respect for teammates and opponents of many ethnicities and nationalities A Healthy Time • • • • But there are hazards as well: Loss of self-esteem because of critical teammates or coaches. Injuries (the infamous "Little League elbow" is one example). Prejudice (especially against the other sex). Increases in stress (evidenced by altered hormone levels, insomnia. Theories About Cognition Piaget and School-Age Children • Concrete operational thought- Piaget’s term for the ability to reason logically about direct experiences and perceptions. • Classification- The logical principle that things can be organized into groups (or categories or classes) according to some characteristic they have in common. • Transitive inference- The ability to figure out (infer) the unspoken link (transfer) between one fact and another. Theories About Cognition • Seriation- The idea that things can be arranged in a series. Seriation is crucial for understanding the number sequence. • Contemporary developmentalists find that, in some ways, Piaget was mistaken. The research does not confirm a sudden shift between preoperational and concrete operational thought. • What develops during middle childhood is the ability to use mental categories and subcategories flexibly, inductively, and simultaneously. Theories About Cognition • • • • Vygotsky and School Age Children Whereas Piaget emphasized the child’s discovery, Vygotsky regarded instruction as essential. In guiding each child through his or her zone of proximal development, or almost-understood ideas, other people are crucial. Children are "apprentices in learning" as they play with each other, watch television, eat dinner with their families, and engage in other daily interactions. Language is integral as a mediator, a vehicle for understanding and learning. Theories About Cognition Information-processing theory • A perspective that compares human thinking processes, by analogy, to computer analysis of data, including sensory input, connections, stored memories, and output. • Selective attention- The ability to concentrate on some stimuli while ignoring others. • Automatization- A process in which repetition of a sequence of thoughts and actions makes the sequence routine, so that it no longer requires conscious thought. • Reaction time- The time it takes to respond to a stimulus, either physically (with a reflexive movement such as an eye blink) or cognitively (with a thought). Theories About Cognition • Sensory memory- The component of the information processing system in which incoming stimulus information is stored for a split second to allow it to be processed. (Also called the sensory register.) • Working memory- The component of the information processing system in which current, conscious mental activity occurs. (Also called shortterm memory.) • Long-term memory- The component of the information processing system in which virtually limitless amounts of information can be stored indefinitely. Theories About Cognition • Working memory improves steadily and significantly every year from age 4 to 15 years. • The capacity of long-term memory is virtually limitless by the end of middle childhood. • Memory storage (how much information is deposited in the brain) expands over childhood, but more important is retrieval (how readily stored material can be brought into working memory). • As the prefrontal cortex matures, children are better able to use strategies to help them remember. • Retrieval becomes more efficient and accurate. Theories About Cognition • Metacognition- "Thinking about thinking"; the ability to evaluate a cognitive task in order to determine how best to accomplish it, and then to monitor and adjust one’s performance on that task. • Metamemory- The ability to understand how memory works in order to use it well. Metamemory is an essential element of metacognition. Learning in School • • • • Teaching Values In some nations, every public school teaches religion. In the United States, most children who attend private school (10 percent) or who are home-schooled (2 percent) learn specific religious content. Among the other specifics taught in some schools are evolution and sex education, both ideas that most Americans want children to learn but some parents do not. Hidden curriculum- The unofficial, unstated, or implicit rules and priorities that influence the academic curriculum and every other aspect of learning in school. Learning in School Learning Language • By age 6, children know most of the basic vocabulary and grammar of their first language, and many speak a second or even a third language. • Some school-age children learn as many as 20 new words a day and apply grammar rules they did not use before. Learning in School • Directly related to language learning is another capacity of the school-age child, the ability to switch from one manner of speaking, or language code, to another. • Each language code differs in tone, pronunciation, gesture, sentence length, idiom, grammar, and vocabulary. • Sometimes people switch from the formal code (used in academic contexts) to the informal code (used with friends). • Many children use a third code in text messaging, with numbers (411), abbreviations (LOL), and emoticons (). Learning in School Learning Language • Should immigrant children be required to speak only Standard English in school right from the beginning, or should they be educated in their native language in the early grades? • English-language learner (ELL)- A child who is learning English as a second language. • In the United States, some school districts offer bilingual education (teaching in two languages); others provide ESL (English as a second language) instruction; and others offer only immersion, in which children are taught exclusively in a language that is not spoken at home. Learning in School The Reading Wars • Phonics approach- Teaching reading by first teaching the sounds of each letter and of various letter combinations. • Whole-language approach- Teaching reading by encouraging early use of all language skills-talking and listening, reading and writing. • A focus on phonics need not undercut instruction that motivates children to read, write, and discuss with their classmates and their parents. Learning in School The Math Wars • Historically, math was taught by rote; children memorized number facts, such as the multiplication tables, and filled page after page of workbooks. • In reaction against this approach, many educators, inspired especially by Piaget and Vygotsky, sought to make math instruction more active and engaging- less a matter of memorization than of discovery. Measuring the Mind • Aptitude- The potential to master a specific skill or to learn a certain body of knowledge. • IQ test- A test designed to measure intellectual aptitude, or ability to learn in school. Originally, intelligence was defined as mental age divided by chronological age, times 100--hence the term intelligence quotient, or IQ. • Achievement test- A measure of mastery or proficiency in reading, mathematics, writing, science, or some other subject. Measuring the Mind Measuring Aptitude • The most important aptitude for school-age children is intellectual aptitude, or the ability to learn in school, which is usually measured by an IQ test. • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC)- An IQ test designed for school-age children. The test assesses potential in many areas, including vocabulary, general knowledge, memory, and spatial comprehension. • Flynn effect - The rise in average IQ scores that has occurred over the decades in many nations. • Mental retardation- Literally, slow, or late, thinking. In practice, people are considered mentally retarded if they score below 70 on an IQ test and if they are markedly behind their peers in the ability to meet the basic requirements of daily life. Measuring the Mind Measuring Achievement Within the United States • No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act- A U.S. law enacted in 2001 that was intended to increase accountability in education by requiring states to qualify for federal educational funding by administering standardized tests to measure school achievement. • National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)- An ongoing and nationally representative measure of U.S. children’s achievement in reading, mathematics, and other subjects over time; nicknamed "the nation’s report card." Measuring the Mind International Achievement Test Scores • Literacy Study (PIRLS)- Inaugurated in 2001, a planned five-year cycle of international trend studies in the reading ability of fourth-graders. • Trends in Math and Science Study (TIMSS)- An international assessment of the math and science skills of fourth- and eighth-graders. Although the TIMSS is very useful, different countries’ scores are not always comparable because sample selection, test administration, and content validity are hard to keep uniform. Measuring the Mind Developmental Psychopathology • The field that uses insights into typical development to understand and remediate developmental disorders, and vice versa. • Children with special needs- Children who, because of a physical or mental disability, require extra help in order to learn. • Education of children with special needs is most beneficial when it begins early; but availability of programs varies within and among nations. Measuring the Mind Measuring the Mind Several lessons from developmental psychopathology apply to everyone: 1. Abnormality is normal. Most people sometimes act oddly, and those with serious disabilities are, in many respects, like everyone else. 2. Disability changes year by year: Someone who is severely disabled at one stage may become quite capable later on, or vice versa. Measuring the Mind 3. Adulthood may be better or worse than childhood. Prognosis is difficult. Many infants and children with serious disabilities that affect them psychologically (e.g., blindness) become happy and productive adults. Conversely, some conditions become more disabling at maturity, when interpersonal skills become more important. 4. Diagnosis depends on the social context. According to the widely used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), "nuances of an individual’s cultural frame of reference" must be considered before a diagnosis is rendered(American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p. xxxiv). Measuring the Mind • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)- A condition in which a person is inattentive, impulsive, and overactive and thus has great difficulty concentrating for more than a few moments. • Comorbidity- The presence of two or more unrelated disease conditions at the same time in the same person. Measuring the Mind • Learning disability- A marked delay in a particular area of learning that is not caused by an apparent physical disability, by mental retardation, or by an unusually stressful home environment. • Dyslexia- Unusual difficulty with reading; thought to be the result of some neurological underdevelopment. Measuring the Mind • Autistic spectrum disorder- Any of several disorders characterized by impaired communication, inadequate social skills, and unusual patterns of play. • Autism- A developmental disorder marked by an inability to relate to other people normally, extreme self-absorption, and an inability to acquire normal speech. • Asperger syndrome- An autistic spectrum disorder characterized by extreme attention to details and deficient social understanding.