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There is a reason that psychology is a necessary class to meet the requirements of nearly every college major. Understanding people, how they grow and develop, how they learn, and how they are influenced are all very important things to be aware of. Even in learning the basics of human psychology, students can gain a valuable insight that will prove to be beneficial in many aspects of life.
To be able to comprehend human psychology in fields that require close interaction with a wide variety of people, such as a major in Education, is not only beneficial but also necessary. Exploring how humans develop physically, emotional and mentally is key in understanding others, and when faced with many different people, such as in a classroom full of students, this knowledge is vital. Developmental psychology delves deeper into why humans are they way they are, and how they become who they are, or as Laura Berk puts it Developmental psychology is, “A field of study devoted to understanding constancy and change throughout the lifespan” (Berk, Lifespan Development Pg. 3)
These studies have led to many discoveries about humans, but why would it be applicable to someone like me who is considering being a teacher? Berk again points out that, “Public education In the twentieth century led to a demand for knowledge about what and how to teach children of different ages” (Berk Pg. 5)
Before stepping into a classroom to teach one may not stop to think that the students they will be teaching may have many different learning needs. Developmental psychology helps paint a picture of the different student personalities a teacher might face, as well as influences on a child’s behavior that might not otherwise be considered. I can now see why Developmental Psychology is part of the 7th through 12th grade education program here at Southern Maine Community College. Unlike Introduction to Psychology, which might be useful for most majors, this class explores psychology in a deeper way, and is necessary for anyone interested in working with children or young adults.
America is known as the melting pot of the world, you can see the diversity in our country on a daily basis. The people that make up our country come from a wide variety of different cultures, and bring with them many different religions, beliefs, and customs. It is important to take away from this class an understanding of diversity, and how it effects the development of every person. For me, it’s possible that I could grow accustomed to my students learning one way and then be faced with a student who has been raised in a culture with different ideas of how children should be educated. This doesn’t make the child any less intelligent, but rather comes as a chance for diversity to be celebrated in a classroom. As well as welcomed challenge for me to provide the student with the skills he or she will need to succeed in a new environment. Influences as far back as when the child was conceived could be contributing factors as to why the child is the way they are today! As a teacher I assume I’ll never know my students fully, but having knowledge of the vast influences in every stage of development will at least help me be more accepting and understanding.
The information in this class will stick with me, as well as be applicable in everyday life and in my career. The most important thing I will have learned from this class will be from the subject area about children and adolescents, because as a future teacher, I’ll mainly be dealing with that age group. That doesn’t mean the rest of the information from this course will go unused. I have already seen many events in my life that I understand better because of this class.
I grew up the oldest of six, so I already have some experience when it comes to watching a newborn grow, and the physical stages of deployment. The process is really amazing to see, but having taken this course it is even more amazing once you understand it better. As a child I may not have understood what was happening as my siblings grew, but as an adult I will definitely have a new found appreciation for the complex stages of life development that I will again get to witness. While I don’t foresee myself being a new father in the immediate future, I know that the time is coming, and what I’ve learned in this class will certainly stick with me as I raise children of my own.
The passing of my grandmother, only a few days after going over death and dying in class, made the event considerably less traumatizing, I could also share information I had learned and discussed in class with my family which helped put them at ease. During the time I was at her deathbed reoccurring thoughts of our class discussion on “death anxiety” kept coming up. My family was struggling with “fear and apprehension” (Berk Pg. 505) of letting my grandmother go. But it was her wish to be let go if she was relying strictly on life support to live. We were comforted in knowing she died peacefully.
From this class, and the events that unfolded this past week, I’ve encouraged my mother to make a ‘living will’ of her own, something only 29% of Americans have (Jon Radulovic, www.redorbit.com, 2006). It never hurts to be prepared and one of the simplest ways to do so is to be sure that your family knows your wishes. The answers to the tough questions can be answered before they need to be asked. Since having already applied what I’ve learned about death and dying in my life I am sure there will be many more personal and professional experiences in which the material from this course will be applicable.
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