Education Psychology

Curriculum Alignment

With the implementation of compulsory schooling, every child who is of school age is entitled to an education. Ordinarily, among the goals of education is provide all learners with an opportunity to participate in a learning environment that is less restrictive, regardless of the learning challenges. Aligning the curriculum to meet the special needs students in a formal instructional setting is a complex and time-consuming exercise that demands collaboration and cooperation of teachers and students. Unfortunately, synergies of this sort are often inhibited by various challenges. For instance, learners’ toolkits may be inconsistent, and distinct external factors hinder no matter the plan, the capability of the teachers to steer and facilitate learning in the instructional setting. Integrating human development theories into the instructional settings is vital for teachers who want to educate their students per educational research. In part, theories of human development help explain human behaviors as they allow teachers to understand expected human behavior and relate to various developmental stages. 

Recommended adjustments to Curriculum Content

Human development theories allow for the assessment of age-related changes in behavior while considering the study of psychological processes to understand the sequence of various development elements (Salkind, 2004). In order to make meaningful and favorable adjustments in the curriculum content within the instructional setting and improve the alignment to behavioral theories of human development, this study recommends the adoption of pedagogy as practice and formative assessment.

Pedagogy as Practice

Pedagogy in teaching encompasses the use of theories, beliefs, policies, and controversies to inform and shape the self-contained act of instruction (Hall, Murphy, & Soler, 2009). It helps link curriculum content with culture, structure, and strategies of social control. In reality, pedagogy refers to the various interactions that happen between teachers, learners, and the instructional setting as well as the learning tasks. The approach explains how teachers relate with the students, and how learning strategies are implemented in the learning environment.

Appropriateness to Effective Curriculum 

In order to understand the relevance of this approach, we must first consider the learning-centered pedagogy that acknowledges the use of both the student-centered and teacher-centered pedagogy in an instructional setting. The approach suggests that teachers should be flexible and be careful when adapting their pedagogical approaches depending on the instructional environment. In reality, pedagogy as a practice allows the teacher to introduce learning as a whole class, in small groups, or in pairs. It also allows meaningful inclusion of learning materials apart from the course books. Along with that, it provides learners with opportunities to expand their knowledge upon responses. The teacher is also at liberty to introduce a variety of learning lessons, while also helping the teacher gain a positive attitude towards the learners in their ability to learn. By introducing the approach in the instructional setting, pedagogy enhances academic excellence, social, and emotional development, and a general ability to influence the society.

Appropriateness to Learner Diversity

The pedagogical approach allows teachers to develop a positive attitude towards learners enabling them to be more socially responsive and attentive to the demands of their students. This allows them to tailor instruction to specific student needs and enhance success drawing on student experience for meaningful and relevant lessons. Conversely, students from disadvantaged circles such as minority groups, special needs learners enjoy teacher attention since pedagogical approach when applied effectively eliminates teacher discrimination.

Formative Assessment

Essentially, formative assessments are ongoing instructional setting assessments used throughout the course to evaluate student performance (Heritage & Stigler, 2010). These evaluations should not be confused with the summative assessments carried out at the end of a unit or semester. Formative assessment allows teachers to provide feedback on student’s work and help make necessary adjustments in instruction to address the student needs and interests.

Appropriateness to Effective Curriculum

Formative assessments are integrated into instructional settings as a way of generating feedback to teachers and students about their progress towards pre-set standards. By introducing this strategy in the learning environment, teachers have an opportunity to modify their instructions, re-teach the curriculum content, and provide learners with opportunities to ensure mastery of the essential content.

Appropriateness to Learner Diversity

In differentiated classrooms, where inclusion model is used, the resounding mantra is usually, “fair is giving the students what they need.” The formative assessment allows the teacher to determine what the students need and tailor the instructions based on this knowledge. This ensures that struggling students are helped, and no child is left behind because of their learning challenge.

Aligning Instructional strategies to Behavioral Theories of Development

Instructional strategies help teachers modify their style of teaching to include a comprehensive model that reaches out to all students within the instructional environment, their learning abilities notwithstanding (Bernhardt, 2016). By aligning instructional strategies to behavioral theories of development, the ultimate goal is to increase student learning outcomes as well as address learner diversity within the instructional setting. In this context, this study will consider aligning the cooperative learning and the inquiry-based learning curricula to the behaviorism and cognitive development theories for adequate instructions and expanding learner diversity. 

Appropriateness to Effective Instruction

Effective teachers understand the need for a learner-centered classroom with ongoing stakes to check levels of student knowledge and skills. They also continually adjust the instructional strategies to meet individual needs and interests. In this, students are directly involved in the discovery of their knowledge through collaboration with others as they engage in learning to create a holistic and challenging experience. During this period, students use previously acquired knowledge to develop new insights and skills and reflect on them through inquiry-based learning to recognize the most appropriate method for solving problems posed to them. By using the inquiry-based method, instructors engage students in thought-provoking activities such as finding solutions and examples, while applying these analogies as they present new ideas in alignment to the cognitive development theory (Jiang, 2012). In reality, by aligning the inquiry-based learning to cognitive development theory, learners are able to create and comprehend ideas regarding the environment around them by weaving together their daily experiences with critical thinking to develop further their knowledge. Cooperative learning involves aligning students in a way that they can participate in virtually all activities and realize their potential. Besides, as Jiang notes, the strategy also encourages self-reliance and individual accountability. By aligning this strategy with the cognitive development theory, the teacher enables the students to express their ideas and suggestions and listen to them attentively during classroom discussions.

Appropriateness to Learner Diversity

The instructional setting comprises of learners from various diversities. Such include ethnic diversity and distinctive learning needs. Addressing the needs of these students is of paramount importance to the teacher. Aligning the cooperative learning instructional strategy into the behavioral development theories makes it easier for the teacher to align students in distinctive groups, where they can fully participate to express their ideas, listen to their peers in a heterogeneous interaction (Jiang, 2012). On the other hand, the inquiry-based learning helps students to quench their inquisitive nature by engaging learners in critical thinking to apply logical operations to knowledge theories. The strategies not only encourage team building but also increase self-reliance and accountability of the student behavior, which are part of the objectives of the curriculum content.

References

Bernhardt, V. L. (2016). Translating data into information to improve teaching and learning. New York: Routledge.

Hall, K., Murphy, P., & Soler, J. (2009). Pedagogy and practice: Culture and identities. Los Angeles, Calif. [u.a.: Sage.

Heritage, M., & Stigler, J. W. (2010). Formative assessment: Making it happen in the classroom. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin.

Jiang, Y. (2012). Reflection, Change, and Reconstruction in the Context of Educational Reform and Innovation in China: Towards an Integrated Framework Centred on Reflective Teaching Practice for EFL Teachers’ Professional Development. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Pub.

Salkind, N. J. (2004). An introduction to theories of human development. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Pub.

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