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This paper is aimed to provide a critical in-depth analysis of Kayla’s case, which should be examined in relation to education and developmental theories as well as learning strategies. To consider the most appropriate options for the girl’s development, several developmental theories and learning outcomes are to be analyzed and evaluated. Kayla lacks communication with her mother, classmates and out-of-school peers to form a clear feeling of the self as well as to provide appropriate cognitive, intellectual, emotional, moral and physical development. Piaget’s, Vygotsky’s and Bronfenbrenner’s learning theories illustrate the girl’s case best, while differential task, formative assessment and stimulating class discussion techniques may be applied to promote her development.
Kayla’s Personality Aspects
The negative results on developmental delay tests as well as high scores when accomplishing individual tasks prove that Kayla’s intellectual and mental development is adequate. Her memory and learning capacities are rather high, though her emotional intelligence is not sufficient. Due to lack of social life, Kayla is focused on studies without involvement of communication skills and other students’ participation. As individuals acquire moral development via interaction with other people, it is necessary to recognize that lack of interaction with the mother, peers in class and out of the school may result in absence of the feeling of the self, which leads to vague moral position and absence of well-formed identity. Kaila’s motivational model demands adjusting, as her development apart from performance in school is not encouraged. The skills, knowledge and habits are formed due to certain impact from outside, which means that absence of access to outer world will lead to issues with the girl’s motivation, communication skills, social activism and moral development.
The primary theory that illustrates the features and challenges of the given case study is Bronfenbrenner’s theory of the multiple layers. According to this approach, environmental influence on child’s cognitive and intellectual development is made of a number of levels, among which the basic one is child’s family (Ormrod, 2014, p. 21). Family is an essential source of support for the child, including care about physiological needs and support during challenges. Kayla’s situation confirms this assertion and allows concluding that her disability to communicate freely and effectively is connected with absence of support from family (mother). As stated in the case, the girl is the only child in the family, living with her mother. Being a reserved girl who keeps to herself in class, she has no close friends inside or outside the school. Her mother encourages her success in studies, but does not make any effort to encourage her activities outside the classroom. In addition, she did not cooperate with Kayla’s teacher and did not ask for help regarding her daughter quietness and unsociability. The girl gives up in case of challenged tasks and is not self-confident, which is a result of lack of the mother’s support. As family is the most important level of influence, Kayla’s failure to adjust communication with classmates as well as lack of self-confidence is a result of her troubles within family: mother’s assistance is not sufficient to promote holistic cognitive and social development of the child.
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Another layer in Bronfenbrenner’s theory is neighborhood (community), which influences the child via preschools, schools and after-school assistance programs (Ormrod, 2014, p. 21). As learnt from the case study, Kayla has no communication with peers outside school, has no close friends within classroom and is not involved in any after-school activity. This level is responsible for child’s socialization through various educational establishment and social institutions, while, in the girl’s case, socialization does not go well because of lack of communication with the community. At the broader level that embraces state or province she is living in, it is difficult to make conclusion regarding state’s impact due to lack of data.
The multiple levels theory states that these levels shape the culture of a child, determining his/her further interests and characteristics. As levels impact on each other promoting developments and delays, recommendations for Kayla’s development concerning this theory will be divided into two dimensions. Taking into account application of this approach to the girl’s case, it may be concluded that Kayla needs assistance on both crucial levels: family and community. That is why it is necessary to communicate with her mother to help her recognize the way she influences her child development. It is worth taking individual class with Kayla and her mother to identify what exactly prevents the girl from appropriate social development and free communication with peers. Next, it is worth talking to her mother to explain how important is her support including all the spheres of Kayla’s life. She should be aware of the need for out-school activities that promote intellectual, moral and spiritual development of her child. Engaging Kayla in teamwork would promote her development. The task is not to create stress but to find the activity in which the girl faces collaborative, safe and friendly atmosphere to develop. The teacher also should explain to the mother that out-school development of Kayla may be done at the expense of her performance at school. The main tasks for the teacher are: 1) to address importance of Kayla’s communication with her mother, 2) to promote socialization of the girl. To fight these challenges, much time is needed because both in-depth investigation regarding Kayla’s emotions as well as her reaction on intense communication during certain period should be analyzed. However, if this approach works, Kayla’s performance in classroom should be assessed using formative assessment technique (Ormrod, 2014, p. 384) that allows concluding if the girl is improving or not.
According to Piaget’s approach in terms of Kayla’s case, child’s development depends on brain’s maturity and child’s experience (Ormrod, 2014, p. 34). It means that the girl’s performance depends on indexes of her brain maturity: she fails at certain tasks because certain parts of her brain that are responsible for these tasks are not mature enough. However, according to Piaget’s stages of children’s cognitive development, Kayla’s development turns from concrete operations to ability to work with concepts: her brain must be capable enough to solve synthetic tasks. The matter is that she does it individually, though fails to accomplish in team: Piaget’s puzzle model should be applied to illustrate this. As stated by Piaget, children construct their world grounding on previous knowledge, which means that Kayla’s understanding of the world is based on her belief in inability to cope with difficulties and to communicate. Her current activities prove that she keeps on repeating her experiences to prove that it is not worth even trying to take another chance. Thus, new knowledge proving Kaila’s ability to overcome challenges should be integrated into her mind. To complete it, the teacher should create the scenario in which she meets the requirements and gets a memory of a successfully completed group-task, to surround the further experiences around victories instead of failures. Another effective learner-directed strategy that would be useful in Kayla’s case is stimulating class discussion after new information is learnt (Ormrod, 2014, p. 383). The purpose is to involve the group in discussion, where the girl could easily take part.
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Vygotsky’s Theory of Cognitive Development
Vygotsky’s theory is tightly connected with adult’s participation and impact on children’s development; that is why it is useful to illustrate Kayla’s case using it. According to this approach, “children can accomplish more difficult tasks when assisted by more advanced and competent individuals” (Ormrod, 2014, p. 21). It is essential for understanding Kayla’s main problem and solution to it: in case adults help children, the latter complete more difficult tasks better than they would do it without assistance. The girl has learnt helplessness, which means that she feels helpless because she felt this way when failing some task previously. To change such a feeling, it is worth establishing the situation in which Kayla could feel confidence instead of helplessness, while a teacher or the mother could assist her. Due to above-mentioned conclusions concerning her relationships with her mother, it would be more effective to engage Kayla’s mother.
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However, when it comes to evaluation of Kayla’s results using Vygotsky’s approach and criteria, many issues rise: despite success when working alone, the girl still cannot succeed in collaborative group and does not complete challenging tasks. According to Vygotsky’s approach, Kayla should be given a challenging task that is supposed to promote maximum of cognitive growth (Ormrod, 2014, p. 39). The girl would refuse to deal with this task because she believes that she fails it. That is why the following method should be applied to promote self-confidence and communication inside the collaborative groups. For instance, differential instruction technique to individualize the task for Kayla’s features (Ormrod, 2014, p. 384) should be used: she should be given easier task than her classmates so that she could definitely complete it. In case the girl completes easy task in the group for, at least, once, she will further believe that she can handle tasks when working in-group and even succeed in it. In situation she had difficulties with easy task due to adrenaline and, in turn, worries about potential failure, she should be provided with the teacher’s assistance to promote the zone of her proximal development (Ormrod, 2014, p. 39). Out of school, Kayla’s mother should assist her in accomplishing challenging tasks regarding homework, sports, housework and other activities. Mother-child communication and cooperation regarding the girl’s socialization would promote her intellectual and cognitive development as well as will increase her self-esteem and improve communication skills.
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Considering recommended approaches to learning strategies for Kayla, it is necessary to recognize that dealing with such cases takes much time and efforts, which are essential for the teacher due to a number of class students. To prevent other children from Kayla’s problems as much as possible, it is necessary to organize in-class and out-class events and activities to make the class friendlier and open. In Kayla’s case, the teacher has to be both psychologist and teacher, who has to spend enough time on learning both aspects. It means that the teacher may recommend to Kayla’s mother to ask for additional psychological assistance. Teaching techniques that should be applied include lower-level questions, giving feedback to communication with Kayla as well as using traditional expository methods not only to demonstrate the information, but to involve the students into collective games (Ormrod, 2014, pp. 391-392).
In conclusion, Kayla’s case demonstrates that a number of developmental and education theories may be applied when dealing with a separate aspect of child’s behavior, whereas there is no holistic approach that could cover the limits of all previous theories. Bronfenbrenner’s, Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s learning theories could be used to determine appropriate teaching methods for the girl Kayla, including differential task, involvement in class discussion as well as lower-level questions. When managing Kayla’s case, the teacher should recognize that her relationship with the mother is the most important issue that influences the entire life. Teachers face many difficulties when dealing with students like Kayla, therefore their strategies should include prevention of communication issues among the children as well as encouragement of family’s participation in child’s development. Techniques that could help the teacher to develop considering Kayla’s experience are giving feedback, use of traditional expository methods and formative assessment technique.
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