This essay is based on the knowledge of Haleemas personality, physical, linguistic, cognitive, social and emotional characteristics and developmental milestones documented in Assessment 1. It aims at predicting and building her development profile at 12 years of age and describing her expected development in all domains. In particular, this essay will try to analyse the developmental stages and changes that occur in the transition from middle childhood to puberty and the relationships between identity, wellbeing and learning. In doing this there will be references to the most important developmental theories analysed in this course and links to the school context and culture that influence Haleemas development.
Finally, this essay will draw suggestions about teachers strategies and resources that will help Haleemas successful journey in compulsory school, throughout her teenage years; taking into consideration her needs, strengths, weaknesses and interests.
Part 1: Overview on Haleemas development until age 7
Haleema was born in Australia, first child of a young second generation Lebanese couple. Both her parents spoke English as a first language and agreed to raise Haleema in a English speaking home. After her parents divorce, Haleema was raised by her mother and her extended family. From observation, it is clear that Haleema is a doted child, with advanced communication and language skills. She seems to have an intrinsic motivation for literature, reading and writing. Most of her learning skills came about due her mother. She helped doing this by creating a conducive environment for her
Haleemas development journey during middle childhood reflects Bronfenbrenner/ Piaget ecological theory (White et al., 2010), which identifies the home, school and community environment as contextual factors with a great impact on all developmental domains. With middle childhood, growth development slows down, while social, emotional and cognitive development take on vital significance to individual stability and resilience, which are very important for the progression of the child from middle school into junior high school and puberty.
Haleemas predicted development at age 12.
Puberty begins when sex hormones are released in the ovaries (for girls) and testes (for boys). This is a very important time for children, characterised by significant changes in all developmental domains. These changes show that a child is maturing and moving from childhood to adolescence. Puberty is different for every child, but generally includes 3 stages, which may vary for boys and girls: a period of general physical growth and development; gender-related changes to sexual organs; substantial social and emotional changes.
Physical development at 12
Physical development during puberty is associated with sexual development. Generally for girls, characteristic physical changes start from about 10-12 years and include the changes in height and body shape, the development of breasts, the growth of pubic hair and the start of menstruation. The development of breasts and pubic hair are often the first visible signs of puberty. Most girls have a growth spurt around this age, and they get taller. Around 16-17 years they usually stop growing, or even before if they had their periods quite early.
It is predictable that by ten years of age, Haleema is generally healthy and of average height and weight, in accordance with her physical development observed in middle childhood up to age 7 (Hoffnung at al., p269) At 12 her height might increase consistently and she might reach her final size, becoming taller that her male peers. She likes physical activity and being very competitive, she has a preference for individual sports like tennis, gymnastics and swimming. She also enjoys playing outside with the neighbours children, where she can express her tomboy nature, which has been observed at ages 3, 5 and 7. Despite her family religion and culture traditions she is permitted to practice organised physical activities after school hours, as her mother recognises the benefits of sport for a childs development. She takes swimming lessons twice a week and plays water polo. These activities, together with the westernised diet she is provided with, seem to be beneficial to Haleemas physical and mental well-being. With the start of her first menstruation around the age of 12, Haleema becomes more concerned with her body appearance and starts being interested in the opposite sex. Her feminine nature, which has been hidden during childhood, slowly begins to show up as discussed by Forward (cited in Hoffnung et al., p. 269). Despite her active routine, Haleemas habits may change during this time of her life.
Language development at 12
Right from a young age until age 7, Haleema has been proficient in all areas of language. At 12, her mature grammar and writing structure puts her at the top of the class with the teacher increasing expectations and giving extension activities to keep her interested. Her mother is keen on Haleemas education and keeps a wide range of books in their home. Being an extremely advanced reader, Haleema finds interest in non-fiction reading material, and books about her home country (Lebanon) and its traditional culture. She also becomes more aware of her diverse cultural background. They have limited access to technology, contrary to most of her peers because of her mother strict family traditions.(as observed in Life at 1,3,5 and 7)
Cognitive development at 12
Language acquisition and cognitive development are linked together. From observation of her language skills during middle childhood, it is clear that Haleema possesses strong cognitive skills (White et al., 2013). While Haleemas cognitive skills advanced rapidly and explicitly from early to middle childhood, this stage in particular will probably slow down during this time, as other contextual issues effect progress in puberty. In fact, the risks associated with Haleemas socio-emotional development result in further consequences on her cognitive abilities, which may develop at a steady rate.
Furthermore, Haleemas exceptional concentration abilities show great aptitude for learning. Her interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences need to be enhanced for effective emotional intelligence within progressive cognitive development. In fact, according to the socio- cultural approach to cognitive development originated by Vygotsky, childrens learning thrives through interactive play and the social environment (White et al., 2013)
Social and emotional development at 12 - intro
Every childs social and emotional development is different and is shaped by their unique combination of genes, brain and physical development, environment, experiences with family and friends, community and culture. During puberty, many changes occur in the way children behave, feel and interact with family, friends and peers. All these changes in behaviour, relationships and feelings happen for many reasons and are explained by analysing the developmental characteristics of teenage brains. In fact, the parts of the brain responsible for impulse control dont fully mature until about 25 years of age. For this reason adolescents are more likely to make emotional decisions without thinking through the consequences.
The social and emotional changes that characterise this time of childrens life show that they are forming their own independent identity. During puberty, friends play an increasingly important role in childrens life as they gradually separate from their families. Childrens desire of independence and their increased need for popularity, conformity, acceptance, personal recognition and, deeper connections with their friends are evident and characterise this stage. Consequentially, the relationships with families undergo dramatic changes because children become influenced by their peers and want to spend less time with their parents and relatives. Strong relationships with both family and friends are vital for a healthy socio-emotional development because friends are more likely to influence short-term choices, such as language, interests and appearance, while parents tend to influence the long-term decisions such as career choices, values and morals,
While most childrens understanding comes from siblings interactions such as conflict and sharing, Haleemas social experimentation started in day care. As observed in Life at 5, with her mother painfully shy and not keen to interact with other families, Haleemas early childhood years were characterised by a lack of both a paternal figure and regular socialisation opportunities, putting her at risk of becoming isolated. Things got better when the family moved to Haleemas uncles house, where she enjoyed the company of her three cousins. Her extended family played a crucial role in her social development and contributed to her sense of belonging and identity. The presence of her cousins makes up for her lack of sibling stimulation. By age 12, Haleema appears to be socially accepted, confident and well aware of her identity.
Haleema might start to develop a sexual identity and experience contrasting emotions about the changes in her body at around 12 years. Puberty might prevent Haleema from developing a positive self-esteem, considering her familys cultural and religious background. This might increase conflict with her mother on some related topics like dress code and relationships with the other sex. It is possible that as she thrives in academic structures, the cultural restrictions she is faces at home may create difficulties for her positive puberty development.
We need to keep in mind that she has a stable routine and an educated mother. These two factors are protective elements towards her healthy mental and physical growth. As stated in Bronfenbrenners ecological model (White et al., 2013), school is part of Haleemas microsystem: her teacher and the values that are transmitted at school play a key role model in her overall development, especially in regards of delicate topics like sexual development. The teacher faces considerable challenges in balancing academic, social and emotional needs of every student.
School culture, teacher expectation and teaching strategies to be implemented to address the focus childs strengths and weaknesses, needs and interests in consideration to stages of development.
Early adolescence is a period of our life that may range from 10 to 15 years of age in which teenagers are subject to major life changes. Early adolescents experience fast development and this is the reason why diversity is at its greatest during middle school years. Young people are simultaneously affected by physical, social, emotional and cognitive changes during puberty, different needs and challenges characterise this age group and are significantly different from the needs of younger children or older adolescents (Education Queensland, 2004).
In addition, the world in which children live has greatly changed over the last few decades. The kinds of knowledge and skills that early adolescents will need in the future will be different from those that were tough in the traditional education systems (Carrington, 2001). At the same time, our society has changed too. Early adolescents bring to the classroom different knowledge as a result of their social, cultural and...
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