Education: Childhood Studies
Table of Contents
Discussing the issues that impede Jimmy’s cognitive and emotional development, it is appropriate to refer to Bronfenbrenner’s ecological framework. Moreover, given that social systems constantly form and shape the person’s evolution, one should also consider the connection between Bronfenbrenner’s and Vygoitsky’s views regarding the importance of sociocultural variables. Besides, striving to improve Jimmy’s education and behavior it is necessary to consider his mental impairments. Comprehending the identified tasks, this paper aims at discussing the boy’s two systems, microsystem and mesosystem, explore the reasons of his continuing troubled behavior, and scrutinize the role of sociocultural theory in inclusive education.
The Connection between Social Systems and Trouble Behaviors
Urie Bronfenbrenner’s ecological framework of development suggests that an individual is exposed to the actions of his/her social systems (“Welcome to week 5!” n. d., p. 7). These are the layers, each of which has a diverse level of impact. Despite unequal influence, every system is important for forming the one’s mentality. What is more, these layers overlap with one another. As a result, their impact on the child’s development can foster or inhibit the formation of certain qualities. Applying this insight to the discussed case of Jimmy’s behavior it is natural to suggest the following fact. The boy struggles to adequately socialize because he possesses a set of behaviors that are adverse and unacceptable in his community. In particular, Jimmy maintains repetitive actions such as ”picking at scabs on his arm, picking his nose, and demonstrating pica”. Without a doubt, a teacher should help this child to eliminate the improper behaviors. Working with disabled children, it is necessary to define the narrow tasks, such as liquidate these three behaviors. Moreover, a concrete and detailed explanation why it is inappropriate/disappointing for attachment figures/malevolent for developing friendship or other motives should be used.
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The fact that Jimmy continues to reveal the same problem in his behaviors implies two assumptions. Firstly, this boy receives the proper reaction towards his actions neither inside his microsystem nor in his mesosystem. Secondly, the collaboration between school and parents is poor in terms of working at accomplishing common goals. This example stresses the importance of cooperation between different ecological systems. The reason is that it is the only way to eliminate improper behaviors and reinforce the positive tendencies in child’s development. To enhance the comprehension of Jimmy’s issues, one should explore in detail his micro- and mesosystems.
The Interaction between Jimmy’s Microsystem and Mesosystem
This kid’s microsystem includes his father, stepmother, brother, and, possibly, teachers from general and special schools. In other words, these are boy’s role models who have the strongest impact on Jimmy’s development. The reason is that they personally and closely interact with him. Assessing the level of impact inside this closest social layer, it is possible to presume that Jimmy lacks adequate attention and communication. In other words, his needs are not totally addressed, which significantly hinders his development. Considering the rationale he does not have the access to his biological mother; as for his father and stepmother have another child of a kindergarten age. Besides, the woman is pregnant with twins. This information suggests that Jimmy may lack socializing and, as a result, struggles to develop the proper social skills. In addition, it is clear that having mental retard, he needs more time for education, which his family members do not have. This rationale reveals that the person’s microsystem has the strongest impact on cognitive and emotional development. Therefore, Jimmy’s mental impairments are stipulated by the fact that his needs are poorly addressed by caregivers.
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Furthermore, the boy observes his role models’ emotional detachment, which he adopts as an appropriate communication. In this regard, the absence of friends may be predefined by the kid’s emotional restraint that he has experienced from his biological mother and might not be regained in his new family. This idea illustrates the close interaction between social layers. Specifically, Jimmy has not developed socially acceptable ways of interaction. Therefore, he can hardly be taught by his mesosystem, which limits his educational possibilities as well as his chances for the future successful socializing. At school, Jimmy is rejected by peers because of his troubled behaviors. It means that his mates reinforce the actions of indifference, which the boy has already observed inside his family. Unfortunately, this situation reveals that the negative impact towards his psyche is doubled by the same adverse reactions of the both discussed social layers.
Hence, Jimmy’s hobbies, books, and art can be the way to reduce the negative attitudes he receives. Arranging for boy’s extracurricular activities in these fields is the remedy to help him successfully socialize and, by this, improve his learning capacities. Teachers should consider the benevolence of this approach and assist Jimmy in making friends either with disabled or healthy children. Nevertheless, presently, the feeling of isolation and the lack of purposeful collaboration between child’s systems complicate improving his academic performance and lessening his mental and emotional impairments.
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Implementing the Sociocultural Theory in Inclusive Education
Addressing the issues connected with providing a proper education to children with disabilities, it is appropriate to refer to the sociocultural theory of development provided by Lev Vygotsky. The discussion of the objectives and rationales that connect the variables stated in the researcher’s concepts also need to address the questions of inclusive education. This premise can be supported by corresponding statements. In particular, this scholar believes that children’s mentality is not conserved. On the contrary, it is always flexible and ready to perceive and adopt the new information (Miller, n. d., p. 373). It is necessary to clarify that this peculiarity of people’s psyche predefines their sociocultural diversity. The sociocultural differences are formed because each mentality is exposed to the data revealed by social habitat. It means the fact that every individual absorbs diverse information and learns various skills due to the uniqueness of their social ecosystems.
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Given this rationale it is natural to assume that the students of the same age and community may have quite diverse mental and emotional characteristics. This premise also refers to the diversity of learning capacities. Therefore, such notion as a child’s normality does not have a strict definition or borders. However, there are the tests that help checking the success of the pupils’ academic performance with the purpose to understand what amount of needed assistance.
In the discussed case, it is identified that Jimmy attends a general classroom. At the same time, his development is supported by a special education center. Considering this information, it is possible to assume that this boy has a diverse from his classmates’ zone of proximal development. Thus, he requires greater teachers’ assistance and supervision. What is more, one should understand that Jimmy is affected by his communication with peers and teachers. Besides, this impact is mutual since this boy shapes the knowledge, views, and attitudes of the people with whom he interacts. The described situation strongly resonates with Vygotsky’s ideas that are revealed in sociocultural theory. Specifically, having disability means having differences that should be taken into account while studying. This idea underlies the sociocultural theory of development. The students’ uniqueness should be acknowledged, and the educational process should be organized considering the pupils’ cultural background.
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Moreover, Vygotsky addresses the problem of inclusive education pointing to the low effectiveness of special schooling. The scholar reveals the following scrutiny: special education is based on the fact that students with mental impairments lack abstract thinking. Therefore, they should be taught applying to look-and-do methods (Vygotsky, n. d., p. 89). Hence, this approach is not effective because it sets the frames in learning that are limited to developing concrete thinking. In contrast, Vygotsky believes that detecting the students’ sociocultural background and their mental capacities in order to provide the proper tasks in terms of pupils’ zone of proximal development is a correct educational approach.
Given that students have a different base of knowledge and diverse learning capacity, the scholar scrutinizes that more skilled pupils should be involved into teaching their peers (McMahon, n. d., p. 62). According to Vygotsky, arranging the process of education in this way enables all children expand their zones of proximal development at the optimal speed with comfort and interest towards moderate challenges (McMahon, n. d., p. 62). In this respect, inclusive schooling can better address the needs of disabled kids. The reason is that it anticipates the isolation that is common for special education (Vygotsky, n. d., p. 89). Undoubtedly, the development of socializing skills is one of the teachers’ core tasks. The ability to adequately interact in the diverse social lays is the factor that greatly predefines life quality and success.
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Therefore, one can rightfully deduce that the use of sociocultural approach is benevolent for inclusive education. It can help Jimmy and other children with impairments to take a decent social niche. Moreover, to increase the effectiveness of educating and bringing up this boy, it is recommended to improve collaboration between his closest social layers, such as microsystem and mesosystem. It includes the child’s family, school, and community that should set the similar educational task. Such objective should help achieving better results in mental and emotional development of disabled and healthy students.