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Delivery guides are designed to represent a body of knowledge about teaching a particular topic and contain:
- Content: A clear outline of the content covered by the delivery guide;
- Thinking Conceptually: Expert guidance on the key concepts involved, common difficulties students may have, approaches to teaching that can help students understand these concepts and how this topic links conceptually to other areas of the subject;
- Thinking Contextually: A range of suggested teaching activities using a variety of themes so that different activities can be selected which best suit particular classes, learning styles or teaching approaches.
- Stages of development; pre-natal; childhood; adolescence; and adulthood.
- The development of brain structures and functions; the nervous system; neurons; synapses; and their interaction in development of the brain.
- IQ tests as a measure of intelligence.
The developmental topic within this specification is one of five core areas of psychology learners must study. The primary focus of this area is to enable learners to develop an understanding and appreciation of how individual’s thinking and behaviour change over time. Many aspects of an individual’s life can influence their future development. Each moment is understood to only be one small step in a very long journey that begins before birth (prenatal stages) and continues through childhood; adolescence; and adulthood. These changes in behaviour may be influenced by biological stages in development or by changes in our experiences of the environment. In seeking to understand these changes, developmental psychologists develop theories and conduct scientific research to test these, and this is where the key research learners need to learn fits in to the specification.
Subtopic one of this delivery guide focuses on the key concepts that will help learners to understand how individuals develop in stages throughout their lives and how the brain and neuropsychology play a part in this. There is also a section on how intelligence interacts with development and how intelligence can be measured.
In subtopic two there is particular focus on how individuals change through childhood in relation to their cognitive development covered by Piaget’s theory. Subtopic three focuses on learning theories of development and how fixed and growth mindsets can affect learning which has been investigated by Dweck and Blackwell. The final subtopic explores how these theories can enable change within education and therefore focuses on the application of these theories in an educational setting.
Throughout the developmental area of the specification learners will also develop an appreciation of how both nature and nurture can affect individual development as well as developing the skills to consider the criticisms of each theory and research study.
Common misconceptions or difficulties learners may have:
In subtopic one learners will most likely find the study of the development of brain structures and functions challenging. Visual aids and kinaesthetic activities which learners can actively take part in and apply their knowledge of these concepts too would be a good way to enable better understanding. A brain model would be a good classroom investment. Learners could also make their own “brain hats” and identify important areas of the brain as a fun class activity. Learners could also be directed to external websites such as BBC bitesize (biology section).
Conceptual links to other areas of the specification – useful ways to approach this topic to set learners up for topics later in the course:
IQ tests as a measure of intelligence can provide conceptual links to issues within research methods such as reliability and validity. The brain and neuropsychology is assessed throughout the whole specification so this section will aid learners will synoptic assessment knowledge.
Timeline card sort activity – Present learners with envelopes containing information and pictures on each stage of development (prenatal, childhood, adolescents, and adulthood). Learners to organise the information in order of sequence from prenatal to adulthood
This can be a useful activity to start a discussion on when learners believe different behaviour and skills develop. The concept of nature versus nurture could also be bought in to discussion here and learners could present a debate to the class on which behaviours they believe are due to nature or nurture or whether behaviour is a combination of both.
The nervous system, neurons, and synapse summary close task. This could be used as an independent research task or as a revision activity.
You could differentiate this activity by providing weaker learners with the words for the close task and the higher ability with no words.
Starter IQ test – A nice fun way to introduce the topic.
IQ tests for dummy’s – More fun to be had completing on line IQ tests.
A good YouTube clip discussing the controversy of intelligence.
After completing both the starter IQ test and watching the clip learners could try and identify different types of measures of intelligence.
A link to some interesting podcasts by Adam Rutherford looking at the rise, fall and rise of the genetics of intelligence over the last hundred years. This further links to the nature v nurture debate.
Learners could access these as extension work for stretch and challenge as part of independent study.
Research task – There are a multitude of theories and different types of intelligence tests. Learners could be allocated one theorist each and must research and present their findings to the class. A discussion can then take place in regards to which test they think is the most appropriate and why.
Theorists learners could research could include any of the following:
Charles Spearman - General Intelligence
Howard Gardner - Multiple Intelligences
Robert Sternberg - Triarchic Theory of Intelligence
Horn and Cattell – Fluid and crystallised intelligence
Ravens standard progressive Matrices.
An interesting YouTube clip which explains some detail on Howard Garners theory of multiple intelligence.
Learners could go on to design an intelligence test that measures different forms of intelligence taken from Gardner’s multiple intelligences.
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