To the administrator of Horace Mann Elementary School, my name is Laura Lund, a second grade teacher at the school. Recently, I learned that other teachers are concerned about the approach I have taken for teaching my students. After teaching for three years, I realized that enhancing the students’ individual development skills at an early age will help them to succeed in their later years. In using developmentally appropriate instruction, I can give my students instructional activities based on their individual needs; as well as the needs of the class. My colleagues seem to think that I am not focusing on academics enough and that my students will not pass a test required to take in their third and fourth grade year, which could bring down the school’s test scores. I understand their concerns; but I am more concerned about the appropriateness of my student’s development. I have to decide whether to continue with my current method or go back to the traditional way of teaching. After researching current studies on developmentally appropriate instruction, I have decided to continue using this method of teaching. The main reason I have decided to continue using this method is the enhancement of the students’ development and learning.
The socio-emotional and cognitive developments of the students have allowed them to handle stress, become more creative, and achieve higher grades. “The Hyson research team found that children in child-initiated classrooms scored higher on measures of creativity, or divergent thinking, than children in academically oriented classrooms” (para. 3). Other studies showed that students in kindergarten to second grade scored higher on math and reading tests when taught using developmentally appropriate instructions. Aligning curriculum with assessment allows what is taught to be evaluated by the value and importance of it. The teacher and student will benefit from aligning assessment with the instructions. The instructions are geared toward a central point that will help the student to learn, and because the students are assess on what is taught. Teachers can change their instructions based on the students’ test scores, the questions they ask, and their everyday class work as a method of knowing how the students are learning. True learning takes place within an assessment; therefore, integrating instructions, class activities, and assessments will be a plus for the teachers.
Taylor and Nolen (2011) states, “If teachers do not assess students, or if classroom assessments are not aligned with instruction, children who are at risk may fall further behind and teachers will not know whether their instruction has been successful” (p. 4). In regard to the influences of local assessment policies, research showed that the students benefited from developmentally appropriate instructions in early years and achieved higher levels in academic structured classroom. However, they had the potential of suffering emotional stress when achieving high levels of academics. Because developmentally appropriate instructions focused on the development of stress and emotions in early childhood; students can test without the fear of failing.
When attending a class such as mine, the students show more confidence and over time they could exhibit signs of academic achievements. In conclusion, I have found and decided that my students benefited using developmentally appropriate instructions. The reason is enhanced student development of skills needed in early childhood. The research and studies I found confirms and agrees with my decision to stay with this method. Students were able developed and learned better when instructions and assessments are aligned together. Not aligning them causes some students and the teacher’s instructions to fail. Last, the assessments of students in a developmentally appropriate class allowed them to test better and with less fear.
Popham, W.J. (2011). Classroom Assessment: What Teachers Need to Know (6th ed.). Boson, MA: Pearson/Ally & Bacon. Developmentally Appropriate Practice: What Does Research Tell Us? ERIC Digest. http://www.ericdigests.org/1998-1/practice.htm – Cached