Essentials PEPSI Elementary Adolescence Advanced CD
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ESE504 : The Class : Elementary : Reading Response

Reading Response:
Teaching the Whole Child

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What is human nature?

What drives our actions?

What lens can we use to give us a proactive vision of life and children?

What roles can teachers adopt to advance student motivation and learning?

As we establish a personal sense of what it means to be human and the value of children to themselves and our future, we look more critically at the role of schools and the blending of our understanding of children, how they learn, what they need and what that suggests about best practice.

These directly impact our expectations of teachers. Since there are many stake holders in education and child care, this complicates education. As a teacher enters the business of instruction, there are hidden and open messages about how to best serve society, the community, parents, administration, the students and self. [Does this ordering of stake holders say anything?]

A competent teacher learns to recognize, value and juggle these expectations, and feels empowered to make decisions about teaching. The teacher who does not recognize and address this part of teaching still has the strings attached, but may not be able to make informed choices or act freely on ethical dilemmas.

How do you feel in your current position?


A juggler
A puppet master
Draw your own image

Recognizing our own feelings about teaching is part of our own personal development. It affects the satisfaction we have in a job or dedication, helps us to visualize what we believe and thus helps us determine what we hope to achieve and how we will measure our successes.

Seeing our own level of development is also a powerful tool in understanding student development. Human development and teaching are "nested". In fact, it's almost the old chicken or egg question.

Do we teach children based on knowing their developmental stages and needs . . .


do students' developmental abilities and needs eventually force us to teach what they can learn?

Read or review the chapters on development. Review the PEPSI charts that provide a summary of the development process for the age group you choose or that represent the students you teach. Develop three mini essays that speak to teaching as addressing the whole child rather than being a solitary pursuit of cognitive achievement.

1. Give the pros and cons of looking at and trying to address the development of the whole child. How can a teacher or individual blend content, curriculum expectations and the needs of the child. Should we expect it? If education in general or teachers specifically ignore the developmental levels or specific individual needs of students, is there someone who will provide insight and appropriate care and concern?

2. Is working with areas other than cognitive ability an example of a parent or family right and responsibility? Do teachers bear any responsibility or have any rights with respect to helping a child mature? Is this an individual vs. society issue? If all areas but intellect belong to the family, what would the curriculum look like?

3. We are testing student intellectual progress and reporting that to the nation. Is that because we have no right to other domains? Is it because we don't know how to test other kinds of intelligence or the other four areas of development? Do report cards address areas of development other than cognitive? If not, how might we reflect our work with other areas of the child?


Excellent response - All three questions are discussed. The essay is cogent and provides a strong weaving of opinion about what should be included in school curriculums and how it relates, or need not relate to what we know about development, individual needs and literature suggesting a wide array of intelligences.

Marginal - States a position without providing justification or rational argument; ideas lack consistency and/or not all questions were considered in the response.

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E-mail J'Anne Ellsworth at

Course developed by J'Anne Ellsworth


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