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Educational Psychology Seminar: Self-regulation

Posted by on March 26, 2006

(This is an extra credit paper I wrote for my Ed Psych class :))

On Friday, Deborah Leong, a professor at the Metro State College of Denver, spoke on Vygotsky and Educational Psychology. I wasn’t there the entire time, but because her seminar was very practical, I learned a lot. I found it very interesting that children have trouble learning if they do not have self-regulation. I had never thought about how important it is that children engage in proper behaviors, even from a very young age. Professor Leong brought up the fact that so many daycare centers encourage wild behavior by allowing the children to run around instead of keeping them controlled. This made me realize how critical it is to teach correct behaviors; it can affect them for the rest of their lives. It is proven that children who do not have self-regulation are less likely to succeed throughout life.

According to Vygotsky, the best way for children to gain self-regulation is through imaginative play. Professor Leong brought up a huge problem that we are facing today in the development of children: the toys that are being sold in stores are so specific that children have no room for imagination. Thinking back to my own childhood, I remember playing all kinds of make-believe games with my sister; we used to make covered wagons out of patio chairs and houses out of couch cushions.

Walking through Walmart yesterday, I was noticing all the fancy toys children have to play with today, and I see it as a huge problem. My friend said, “Wow! Look at all these cool toys kids have to play with now!” If I had not been to the seminar on Friday, I would have thought the same thing. The extravagant, detailed toys look really nice if you don’t know anything about the development of children, but when a little girl has a fancy bed, stroller, and playpen bought from a store to play with, she has no room to be creative and make her own things from around the house for her doll. Children today are just responding to the toys rather than using their imaginations, and as a result, it is a lot harder for them to gain self-regulation. My fear is that the intelligence levels of the next generations are going to go down as a result.

I have now become more aware about the development of children and how important it is for them to use their imaginations. I am interested to research more before I teach children so I will know the best ways to help them learn. This seminar has caused me to think about how I can make sure that children in my classes (and my own children someday) are learning to the fullest of their abilities.

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