Monthly Archives: February 2016

In-Depth Post #2


I know, I know. I’m still kicking myself for not getting my mentor yet. I’ve sent an email to my old Montessori preschool, as I realized that A. there aren’t a lot of mentors who can coach me in psychology and B. if they can, they’re too busy, and C. it’s more the hands-on and experience that I require from my mentor, since the more scientific things I can learn on my own. In replacement of meeting my mentor, I took it upon myself to collect as much research as I could. I went to the school library (yes, the library; I promised I would remove myself from the internet), scoured lots of psychology sites… yes, I mostly used the internet, but that’s besides the point.
I took it upon myself to learn about the four main cognitive stages of development (sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational), and read different logs and trials/experiments about different ways to handle kids. Of course, it’s not like I can test some of these styles on my brother, who is already well into the third stage of development (I swear that guy is resistant to all Jedi mind tricks), so I tried some new things in the only environment I could possibly think of—my workplace. (DISCLAIMER: I use this term loosely, since I’m not technically getting paid, but I do teach 5 students a week in piano.) Maybe it was just a stroke of luck, but I tried brightening up my mood, being more peppy, and adjusting myself to how the child learned, like taking the time to slyly assess their natural learning style and being able to adapt to that. I found that, especially with the younger children (generally in the second stage of cognitive development), it helped to use a combination of hands-on and auditory elements to help them learn, and that visual elements seemed to confuse them. Incidentally, it seemed to be the opposite for the older kids, who would ask me to repeat my words a lot, but then had much less trouble reading the notes on the page. Admittedly, I threw most of the actual teaching skills I learned out the window, and moulded myself to the individual, instead of following the strict lesson plan I spent weeks designing (sob).
I also spent quite a lot of time being biased and mostly researching psychology in music, rather than education, but I found myself focusing a lot on the Suzuki method of music, which is modelled around the idea that people can and will learn from their environment. I applied a lot of my knowledge from the “Nurture vs. Nature” concept
(I also found this article which applies to both my in-depth topic and my “job”, but I found it rather interesting. I only stumbled across it, as it doesn’t have a ton of solid evidence, but I felt like it explained a lot.
So, in conclusion, I’m still a little stuck in the middle for what psychological experiment I’ll design for in-depth night. I hope to find something that can be easily tested which lots of people can interact with on in-depth night, and will be both current so I can find lots of results for it but obscure enough that I can find out things for myself. I’m still kicking myself for the whole mentor thing, but I’m fortunate to be able find a place to apply my knowledge and be practical about it. Maybe now I’ll be able to get those kids to practice.