Theories on Cognitive Development

Watch the film American Promise: (Links to an external site.)

Week Five

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Bronfenbrenner’s systems theory describes how five interrelated systems (i.e., microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem) affect children’s development and how children’s behaviors, in turn, influence these systems. The microsystem is the first system and consists of the face-to-face interactions that influence a child’s development, such as within her or his family or at school. Next, the mesosystem refers to the interactions among microsystems, such as parent–teacher conferences (e.g., the interaction of family and school microsystems). The exosystem refers to events or settings that indirectly affect the child (e.g., school board changes in student assignment policies). The macrosystem is the larger cultural context that addresses popular ideas and beliefs, such as being an African American student in an all-White school. Finally, the chronosystem refers to time in that it addresses how history influences current social and political views, such as the year in which the United States elected its first Black president.

Retrieved from: (Links to an external site.)

Dr. Margaret Beale Spencer built on Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model with her Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST). Please read one of her interviews and describe the role teaching and resiliency played in American Promise: (Links to an external site.) (links to an external site).

Provide one example each of how dyslexia, ADHD, culture, race, SES, and achievement gaps were discussed in American Promise.

Connect one of these terms (dyslexia, ADHD, culture, race, SES or the achievement gap) to one system from systems theory.

Describe one way in which either Seun or Idris demonstrated resiliency.

Evaluation Checklist

Candidate provides an accurate example of how each of the terms for #1 were discussed in the film. (5 points)
Candidate connects ONE term to at least ONE of the systems of systems theory. (5 points)
Paragraph describes the meaning of achievement-gap talk, describes the problem with this talk, and identifies how the problem with achievement-gap talk is discussed in the film. (5 points)
Answers are clear and free of grammatical/spelling errors. (5 points)

Week Six

We will watch the keynote speech of Dr. Marvin Carr, a graduate of Morgan State University’s engineering education program: (Links to an external site.) (links to an external site).

Explain how the principles and stages presented in Piaget’s theory of cognitive development influence relate to the current educational research and practice. (Chapter Objective 2.4) How does this relate to key concepts presented in Dr. Carr’s speech? How might this influence your teaching and learning?
Explain how the principles presented in Vygotsky’s theory of development influence current educational research and practice. How does this relate to key concepts presented in Dr. Carr’s speech? How might this influence your teaching and learning?

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Week Seven

Podcast about tracking in Maryland and the United States
Listen to this podcast for an interesting conversation about tracking in Baltimore and the U.S.:

Do the experts agree about whether tracking is occurring in Baltimore and throughout the country?

Week Eight

Read about Project Bright Ideas at (Links to an external site.).

How does this approach differ from tracking and Dr. Marvin Carr’s preferred practices? For  more information on Theories on Cognitive Development check out:



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