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Adolescent Physical Development

1. Influences on physical development.
2. Relationship between physical development and cognitive learning?
2. What does a classroom teacher need to know about adolescent development? Why?
3. How will physical development affect learning - implications for classroom teacher?
4. Instruction and brain development.
5. Understanding children's ability to learn.

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Please see response below. I also attached one informative article and links throughout the response for further reading and research. I hope this helps and take care.


Let's take a closer look at each question through discussion, examples and research, which you can draw on for your final copy. I provided ample information, so please keep what fits.

1. Influences on physical development.

There are both genetic and environmental influences on physical development.

Adolescent development (10-20 years) is marked by numerous physical changes. Growth and development that occurs during puberty affects all body organs and systems. "Growing" occurs in both weight and stature (height). For example, the pubertal "growth spurt" stature has an onset and duration that is highly variable from individual to individual, and is influenced by genetic, gender and nutritional influences. It is followed by a rapid decrease in the rate at which stature increases as the final adult height is approached. The growth spurt in weight is influenced and dependent on the balance between energy (caloric) intake and output, which is linked to environmental issues, such as poverty, parental eating habits, to name a couple. If energy intake is significantly less than output, underweight results; if energy intake significantly exceeds output, overweight or obesity can result. Three cases are presented to illustrate key points in the attached article ("Adolescent").

Influenced by maturation (maturation refers to the sequential characteristic of biological growth and development), five recognizable physical developmental stages of pubertal changes (called Tanner Stages, or Sexual Maturity Ratings -- SMR) have been described for males and for females. For boys, the three physical elements of sexual maturity rating are: the size of the testes, the length of the penis, and the development of pubic hair. For girls, two physical elements of sexual maturity rating for girls are: breast development and pubic hair development

2. Relationship between physical development and cognitive learning?

Physical development and cognitive learning are directly related through the maturation of the brain and nervous system (genetic) and environmental factors (learning environment, parenting styles and other parental influences, nutrition, and the likes).

Thus, physical development depends on maturation and learning. Maturation refers to the sequential characteristic of biological growth and development. The biological changes occur in sequential order and give children new abilities. Changes in the brain and nervous system account largely for maturation of the brain and nervous system, which is linked to cognitive learning. For example, these changes in the brain and nervous system help children to improve in thinking (cognitive) and motor (physical) skills. Also, children must mature to a certain point before they can progress to new skills (Readiness). However environmental factors also influence whether the child reaches its optimal learning ability at each stage of readiness.

As a case in point, take a four-month-old, who cannot use language because the infant's brain has not matured enough to allow the child to talk. By two years old, the brain has developed further and with help from others, the child will have the capacity to say and understand words. Also, a child can't write or draw until he has developed the motor control to hold a pencil or crayon. Maturational patterns are innate, that is, genetically programmed. The child's environment and the learning that occurs as a result of the child's experiences largely determine whether the child will reach optimal development. A stimulating environment and varied experiences allow a child to develop to his or her potential. In adolescents, a stimulating environment often includes peer learning, group work, and the likes.

See the seven principles of growth, which is excerpted in the fifth question below which also applies here. There is a large overlap across some of these questions.

3. What does a classroom teacher need to know about adolescent development? Why?

A classroom teacher must know the needs of the adolescent students. This demands knowledge about adolescent development, as it is directly related to the changes in cognitive learning abilities during adolescent development (moving from concrete or abstract reasoning and thinking abilities) and other interests and needs related to learning (discussed more below).

So, knowing how to teach content well is only one leg of a tripod of teaching knowledge. Understanding learners is the second leg. Thus, the classroom teacher needs to know how to interpret learners' statements and actions and framing productive experiences for them, which requires knowledge of development -- how children and adolescents think and behave, what they are trying to accomplish, what they find interesting, what they already know and what they are likely to have trouble with in particular domains at particular ages in particular contexts. This knowledge includes an understanding of how to support further growth in the social, emotional, and psychological spheres as well as cognitive. (1)

Teaching in ways that connect with adolescent students also requires an understanding of adolescent development in terms of student diversity. Adolescent differences in development includes differences that may arise from culture, language, family, community, gender, ...

Solution Summary

This solution discuses aspects of adolescent physical development e.g. influences, relationship with cognitive development, role of classroom teacher, and others. Supplemented with an article on adolescent physical development.