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Individual Differences Essay


Individual Differences Profile Essay Schaeffer, Brogan Instructor: Dr. Egbert Education 205: Developmental Differences Online

Individual Differences Essay Individual Differences Profile Essay Every person is a unique individual with his or her own abilities and difficulties. Each person also has his or her own preferred processes of learning. One person might best learn a new concept through repetition, another might learning it better through watching someone else work out the problem, and still a third might learn best by working through the problem themselves. Not only do people learn in different ways, but they also develop differently physically, mentally and socially. This is only a few of the differences that make each individual distinctly unique. To best teach someone and help him or her to development within the normative range, one must be aware of each person’s distinct characteristics and work within those to give the best possible instruction as a student learns and progresses. This paper describes the distinct physical characteristics, cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional levels of development, as well as a general summary of other findings that make Mary Ann a unique student. General Information Mary Ann is twelve years and sixth months old. She was adopted at the age of 5. She and her adoptive family are Caucasians. She lives with her mother and father as well as five other siblings: three older brothers, an older sister, and a younger sister. Mary Ann’s daily schedule consists of feeding the cats and dogs before starting school at 8:00A.M. She is home schooled and is instructed by her mother. Home schooling gives her the necessary individual attention her education requires. She is also constantly in a stable environment with set rules and requirements; this is another great benefit to her education and development. After school she finishes her homework, does her daily house chore, and plays with her younger sister. She has been diagnosed with RAD and also struggles with other issues, including mental immaturity. Physical Development


Individual Differences Essay Mary is a female Caucasian. She has blue eyes and short blonde hair. She has a fair skin tone with no distinct visible scars or birthmarks. Her physical maturation in general is comparative to that of her equal age peers. She does have a few minor differences in which she might be considered less mature than her peers. Her teeth are slightly slower to mature than what is considered normal for her age; however, this is a minor issue and of no great affect to her development. She is in excellent health and has perfect vision and hearing. Mary is also righthanded. Mary’s physical fitness is slightly below average. She is not very eager to exert herself, but she is encouraged to play outside and exercise. She is fed a nutritious diet and has an above average metabolism due in part to her tendency to be anxious and fretful. Her large muscle development is excellent. She enjoys jumping on the trampoline and can also ride a horse. Her small muscular development is also satisfactory. She is quite adept at playing the piano though at an elementary level. Her lack of performing a job properly is never cause from her in ability but from lack of interest. For example, she is fully capable of keeping her clothes neatly folded and properly put away in her drawers, yet does this very poorly do to lack of interest. Cognitive Development Mary began her education in a public school kindergarten. She had special needs and her education suffered from the lack of the necessities of life, including cleanliness and proper nutrition. Once she was adopted at the age of 5, she began homeschooling with her new, loving family. In this situation, all of her needs are being met. She is kept within a stable environment where the rules are constant, and where the environment is focused on not only academic learning but also on learning proper life skills. She is currently in the fifth grade and each subject


Individual Differences Essay is designed to be within her zone of proximal development (Parsons, Lewis-Hinson, & SardoBrown, 2008). Mary’s academic behaviors are somewhat immature. She has a comparatively short attention span and can be easily distracted. She is eager to learn but is often lazy to see her work through to completion. She is often eager to rush through her work just to get it done and is not attentive to detail, often failing to read the instructions. She does well in math but needs extra attention when learning a new concept. Her spelling however, is often very poor. Mary is functioning within the phase Piaget termed as the concrete operational stage (Pearson Learning Solutions, 2011). She is able to solve straightforward math problems but has difficulty when one must find the information within a story and then reason how to solve for the answer requested. She does enjoy reading though her preferred books are often below her academic level. She likes to read books that do not require much mental exercise to understand. Socio-emotional Development Through a norm-referenced assessment, I have determined Mary’s socio-emotional development to be immature. A distinct evidence of this fact is her interaction with peers. She does not understand the social rules of etiquette and behaves in ways that would be more typical of a 6-8 year old child. Observing her interact with peers, I have noticed they lose interest with her rapidly and become annoyed with her jokes and subjects of conversation. She is better able to interact with and relate to children several years younger than herself; an example of this is her delight in playing dress-up with her 7-year-old sister. When interacting with adults, Mary does not seem to recognize any boundaries. Once she is shown attention, she becomes overly affectionate. This makes her become an annoyance to many adults; however, there are some who consider her to be a sweet girl, though they do remark upon


Individual Differences Essay how she seems much younger than she actually is. The evidence of Mary’s actions and the content of her speech fully justify this remark. Mary possesses a tolerable self-esteem. She is confident in herself and her abilities; however, this position is often altered based on whether or not she is “in trouble”. Her self-concept is immature. She loves to play pretend and still plays with baby dolls and dress-up. She likes styling her hair but is not very concerned with her own physical appearance. She considers herself as a young child, not the young woman she is quickly becoming. Through informal methods of assessments, I have determined Mary is within Kohlberg’s Preconventional stage of reasoning (Pearson Learning Solutions, 2011). She attempts lying as a method for avoiding the consequences of her own actions. She determines the justice of her actions based upon the consequences they incur, not through the inherit justice of the act. She follows her immediate inclination and does not always consider the consequences that might result. According to the stages of development formulated by Erikson, Mary is within the Industry vs. Inferiority stage. She enjoys creating cards for people but also seeks recognition for her work. She is not intrinsically motivated. She does not often enjoy doing things for her own pleasure, but partly for the praise she expects to receive. If that praise is not voluntarily given she will prompt it with her own questions and comments. Summary, Conclusions and Implication Mary does have a number of issues, such as RAD and mental immaturity; however, she has an excellent family who is striving to meet all of her needs. She is provided with every possible means of success. She attends weekly counseling sessions that help her to reason and deal with some of her issues. She is currently homeschooled by her mother who gives her the extra


Individual Differences Essay instruction and attention necessary for her to succeed academically. Her weekly Ballet class also gives her an opportunity to socialize with other girls her age learning not only grace but also social etiquette. She is generally happy and takes great delight in playing with her younger sister. In general, Mary is not at the maturation level common within her peers. Many girls of her age are becoming to be concerned about their appearance; this does not seem to be of much importance to Mary. She also does not care for her own belongings in the clean, organized manner her peers are beginning to show. Her level of reasoning and mental development is also at a lower stage in comparison with her peers. She has a fairly short concentration span and can be easily distracted. She does well in school but struggles understanding any new concepts. Her physical development fits mostly within the norm of her peers. She is mature physically and is able to ride a horse and ballet dance. There are a few slight areas where she might be considered physically immature, for example in the development of her adult teeth. This is only a slight difference and in no way retards her maturation in other areas. Mary’s cognitive abilities are under-developed. Her academic struggles are due to her inability to reason and think through her problems. Her level of moral reasoning is also behind the typical level of morality and consequences. She does not have her own morals, but instead bases her actions off of the resulting consequences. This is a typical reasoning behavior of a child several years younger than herself. Mary is also Socio-emotionally delayed. She enjoys playing dress-up and other childish games common to a 7 year old. She also enjoys playing with this age of companion as they are at similar levels of mental development to herself. She has trouble interacting with her peers as well as adults. These problems result from her lack of social graces; she does not understand or behave within social acceptance.


Individual Differences Essay One of Mary’s greatest strengths is her friendliness. Though it may not seem like a strength, if Mary learns how to become more socially graceful, her friendliness can lead her to make many valuable acquaintances that may not have been made if she were a more timid person. She needs to develop this trait so that she is not over-friendly and does not make any bad connections. She needs to be carefully guided in this, so that she will understand when to be friendly and when to remain quiet and reserved. There are several specific learning strategies that could be used to aid Mary’s development. First, she ought to be kept within a stable and constant environment, one focused on learning and one in which she feels safe. She also needs to be kept with people who understand her special needs and can help her overcome them. She struggles with uncertainty and can become irrational and emotionally unstable when changes such as a family vacation occur. To help her academically, she needs to be kept within her zone of proximal development. This means that in several of her subject like math and spelling, her work and instruction is at a lower level than her peers. Even though it is lower than her grade level, this is the range in which she will learn and not be overwhelmed with concepts beyond her current level of cognitive development. She also needs to be in a social environment designed for education. Since she can be easily distracted, she needs to be in an environment with as few distractions as possible. Socially, Mary needs to be encouraged to interact with children, especially girls, closer to her own age. This would urge her to become more mature socially. She would also learn more age appropriate amusements rather than resorting to her current immature pastimes. Socializing with her peers would also possibly teach her the appropriate rules and boundaries of social etiquette.


Individual Differences Essay Works Cited Parsons, R. D., Lewis-Hinson, S., & Sardo-Brown, D. (2008). Educational Psychology. Mason, OH: Thmson Wadsworth. Pearson Learning Solutions. (2011). Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Classrooms. Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions.