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TJ Mitchell Every person develops differently.

There are many factors that go into the growth process, each of them of high importance. The first chapter of the text describes many different social factors that influence a young person’s development. “You are not only a product of your genes, but also of the culture in which you live.” (p.17) At first, it caught me attention from a parental point of view, but as I thought about it more, I thought about how important this thought is to future educators. From the age of 5-18, you are in school for seven hours a day, five days a week, nine months a year. If teachers do not provide a safe, stable, and nurturing environment for their students, they will have a higher risk of future problems both socially and academically. Teachers need to be providers for their students, especially those who aren’t getting proper support at home. One idea that stuck out to me was the idea of your environment outside of home shaping who you are. The last paragraph of page 14 discusses non-shared environments, using the example of twins Garth and Crystal. While they have the same life at home, they end up developing very separate personalities because of their involvement in different extra curricular activities. Extra curricular activities provide a sense of support and belonging away from home that provides a positive effect on the student’s development. For teaching freshman in high school, I could use the first 5-10 minutes of class during the beginning of the school year to give short

presentations about different activities to get involved in. Also, I could give extra credit for bringing back tickets to sports games, concerts, plays, etc. This was something my high school did, and it provided students with new ideas as to how they can get involved in different activities. In Chapter 2, I was particularly drawn to the section that dealt with the four major factors of growth and motor development. While I cannot control my genetic make-up, I do believe in the importance of frequent exercise, a balanced nutritional diet, and a healthy parent-child relationship. I was surprised with the results of Myrtle McGraw’s study of the twin babies Johnny and Jimmy. “The conclusion of this experiment was that you can speed children’s motor development with exercise, but only to a limited extent.” (p. 59) I thought that making the baby exercise more would allow him to develop motor skills faster in every situation, but that was not the case. Another case that shocked me was the startling study of the children at Johns Hopkins Medical School. It was not nutrition that was damaging these kids. It was their relationship with their parents. “The physicians suspected pituitary problems at first, but later realized the problem was the parents.” (p. 61) The children grew at a much more accelerated rate when they were living away from home. One classroom exercise that can be used for any age group is a food and exercise log. It will get your students thinking about how they are taking care of themselves. For those who need to improve their health lifestyle, this

activity could be a good wake up call. For others, it could be a motivation to continue to live the way they do. Many factors play into the development of a person. Whether it be their genes, activities, home life, or health lifestyle, every aspect of the growing process is important. As educators, it is important for us to look out for our students and provide them with any assistance they may need or may not get at home.