Why developmental psychology might be wrong about the “immaturity” of child brains

The guidelines are simple:

1.  Be sure you know what you’re talking about, literally, before you pass judgment on an idea.

*Support all ideas/opinions with some arguments/evidence/logic/examples (you don’t need to be thorough or perfect, but there needs to be some reasoning behind your claims that you discuss).  Acknowledge at least one possible counterargument and explain why you still think your perspective is better.  You need not come up with all these arguments out of thin air–if you agree with an author use their own arguments and explain what makes them so convincing in your own mind (Ex: how does Hobbes argue for self-interest and why do you think it’s a good argument?).  I am happy to help you out with this if you are unsure of how to analyze a particular argument.

Please know that this does NOT mean you need to respect any idea I present in class–you don’t!  Some ideas really are stupid, or immoral, or lacking in credibility–even if they are popular or are a part of the generally accepted “canon” of Western philosophy or whatever else.  The point here is not to force you to accept all theories simply because they’re popular/exist but rather to have you ask yourself if you know what the theory is actually claiming before you pass judgment on it.  That’s it.  If you feel you really do have a grasp on the issue feel free to say whatever you want about it (you can be “mean” if you want, not a problem.  Call Hobbes or his theory lame, I don’t mind–but calling a theory lame is a strong statement, and as such requires strong arguments!)–just make sure you can communicate to me that you know what you’re talking about.

Of course, you are not obligated to know anything about the ideas we present in class before we discuss them, so if you don’t have an opinion or aren’t sure how to argue for or against an idea, that’s ok!  You aren’t required to share your personal beliefs, this is only if you do decide to discuss them.

2.  Demonstrate that you have read the reading/watched the film/did the activity required for that week and have been in class for lecture in your papers.  If I can’t tell for sure that you’ve done all the work I can’t give you an A.  When in doubt, ask me if you’re on the right track via rough drafts before the due date and I’ll let you know.  You don’t need to summarize the material (although you can if you want to)–just discuss the main ideas in such a way that I know you’re doing all the work.  If you’d rather not talk about certain main ideas that’s fine IF you show me your lecture notes and reading notes! I understand not all material will be of interest to you or you might want to focus your paper on one or two ideas–again, that’s fine, just make sure you’re annotating your readings and taking thorough lecture notes to show me so I can tell that you are paying attention and doing all the work.

That’s it!  No grammar rules or anything else except page minimum–which is 3 1/2 pages Times New Roman 12-point font, standard margins.  Again, if you have any questions or concerns just ask.  I’m happy to help.  🙂

Assignment: Watch the film “Partisan” starring Vincent Cassel. You can get the movie online in a million different ways and a copy is available in the library as well.

I am also including, for either extra credit or simply your personal edification, an essay on education by John Gatto.  But that reading is NOT mandatory!

Lecture:   Any new insights on children now that you’ve been exposed to a version of youth liberation or do you feel the same way about young people you did before the lectures (which is totally ok)? What are the similarities between how we treat young people and how we have treated people of color and women in the past (and honestly, the present as well)? What were some arguments I presented about why developmental psychology might be wrong about the “immaturity” of child brains? What are some alternative explanations for why young children respond to the conservation task–and other classic Piagetian tasks–differently that older children and adults?  What happens to our frontal lobes when we turn 25 and why might it not be a sign of a better/more rational brain?  Why is experience not in itself wisdom? In what sense are children “cultural foreigners”?  Why are very young children different in their worldview from adults (I’m talking here about the relationship to literacy and Native peoples here)?

Give enough info from each class to make sure I can tell you were present and paying attention, but it’s up to you what specifically you’d like to discuss (these questions are merely guidelines).

Film: The viewing guide is posted in the “readings” section of our D2L.  Use that viewing guide as you watch the film and pick at least five of the questions listed to answer in this essay.

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