4 Journal Articles, Article Review Example

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Article Review

The first article I read was, “Self-Regulation: a New Perspective on Learning Problems Experienced by Children Born Extremely Preterm,” which examined the curious finding that despite the majority of the premature children studied having average IQs, a large group of these children still experience problems in school. The study explored the executive functions and self-regulation factors that contributed to the academic difficulties, and concluded that when self-regulatory strengths were increased they were able to moderate the negative impact of the deficits, so that educators would benefit from developing interventions to enhance the performance of these students.

The article consisted of a literature review of research done by other academics in two separate areas, executive functions and self-regulation. Several factors were considered in the exploration, including language, temperament, attention and behavior problems, and parenting and family environments of a large group of students who had been preterm. There were several conclusions in this study: the learning problems demonstrated by preterm children could be explained by difficulties with self-regulating functions; children born prematurely tend to lag behind in language development, which affects their performance in school; temperament played a role in student difficulties because it impacted a student’s ability to self regulate emotionally; the management of attention is a basis for executive functioning, and is the foundation for developing self-regulatory behaviors, with explains the difficulty that these students have in school; and the students’ family and parenting environment also has an impact on the students’ capacity for self-regulation.

This article contains a great deal of research conducted by other people, and it was extremely interesting because there were so many variables that were considered in relation to the research question of preterm students and their difficulties in school. If the children were of average intelligence, then what could have possibly caused them to still have so many academic difficulties? I believe that it would have improved the validity of the article if the researchers had had some direct research experience with preterm children in schools in order to add to the vast amount of studying of this population. They did a good job, however, of explaining in detail the key terms used, such as self-regulating functions and executive functions.

Reference:

Lisa Lynn, M. C. (2011). Self-Regulation: A New Perspective on Learning Problems Experienced by Children Born Extremely Preterm. Australian Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology , 1-10.

The second article I read was called “Multi-Professional Assessment and Intervention of Children with Special Educational Needs in Their Early Years: The Contribution of Educational Psychology.” This study examined professional methods in evaluation and assessment with children under the age of five who attended pre-school programs in England, and utilized focus groups held in three communities which explored the different assessment and intervention practices utilized in children’s centers, as well as family supports that were in place. The population studied was was was was hildren with special needs. The topics that emerged included the extremely variable methods and types of change that were experienced in educational settings because of government programs, the effect on general evaluation methods and the implications for evaluating preschool children that had special needs. The conclusion of the paper was that agencies need to coordinate services to families and students and integrate them into coherent action plans as well is to evaluate methods on a regular basis.

The findings were that government initiatives did indeed create changes in assessment methods, although there were differing opinions about the degree to which methods were altered with some respondents reporting significant changes in the nature and volume of their evaluation methods while other staff felt that although they were hired to do more work, they did not feel that these changes were advantageous. Overall, it was felt that there was a lack of clarity regarding the role of educational psychologists, as opposed to the very clearly defined roles of the speech and language therapists.  This was interesting because it reminded me of the No Child Left Behind program sponsored by the Bush administration, which was another government attempt to dictate to educators how they should teach, and which ultimately has been rejected because it was considered to be counterproductive. Government intrusions into the classroom, based on this article and my current example, do not appear to be useful because teachers are the best judges of how to conduct methods in their own classrooms. I think it would’ve also been helpful if the article included data related to studying a population of children that were not special needs students, to see if there was any difference in the way the educators viewed the government intrusion/interventions.

Reference:

Dunsmuir, M. R. (2010). Multi-Professional Assessment and Intervention of Children with Special Educational Needs in Their Early Years: The Contribution of Educational Psychology. The British Psychological Society , 10-21.

The third article that I will summarize is called “The Role of Prenatal, Obstetric, and Neonatal Factors in the Development of Autism,” and considered a variety of factors contributing to the diagnosis of autism disorders of 924 children that had received that diagnosis. The data was taken from a database cohort study of infants born between 1990 and 2002, and was based in Nova Scotia, Canada. The factors considered in this study were: genetic susceptibility, which was defined as having an affected sibling, or a mother with a neurological disorder and certain maternal and obstetric factors such as pre-pregnancy obesity and excessive weight gain during pregnancy. The article also discussed other disorders, such as pervasive developmental disorder, as well as other conditions along the autism spectrum. The genetic predisposition for autism was evaluated by determining the health of the child’s family members, and the obstetric and neonatal factors were based on establishing an optimality score, which provided information about the general condition of a pregnancy.

The study provided an exhaustive amount of specific information and statistical analysis regarding obstetric sub-optimality which included such variable factors as whether the subject had a sibling with autism spectrum disorder, the maternal age at delivery, income support, past history of abortion, diabetes and endocrine disorders during pregnancy or pre-pregnancy, maternal weight at delivery including amount of weight gain during pregnancy, and a great deal of information about the infant’s weight and other conditions at birth. Although the variables that were identified in this study connected to the development of autism were consistent with other studies, a novel finding in this report was that women who were heavier prior to the pregnancy and gained more weight shoring the pregnancy had greater risk factors to deliver a child with autism, the exact opposite finding from other studies, which had determined that low weight mothers who gained a great deal of weight during pregnancy were associated with a higher risk of a child developing an autism spectrum disorder. The study also found, interestingly, many other factors that presented risk of delivering a child with autism, including women who had shorter intervals between pregnancies, receiving income support, and an association between breast-feeding and autism.

This study could benefit by including more information to support the hypothesis that women who have higher weights before pregnancy and in addition, gain greater amounts of weight during pregnancy are at higher risk to deliver children along the autism spectrum. This was the speculation in the study, based on others’ research, but would be extremely helpful to validate such a significant association with newer data.

Reference:

Linda Dodds, D. F. (2011). The Role of Prenatal, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Factors in the Development of Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders , 891-902.

The fourth article considered is called “Conceptualizing Progression in the Pedagogy of Play and Sustained Shared Thinking in Early Childhood Education: A Vygotskian Perspective,” and utilized data taken from 12 case study analyses of 12 preschools involved in a longitudinal study of 141 schools that were included in the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education Report. The focus of the study was a method called Sustained Shared Thinking, which referred to the sharing of thoughts and ideas specific to the interactions that occur in preschool settings. In particular, learning techniques regarding children’s play were examined. The technique studied was an educational response to the most frequently observed developmental levels of children’s play.

The report was comprised of a literature review of other studies of sustained shared thinking, and followed a qualitative supplement to a ten-year longitudinal study of 3000 English children, controlled for family influence and child characteristics in order to evaluate the effectiveness of preschool experiences. The teaching methods study included a wide range of pedagogic methods that initiated or sustained learning processes as well is achieving academic goals. The discussion in the article contrasted Piaget’s view of child development with that of Vigotsky, and focused on child’s play as the most significant context for a child’s ability to wire the skills necessary for communication and collaboration. Although play is certainly not the only means by which a child develops intellectually and socially, it follows the progression of social development: initially, children’s play is solitary and then becomes more social.

The concept of Shared Sustained Thinking is described in this study as a method by which adults can support and enhance learning for children while emphasizing that learning has both content as well as form. The importance of the learning environment in a child’s home becomes crucial to developing the cultural tools that eventually result in their becoming productive members of society. This study, a literature review, again, did not contain its own original data which I believe was detrimental to the discussion. I recognize that I have a bias towards including original research even in articles that contain only literature reviews. Many of the conclusions drawn in this study seemed rather simplistic, such as that adults play an important role in the psychological and cultural development of children. Nevertheless, as a literature review, it was extremely thorough and explored several different theories of child development and the use of play in learning.

Reference:

Siraj-Blatchford, I. (2009). Conceptualizing Progression in the Pedagogy Of Play and Sustained Shared Thinking in Early Childhood Education: A Vygotskian Perspective. The British Psychological Society , 77-89.

References:

Dunsmuir, M. R. (2010). Multi-Professional Assessment and Intervention of Children with Special Educational Needs in Their Early Years: The Contribution of Educational Psychology. The British Psychological Society , 10-21.

Linda Dodds, D. F. (2011). The Role of Prenatal, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Factors in the Development of Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders , 891-902.

Lisa Lynn, M. C. (2011). Self-Regulation: A New Perspective on Learning Problems Experienced by Children Born Extremely Preterm. Australian Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology , 1-10.

Siraj-Blatchford, I. (2009). Conceptualizing Progression in the Pedagogy Of Play and Sustained Shared Thinking in Early Childhood Education: A Vygotskian Perspective. The British Psychological Society , 77-89.

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