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Running Head: Developmentally Appropriate

Developmentally Appropriate Education

Dakota Farmer

Ohio Christian University

Author Note

This paper was prepared for Mrs. Case and Mrs. Diltz
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Introduction

Today, our education system is struggling to deal with the changes in the world. These

changes include children as they come in from multiple different cultures, stages of

development, economic differences, family issues, and technology background. With the

children coming into schools with how they are now, our schools have needed to evolve, and

evolution sometimes has growing pains. These growing pains are topics of discussion that those

with an opinion believe they have the answers. Some of these topics today deal with the change

in careers for tomorrows kids, as the shift in jobs is focused on technology. Other areas of

change include national standards, standardized tests, child development, and school climate.

These topics are relevant to educators, policy-makers, and the students themselves, and a

developmentally appropriate approach is essential to the success of all.

The topic of technology and how to teach for those careers have been discussed since the

technology was invented. Today, students have technology all around them. The struggle is how

to use this technology and the ever-evolving technology in the classroom. In the age of

computers and the internet, schools have been finding a way to include this preparation in the

classroom. The answer that schools have developed so far is S.T.E.M or S.T.E.A.M. This

acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEAM also includes Art, but

not all schools use this version, focusing only on the science and math related topics.

Developmentally appropriate practice should fit perfectly within STEM as these subjects allow

teachers to build their lessons and curriculum around what is necessary for their age, their

interest, their development, and their culture. Dr. Barbara Bowman of the Erikson Institute

believes in this as well. Bowman (1998) wrote:


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The DAP perspective has been frequently misinterpreted. It is not a model but a set of

principles on which to select a curriculum based on some different factors, such as the

age of the child, individual interests, and maturation rates. Unfortunately, and too often,

the principles have been taken as laws to prohibit academic content in preschools.

Therefore, math and science instruction has been left to the whims of children's interests

rather than being cultivated by thoughtful and developmentally appropriate programming.

(p. 7)

She knows it has a place in our education, especially in the younger grades like preschool. These

kids learn with hands-on, constructivist style learning, as they are developing their ideas with

their hands and the environment around them.

The second big topic includes national standards and standardized tests. Some believe

that our standards should be national to not hurt the children forced to move between states and

are affected by the state standards that differ. On top of this, the standardized tests attempt to

make it where each student is held accountable to have a certain amount of knowledge at each

grade level in certain subject areas, depending on the grade level. Standardized test tries to fit all

students into a one-size-fits-all box and has a negative outlook within the education and parental

viewpoints. They have caused plenty of stress for educators, students, and parents. These

standards are evidence-based and usually taught with evidence-based practices. Kristin Farley

believes that developmentally appropriate practice can work in tandem with evidence-based

practices. In her examples given with her journal article, Farley (2018) describes how “explicit

phonological awareness instruction… is an EBP” but depends on how it is taught. The activity

that is both EBP and DAP is a “shared storybook reading that engage children in rich discussions

regarding print concepts are both EBP and DAP (e.g., Justice, Kaderavek, Fan, Sofka, & Hunt,
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2009; Justice, Logan, Kaderavek, & Dynia, 2015).” In thinking on whether national standards

will affect DAP, the National Association for the Education of Young Children believe Common

Core; a standards push nationally, do not hurt DAP. In their brief, the NAEYC (2015) stated

“Throughout the Common Core documentation (website, standards documents, webinars), the

point is made that the standards address intended child learning outcomes, not teaching practices.

In addition, the writers of the standards specifically say a range of teaching strategies can be

used.” One big teaching tool for early education is play. NAEYC (2015) also mentioned play,

writing “Play is specifically mentioned in the early grades” when it comes to the Common Core

Standards. The NAEYC believes it to the implementation of the national standards within the

classroom, and not the standards themselves, that will affect DAP, as those who do not fully

understand DAP will cause the issues.

Child development is a push that education policymakers are starting focus on again, as

teachers are starting to become more like parents in schools. Teachers have to know how well a

student is taken care of when the student is eating, if they are doing their homework, if they are

sleeping enough, the student’s social life, etc. On her website, Amanda Morgan, a former teacher

in the public, private, and migrant schools and current trainer of teachers, explains that

developmentally appropriate education works best because it is meeting the child where they are,

using the Zone of Proximal Development, and raising them as learning. It also recognizes that

different needs of children. Morgan (2010) believes that:

“Considering DAP while creating policy, curriculum, and individual learning

environments yields the best results because it is based on what is known through

research and observation and recognized widely in the field of early education as best

teaching practices. It is built from what we know about how kids learn.
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This style of teaching uses psychology theories on child development and applying it to

education.

School climate is also an area where experts and policy-makers are struggling to handle.

Bullying is a big topic due to social media, cyberbullying, suicide rates and school shooting are

influencing how schools are run and how the children feel while learning. If the school can make

the climate feel positive, then all these other issues may see a decrease. The National Center on

Safe Supportive Learning Environments believes that developmentally appropriate education

will help change school climates towards a more positive one. This idea is due to the positive

relationships built not only with each other but also with the staff in the school. The NCSSLE

(2018) wrote, "Very young children will thrive and become more engaged learners when

provided a safe, stimulating environment, where adults provide and foster positive relationships

between and among adults and children.” Part of DAP is knowing your students emotional and

mental health. This means educators and staff should learn more about their students, diving

deeper into what makes them interested, what their interests are, how they are feeling, what their

relationships are like with other students and adults, and other topics similar to these. DAP is

about teaching the whole child, and if the entire child is addressed accurately and positively, the

idea is that the child will feel safe while at school.

With all these issues and more, it is crucial for our teaching styles, and policies affect the

future of the children, which is bigger than any one person. Some ideas take trial and error, but

helping the youth is more important than politics and egos. Developing students appropriately is

the right and honest way, so educators need to focus on their needs to not hurt the future of the

world. In order to understand how to develop students appropriately, the definition of DAP is

needed.
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Definition

Developmentally appropriate practice is an approach to teaching. As the National

Association for the Education of Young Children (2004) writes, “it’s designed to promote young

children's optimal learning and development." DAP involves teachers meeting young children

where they are, both as individuals and as part of a group; and helping each child meet

challenging and achievable learning goals." DAP, to me, is a method of teaching where we do

not treat children as if they all learn the same and respond the same way to one style of teaching.

When it comes to developmentally appropriate education, the National Association for the

Education of Young Children has different aspects in their definition and statement on the topic.

They have three core considerations teachers must take into account as well as twelve principles

of child development

NAEYC (2004) has three core considerations they believe are important to

developmentally appropriate education. The first consideration is “knowing about child

development and learning.” What this is saying is teachers need to know how children develop at

certain ages, what can affect that development, and how we can approach learning during each

stage of development. Teachers need to watch for signs of different stages of development as

well as influences the child has on their development. The second consideration written is

“knowing what is individually appropriate.” This consideration involves learning about the

students, building relationships, and observing what is important to each student, no matter how

big or small. This consideration includes learning what kind of interests the students have, what

they can do academically and non-academically, and the progress they make. The third

consideration needed is “knowing what is culturally important.” What this consideration means

is getting to know the students’ families. Finding out what their family deems important is
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something teachers need to know, so they understand what kind of values the family instills into

the child. Finding out what is expected of the child by the family, so the teacher holds them

either at the same standard or higher usually. What are also important are the factors found in the

child’s life that shape their home life and those of the lives around them. These factors play a

role and may be out of the teacher’s control, but they will know how to approach and adjust

accordingly.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (2004) believes there are

twelve principles of child development that are apart of developmentally appropriate education.

The first is that teachers must adhere to all domains of learning in the early childhood education

arena. Development into a fully functioning adult requires developing all areas as these domains

are interrelated. The second principle is that all teachers are documenting the learning and

progress well. This recording is to help future teachers know what was developed and in what

order the child developed it. The teacher must know if a child learned something out of order and

skipped a topic and they need to go over it. A third principle is that development proceeds at a

different rate than learning does among children. Each child has their own pace and their amount

of information that they process in one sitting. Besides that, each child is different in their

temperament, personality, and aptitudes that affects their pace and development. What the family

instills in them as well as their social life affect their learning experience. A fourth principle

deals with naturally changing the child's interaction. During growth, a child may be impacted by

how other children or adults interact with them, causing to either amplify and damper down on

the child’s biological disposition of personality. Teachers need to make sure that they do what

they can to help positively influence the child's temperament. For the fifth principle, teachers

need to understand that early experiences can affect a child in a significant way when it comes to
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development and learning. This development and education is for both cumulative and delayed

and can be positive or negative. Experiences, which are cumulative, help shape who students are

and how they learn. As NAEYC (2014) points out, “Intervention and support are more successful

the earlier a problem is addressed.” It is easier to correct issues earlier than later. If specific

correcting subject area issues before the mistake are settled, the process is more comfortable for

the student to understand rather than when they already have an established misunderstanding.

Moving onto the last half of the principles, the sixth is that DAP must push students

toward more complex issues and topics and be able to regulate themselves when it comes to

responsibilities. Teachers must also force children to think with a more representational

knowledge to be more creative and constructive. In principle seven, relationships that are stable,

positive, and grounded with adults help children thrive, survive, and develop. If children can

come to school with some consistency and caring attitudes from the adults around them, they can

produce some self-regulation and empathy, among other vital areas. Consistency is a crucial item

when building trust and relationships with young children, as well as those that help build each

other up. In principle eight, teachers must try to understand the sociocultural context of the

family and community which with the child lives within. Teachers must know how the parents

support their child as well as how the family may interact with each other, as well as how the

community. The beliefs and the culture of the two groups are important as well. If the

community does not support education and the family does not support it, then it will be a

struggle to convince the child it is essential, and a whole different approach may be needed than

what is usual. Principle nine involves using DAP to develop a sense of curiosity about the world

around them, starting with their world and expanding outward. This strategy would require using

more than one teaching strategy, even if needed on the spot. This is a constructivist perspective
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that uses manipulatives to grasp an understanding for children. In principle ten, children learn

language, cognition, and social competence when they are engaged in play, whether physical,

object, pretend, constructive, and games. It is helpful when it comes to interacting with other

children or even adults. Principle eleven deals with scaffolding and the zone of proximal

development where teachers conduct lessons designed just above the students’ understanding.

This idea, hopefully, pushes students to think with a higher level and achieve new skills.

Scaffolding is a support for the ZPD where teachers provide help at a level to is just right to

bring the student up to the challenge and can be moved higher or lower depending on the

situation. Assessment is needed to know if students met the goals, and the ZPD can be moved up

or moved down if not met. Finally, principle twelve is all about experiences and motivation.

Motivation is a big issue when it comes to learning, as the difficulty in learning depends on the

child’s, and even adult’s, motivation to learn the topic is low. Children will approach learning

with different behaviors, depending on their motivation to learn. The child has to learn

persistence, initiative, and flexibility, with the help of teachers and positive adult remodels, to

push their motivation towards learning difficult and less desirable subjects. Motivation to learn,

as mentioned before, is also affected by the environment around the child.

With all the principles and considerations to take into account, teachers try to use

multiple learning styles to reach these goals. Each child is different, and they all learn differently,

so teachers may adhere to various learning styles when planning a lesson. When it comes to the

different learning styles, these may depend on the theorist the teacher follows, but they all may

be a vibration of visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and logical, as well as social or seclusion. These

learning styles deal with the senses, the mind, and the emotions of the child. The idea with DAP

and learning styles is that each child learns differently and connects with others differently. If the
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teacher attempts to convey their lesson by hitting as many learning styles as they can, it may

increase the chance that more students understood and retained the idea presented. The benefits

of using multiple learning styles are the same as fishing with a wide net rather than with a single

line. The chances of catching more fish are higher with a wider net.

Review of Literature

There are those in the field of education that either believe in developmentally

appropriate education, are unsure if it is the correct way to teach, or they disagree with the

current definition. Some of multiple decades of experience, while others are still researching.

When it comes to developmentally appropriate education, David Elkind is a proponent of

the practice. Dr. David Elkind is a well-published author since the late 1950s on topics related to

psychology and education, focusing mostly on adolescents and younger children. Dr. Elkind

chose to follow in the steps of renowned psychologist Piaget, deepening his study on the

cognitive theory and how the child's mind develops. He is a past president of the National

Association for the Education of Young Children and a professor at many universities, including

the University of Rochester and Tufts University. During his professorship, he taught Child

Development and classes about psychology, psychiatry, and education.

In 1989, Dr. David Elkind wrote a journal article titled “Developmentally Appropriate

Practice: Philosophical and Practical Implications” published in the educational journal Phi

Delta Kappa. In his journal article, Dr. Elkind compares developmentally appropriate practice

with the philosophy of education commonly found back then and even today, psychometric

education. In "Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Philosophical and Practical Implications,"

Dr. Elkind (1989) describes psychometric education as treating the learner differently than how

developmental philosophy does. He writes "the learner is seen as having measurable abilities.
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This philosophy assumes that any ability that exists must exist in some amount and must,

therefore, be quantifiable.” This shows psychometric to believe that students need to meet a

measurable goal, treating education more like a numbers game. In contrast, developmental

philosophy is different in that “the learner is viewed as having developing mental abilities. All

individuals… are assumed to be able to attain these abilities, though not necessarily at the same

age." The comparison shown as psychometric believes students need to meet this goal now or

they do not pass, unlike developmental where students need to achieve this goal with the

understanding that they work there way up to it in different stages.

Dr. Elkind also compared the two different philosophies. He described developmental “is

matching curricula to the level of children's emerging mental abilities." The way to teach is

through a creative activity, which is also considered a constructivist perspective on teaching. He

calls it “engag[ing] the world in a way that creates something new…” For psychometric, the

important task “is matching children with others of equal ability. Bright children are assumed to

be able to learn more in a given time than less bright children.” This idea has been used multiple

times throughout education with grouping classes according to abilities, pulling out all the IEPs

or the gifted kids. This philosophy is “governed by a set of principles” and “a set of skill that are

independent of the content to be learned.” The phrase Elkind uses for this style of learning is

“whole versus part” learning.

Dr. Elkind believes that we treat knowledge and learning as “a construction, inevitably

reflecting the joint contributions of the subject and the object.” This harkens to Kant and Piaget,

the latter his inspiration for his work.

Dr. R. Clarke Fowler is an associate professor at Salem State University in the School of

Education, has written around 10 to 15 research papers. Most, if not all, of those papers, deal
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with education and psychology. In his article, Fowler discusses the issues when it comes to

developmentally appropriate education, and the standards schools have to follow. The issue at

hand is that early childhood education seems to struggle between choosing to support either and

cannot follow both. As Fowler (2016) put it as “…the dilemma that early educators are said to

face between teaching the whole child and the curriculum, between developmentally appropriate

practice (DAP) and standards.” (p. 156) Fowler believes that there is no debate on whether

educators should use Piaget or Vygotsky when it comes to educational philosophy. According to

Fowler (2016), Piaget believes the teacher creates the environment that enables the child to

elevate themselves to a higher understanding from within.

On the other hand, according to Fowler (2016), Vygotsky believes that the teacher creates

the environment within the child’s understanding to use tools and influences to help elevate

themselves (Clark, 2016, p. 157). Within this article, Fowler sites Feldman and his publication

Beyond Universals as a significant change in the debate. Fowler (2016) explains that due to

Feldman’s research, helps educators understand easier the difference between learning and

development when it came to Piaget and Vygotsky, while also pushing educators towards a more

Vygotsky emphasis.

One of the most significant areas of emphasis for Fowler was the changing of NAEYC’s

position statement on DAP and Epstein’s publication. He explained how the position statement

changed over the years as more research and backlash emerged, putting pressure on NAEYC to

evolve their statement into a better-researched idea. Fowler (2016) discussed that position

statement went from categorizing “…practices as either developmentally appropriate or

inappropriate (DAP or DIP) that heavily stresses child-initiated construction over teacher-

initiated instruction” towards a more “both/and” approach. Later, with Epstein’s publication of
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The Intentional Teacher, it brought the statement away from the both/and approach and more

towards what it is now. Fowler (2016) describes DAP as more of an evidence-based if/then

approach (Clark, 2016, p. 159). This approach is similar to an if-then statement. If this situation

is required, then use this, but if a different situation is needed, then use that.

This new "multi-dimensional approach to development," as Fowler (2016) calls it, has

changed the nature on how educators can approach their decision between Piaget and Vygotsky.

It is no longer DAP versus standards when deciding what to teach. Fowler explains that ECE

should use a mixture of both and stick to a multi-dimensional framework.

Dr. Kristin Farley is an assistant professor of education at Wittenberg University since

August of 2018. She works with undergraduates and graduates, while also researching early

childhood classroom practices. Besides her time as a professor, Dr. Farley has ten years of

experience in the classroom as a preschool teacher. She has a B.S. and M.S. in Early Childhood

Development and Education from The Ohio State University. She went on to gain her Ph.D. in

Reading and Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood from OSU as well.

For Dr. Farley, is in favor of developmentally appropriate practices and has been

researching how to guide practitioners in the early childhood field. There are some that believe

developmentally appropriate education is not evidence-based. In her journal article, Farley

(2018) explains that:

Although EBPs and DAPs are based on research and can positively influence children’s

long-term development, EBPs are grounded in the accumulation of experimental research

findings that demonstrate causal connections between a given practice and student
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outcomes, whereas DAPs are grounded in constructivist theory and descriptive research

on child development and learning (NAEYC, 2009a; Odom & Wolery, 2003). (p.2)

Farley (2018) does recognize that DAP is backed up by research that “…positive student

outcomes.” She was trying to explain the difference between evidence-based practice and

developmentally appropriate practice. She believes that developmentally appropriate depends on

“how well it aligns with theoretical research of child development…” Farley not only believes in

DAP but works with EBP and tries to prove that those two can work together, similar to Piaget

and Vygotsky. The example Farley (2018) provides is that explicit phonological awareness

instruction is an EBP, but the way the teaching is carried out may not be DAP. The example that

Farley provides as both EBP and DAP is a shared storybook reading that engages in discussions

about concepts. (Farley, 2018, p. 2-3)

In the definition that Farley (2018) provides, she references Dunst and Trivette with a

description that allows a DAP approach to EBPs. Farley (2018) write:

This definition emphasizes identification of the essential components that make an

intervention effective, thus enabling practitioners to adopt these practices to meet the

needs of their local context (ASHA, 2015; CEC, 2014; Dunst, 2009; NAEYC, 2009a).

This allows practitioners to take a more holistic approach and use practices deemed

developmentally appropriate by NAEYC (2009a) standards and facilitated the use of a

two-pronged approach to instructional decision making. (p. 9)

Farley advocates for a path to evidence-based practice that works with state and federal standards

while also able to use developmentally appropriate methods that use a holistic approach.
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The last positive group of scholars for developmentally appropriate education are Wendy

Mages, Elena Nitecki, and Aki Ohseki from Mercy College. Wendy Mages is an associate

professor at Mercy College in Childhood Education, earning master’s and doctoral from Harvard

in Human Development and Psychology. She also completed a Fulbright Fellowship in Austria

dealing with educational drama and integrating it into teacher-training curricula. She has also

written or been involved with seventeen research papers, most, if not all, dealing with education.

In A College-Community Collaboration: Fostering Developmentally Appropriate

Practices in the Age of Accountability, Mages (2018) describes a situation where a school district

moved teachers into grades and buildings they were not familiar with, moving into PreK-2nd-

grade classrooms when many had almost no experience. The school district collaborated with a

local college to provide professional development to help transition the teachers into their new

positions. The workshop consisted of discussion and modeling in 90-minute sessions in the

morning with afternoon sessions engaging in "hands-on" practice of what they discussed in the

morning. The results showed that the teachers appreciated and hung onto the content they felt

were applicable to their own lives and classroom practices, the fact that the strategies were

modeled, and that the "hands-on" section were slightly more enjoyable. This professional

development workshop modeled a developmentally appropriate classroom, giving the

participants the ability to be active in their learning, collaborate with colleagues in each other's

education, and bring the teaching to their level, making it meaningful.

Mages (2018) shows that developmentally appropriate practice helps engage the learners

that may not always be willing to work with the teacher or learn new processes. Mages is quoted

writing “Although research indicates teachers are not always interested or willing to participate

in PD opportunities (Helterbran & Fennimore, 2004; Mages, 2012a, 2012b), the teachers
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participating in this series of workshops were receptive and actively engaged throughout all

workshop activities.” She believes that developmentally appropriate practice works in multiple

settings.

On the negative side, Kathleen Wallace has issues when it comes to how the education

uses appropriate practice and reading. Kathleen is second-year M.A. student at Kansas State

University. She works in the English department concentrated on children's literature. She also

holds a Bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies and an A.S. in Early Childhood Education. All of

her research so far has gone into child's books and child’s rights,

Kathleen Wallace believes that using developmentally appropriate practice with reading in the

younger ages is ruining the children’s choice of books and makes it unfairly lopsided to the

development of the children. Educators are deciding what is appropriate for the children instead

of letting the children find out on their own. They use books that are "easily manipulated," as

Wallace (2018) phrases it, for infants. This is taking the choice away from infants and leaving

everything up to the caregivers. When it comes to preschoolers, Wallace (2018) writes that they

“require books that are clearly organized, `conceptually challenging`(Dwyer & Neuman, 2008, p.

493), and informational.” This pushes certain books onto children depending on their level,

instead of their enjoyment.

On top of this, she argues that it this leaves the possibility for children are learning skills

or experiencing books in different ways. (Wallace, 2018, p. 25) This situation may even rise with

children in the same family reading differently, experiencing books differently. She does not

believe that outside influences should decide whether books are appropriate for children. From

her article, Wallace (2018) ends with:


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As a general rule, educators and literary critics, or parents and publishers do not mix

unless a conflict arises, creating an impenetrable binary that hinders rather than helps

children. Therefore, perhaps the discussion should focus less on concrete distinctions

between “appropriate” and “inappropriate” and more on collaboration towards an

academically interdisciplinary understanding of what is appropriate in children’s

literature. (p. 26)

Wallace wants educators to reexamine how they use developmentally appropriate guidelines

when it comes to children’s’ books and how to use them.

The last critical opponent of developmentally appropriate practice is M. Lee Van Horn.

He and colleagues have conducted multiple research journal articles on the topic of DAP and its

effectiveness. Dr. Van Horn has a Ph. D and an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from the

University of Alabama at Birmingham. He also has a B.A. with honors in Psychology from

Dickinson College. Van Horn has been, and may still currently be, a professor of psychology at

the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Van Horn took an approach where he used data and interpreted the results of their

experiments in his two journal articles where he researched with colleagues the effectiveness of

developmentally appropriate practice. The first article was a review of data already gathered

from previous works. This review combed through the previous data and found it lacking. The

experiments, according to them, were inadequate or set up incorrectly. They found that some

data were wrong and overestimated what may have been the real results due to inadequacies of

the experiments. Van Horn (2005) also believe that “other aspects of the studies reviewed
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may result in an underestimation of this effect.” This means that some results may show better

results than reported.

The results came back with some positive, some negative, and some neutral. One positive

outcome was that placing DAP in an ecological context, there were little positive signs, but that

they needed to be researched further. On top of that, some findings show that “beneficial for

African-American and low-SES children (Burts et ah, 1992; Hart et al., 1998; Marcon, 1999) are

hopeful, because these children are often at the greatest risk” (Horn, 2005) This shows that there

are signs of positive improvements, but these were the only ones Dr. Horn discovered in his

research. His research also showed that no change was made in the class when it comes to

improvement in performance. When it comes to the negative, there was some research that

showed females might not benefit from DAP. Horn (2005) wrote “Research on gender, however,

is not as encouraging. The suggestion that girls may perform better in DIP classrooms is

unexpected and troubling in light of the popularity of DAP (Marcon, 1993).” This shows that

DAP may not benefit all as it is supposed to, but he mentions that more studies need to be

completed on this idea before any decisions should be made.

Everything Horn has researched, for him, leads him to believe that developmentally

appropriate practice, as it is currently presented, is not as helpful is it is found to be. He does not

see any results in research done and his study that shows this style of teaching is crucial. He

would not propose that every teacher should use this style of teaching.

Personal Observations
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There is never a better place to learn how DAP works and when it does not work other

than in the classroom. Witnessing how a teacher conducts their class, their lessons, and

classroom management is how pre-educators learn what they should or would do in their

classrooms.

In my first content-related field experience, I was placed in a math class for the sixth

grade. In this classroom, I would not recognize it as a fully developmentally appropriate practice

classroom. When she taught, it was fully textbook and workbook style for the students, where

they read through the lessons in the textbook and worked out of workbooks. The teacher used an

online version of the book through Pearson. The online version included animations and videos

for the students to watch, but not many interactions with the students and the materials. The

material hit on learning styles that benefit from visual and auditory but missed out on those who

benefit from feeling and manipulating. The parts I would consider DAP was her set up for the

classroom and her treatment of the students. She made accommodations for students that were

low performing and grouped them near either her or with students who can help. She also

bonded with some students that needed the connection, especially one that was ADHD. She

allowed him his learning area and a room to take tests if need be.

My lessons attempted to fill in the missing styles, though this was my first attempts at

creating and teaching lessons. These were far from perfect and usually designed with not as

much time as I would like. I used the Smartboard version of PowerPoint for the majority of my

lessons, speaking and showing. My lessons also brought students up to the board and try out the

math themselves. I would include activities with my lessons, sometimes using candies, which the

students loved. Two of my favorite lessons used candy and a game. One lesson I had the students

in a scavenger hunt with stations. They were in teams and tried to solve the problems at the table
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using their minds, their teammates, and tools. The teacher liked it enough to steal the lesson from

me. The other lesson involved finding the volume of cubes, so we used candies to create our

cubes. The students built up the cubes depending on the size needed. There was one lesson that

went wrong where the presentation file became corrupted, and I lost everything right before I

needed to teach it. This experience taught me always to have a backup. In this field experience, I

learned a lot of what not to do and what to do.

The second field experience was a year-long for language arts, and I was placed in a

sixth-grade classroom. Here, I learned a lot about what I would like my class to be similar. He

made personal connections with most of his students, spending time at the beginning to talk and

see how everything was. He let them feel relaxed and calm, taking care of any issues that arose.

For lessons, they were all created by him without any textbook, personalizing for the students.

They would peer-review papers, post on their class blog and respond to each other. What I got

from this experience was the students felt accepted and cared for in his classroom, enjoying their

time and learning in a relaxed but serious atmosphere.

During this time, my lesson planning started to see great improvements, though it

wouldn't be until the second semester for them to experience the biggest difference. In the

beginning, my lessons were not DAP, as students felt lost and confused, unsure what I was

teaching them and not tailored to their needs. I tried teaching a lesson, my first one, using Harry

Potter themes to relate to students, but the direction I was taking them left them confused. The

scores showed most students did not understand the lesson. By the middle to end of the semester,

I was realizing more of what I needed and had a lesson that worked well. The students were

needing to create an introduction and we learned about hooks. We worked on it as a class,

creating possible hooks for a topic they created. They then worked on it together, writing hooks
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for a topic someone else created by going around the room and writing on other students’ topics.

They then used the hooks written on their topic to create an introduction. This lesson went well

with the students, as it seemed they learned a lot though they seemed confused a little on the

directions. The next semester I taught one of my favorite lessons for this field experience. I was

teaching them about bias and used four articles on the same topic but two news sites that leaned

liberal and two that leaned Republican, with the topic about school safety. The students were

very engaged, though I controlled the discussion away from politics, as this was not the point.

From their interactions and discussion, I could tell they all left learning a little more than they did

walking in. My Language arts field experience was, by far, the best field experience I've

experienced so far.

Currently I am in both a science and social studies field experience. My science field

experience is in a fifth-grade classroom, while my social studies is in a fourth-grade classroom.

In science, he attempts to be DAP by having the students conduct experiments, draw, create, and

observe and note their observations. He always has stacks of worksheets and papers they use,

even when it is part of the experiments. I do not notice what does to make accommodations for

those who need support besides when they take tests. He has plenty of videos for them to watch

and visual when it helps. In social studies, she uses a textbook and uses a scholastic newspaper

that delves into the history of Ohio, broken up by topics. She also has used manipulatives and

games to help the students, while also making accommodations for students. Both classrooms

deal with behavior problems, more in the social studies than I notice in the science room.

I have only taught one lesson for each of the two field experiences this semester, and I

would classify them as DAP. My science lesson used discussion, as ecosystems and invasive

species was the topic, while also combining research and critical thinking. I had them create an
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ecosystem with Play-Doh to visualize and build to help drive home the lesson. For social studies,

I used pictures and a game at the beginning to help the students review and relax. Then I used a

primary source picture and drawing to teach about learning history with primary sources. In the

end, there was an interactive website with a map that showed different historical events.

These experiences taught me a lot of what I would or would not do. I do not want to teach

to a textbook, though it would be helpful to fall back on if need be. I want my students to feel

they can connect and see me as a person, coming to me when they need help. I want to teach in a

way that creates a fun environment with learning.

Implications and Conclusions

In my experience, I have noticed that one field experience where students were the most

set up to succeed was in the classroom with the most developmentally appropriate practices. That

classroom followed a similar description of what Dr. Elkind had for developmental. He believed

you taught it through creative activities and engaging the world. That classroom, and those that

tried to use DAP to an extent, had the students participate with the world around them and in the

classroom. As what Dr. Fowler described, teachers should use some of Vygotsky when it comes

to the ZPD like Feldman, whom he cited, pushed towards in his paper.

The outcome of a DAP classroom is one where the students can critically think about

issues and topics of this world. They feel connected to the lessons and could give some insight

on what can be improved on with lessons. The students should leave a classroom having learned

something new or expanded on the knowledge they already had. Lessons should include some or

all the following: hands-on, visual, interactive, and involve the students working together at

some point. A DAP classroom should never be just lecturing in front of students while they take
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notes. The students should also be involved with the lesson at some point, feeling like the

contributed to the learning or clarifying missing ideas on the topic.

In the end, learners in this environment would be expected to be well-rounded, engaged

citizens, having learned how to interact with each other, other adults, and society. These results

sound optimistic, but more research into this is needed, as Dr. Horn points out. Not all studies

show that this is the case. His research ended with some positive results, some neutral results,

and an example of adverse outcomes for females.

Dr. Horns studies and research shows that females would thrive more in a

developmentally inappropriate practice styled classroom. Though this would need more data and

analysis, this is a sign that some students may succeed in a school not taught with

developmentally appropriate practices. I would say that not all students will fail in a setup with

no or little developmentally appropriate methods, as I witnessed in my math field experience.

These students were learning and could pass tests just fine. There was even a fifth-grade student

in her sixth-grade class that was passing everything. She was also working towards a way for

him to be involved in her honors class that covered seventh-grade material. Students can

succeed, as I have been in classrooms during my K-12 career that was not DAP. I just noticed

more personality and livelihood from classes that were DAP.

I have been in classrooms where they do not use DAP, and those students can be

successful to an extent. They are able to comprehend what is being taught, but what I noticed is

more regurgitation and not application of the content. The students used workbooks and lecture

style teaching, practicing as the teacher went through the lesson on the board. This shows that the

classroom at least had the students practice what was being taught that moment and not only later

for homework where there may be little support given if support is needed. I believe students can
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be successful in that classroom if that is how they best learn. There are students who prefer

lecture and notes when it comes to teaching. The outcomes of those who experience a

developmentally inappropriate classroom may feel that the teacher is there to provide learning

their way and the students need to conform to the teacher’s way. I know I experienced this,

learning what to expect from different teachers when it came to how they conducted their

classroom and their style of teaching. They presented it how they knew and not what was best for

the students. As far as I remember, throughout my K-12 education, teachers did not ask the

students if there were ways they learned best and then change their teaching to help. Students

just had to adjust to the teacher’s way of teaching.

The students who are in DAP classrooms seem to be set up for more success than

students who are not in those styled rooms. They are learning more than just the subject material

but also had to interact with each other and help each other. The teachers are meeting more of

their needs than only their curricular requirements. The students are feeling cared for and

listened to. Students who experience a DIP classroom may not learn less but may not feel like

what they learn is not relevant to their life, even if it is the same content. Dr. Horn presented data

that showed females may learn better in a DIP setting, but they may see the connections to their

content easier or it may fit their emotional needs better than a DAP setting. This shows that DIP

classrooms are not harmful towards all students, but educators need to expand their methods to

reach more students with different needs.


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