Importance Of Child Study

Why is it important for teachers to study child development?

Expert Answers
megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many scenarios that will come up in the classroom where it will certainly be beneficial for a teacher to have a basic understanding of child development. Children are not "little adults." Their emotional, physical, mental, and intellectual foundations are still forming. The disciplinary apporach that a teacher takes for kindergartners should differ from that of 5th graders. I can say that from experience my assertive discipline approach and having students take ownership and reflect on their behavior doesn't work well for the younger students as it does for the older ones. I prefer to work with older students.

And there are definitely intellectual stages of development as well. As someone mentioned, abstract thinking and other concepts take time to develop. Now it would be great if 'the powers that be' would realize the importance of developmentally appropriate curriculum and not have teachers teaching material that is too advanced for the age group to grasp.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

All teachers (at least in the state where I live) are required to study child psychology, which includes child development.  The reason for this is that we need to understand the ways in which children's attitudes and abilities develop so that we may have a better chance of understanding the children and how to teach them.

As an example of this, it can be important for a teacher of history and social sciences to know what sorts of things (like fairness) are important to children at any given time in their lives.  If you teach students who are at an age where fairness is a paramount concern, you can interest them in your subject matter by highlighting issues of fairness in (for example) different historical periods or in different types of societies.

By understanding child development, we are better able to teach and manage our students.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Education is, in and of itself, a form of child development, and an important one, so for a teacher to be well versed in the study of child development is key to their effectiveness.  This knowledge, if for no other reason, helps a teacher to appropriately plan and develop content and complexity of the lessons and curriculum he/she is going to bring to a classroom.  There are physical, mental and social differences, stark ones, actually, between a 9th grader and a 12th grader, not to mention differences in general ability  and vocabulary, which is still very much in development at the 9th grade level.  
kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I wish that all teachers held on to the child development aspect of their courses throughout teaching, as I see some jaded individuals genuinely confused as to why students play up in their classes.These have forgotten that what they are teaching is CHILDREN rather than their subject. A continued appreciation of child development is what helps us differentiate our courses to suit the individuals in front of us. Knowledge of child development and applying that knowledge to our classrooms gives us a better understanding of the individuals we work with.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Children do not all develop at the same rate, but they do tend to follow stages.  A teacher needs to understand what a child at a certain age should developmentally be able to do.  A big mistake teachers often make is to try to teach students something they are not developmentally ready for.  The biggest example of this is algebra in 7th or 8th grade.  Many adolescents are not really capable of the abstract thinking that algebra requires, so they won't do well no matter what.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To teach effectively child development is a necessity, not an optional extra. Of course, whilst every child does develop at their own pace, there are general guidelines and stages that we can use to inform our knowledge, that come in great use in terms of teachers knowing what students are ready for and also to provide some kind of basis which can be used to measure the progress of children.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that it is very important for teachers to know how a student 'works'. Sometimes it simply takes knowing how to relate to a student and the mind of a student to know how to reach them intellectually.

nandusocio | Student

teachers start secondary socialization of chidren. they teach not only language writing or subject but also behavioural values.

cheezea | Student

i think a teacher has to be able to relate well to the children. by studying child development, they can understand, as #11 says, how they work, and can thus relate to them better and understand their needs

krcavnar | Student

Teachers are essentially trained in child psychology as well as subject matter in today’s educational settings.  We all know that children learn differently, have a range of developmental stages that differ greatly from one grade to another.  Having a mix of 9-12 grades within one classroom I can affirm that the maturity of my 12th graders is far different than my 9th graders.  Additionally, teachers should take time to study and understand the traditional culture of their students as this also impacts the development of the child.

johncyjohn | Student

Professions differ according to the elements we deal with eg taiors deal with clothes, software engineers with system,carpenter with wood etc.These professions deal with non-living things. Professions like police, advocate deal with remedies after an action.Its only teachers who deal with flesh and blood ,the desire of a human being,the life of a generation and a whole race.As they deal with such a precious element they have to understand the child's development to mend him,to mould him,to cull the weeds and to sow the goodness in the right time.He should know the development to change his methods and approach for the betterment of the child which will be a part of  the society.