When educators employ a cognitive approach to teaching, the lessons focus on understanding concepts. If students can break down information, discern the connection between ideas and rebuild with logical connections, they tend to retain more information.
Establishing, expanding and incorporating key theories in the curriculum supports teachers in developing more effective teaching methods and helps explain how students learn. Expertise in curriculum and instruction is beneficial to any educator designing learning experiences.
Teachers can learn to incorporate cognitive development into the curriculum and pursue higher-level positions in education by earning a Master of Science in Education (MSEd) with a Concentration in Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) online from Southern Oregon University (SOU).
Understanding Cognitive Development
Educators must use innovative strategies to support diverse learners in the classroom. Building a foundation for creating assessments that effectively leverage data to determine teaching efficacy and best practices with an emphasis on differentiated instruction for diverse learners means understanding common cognitive strategies for learning.
A recent Neeuro article outlining such strategies says these teaching methods are proven to enhance learning skills and are critical for teachers to understand and practice in the classroom. Cognitive activities can include exercises that use imagery, summarization and repetition.
Summarizing promotes creativity by positioning details in a particular order, allowing students to manage information effectively. Educators agree students learn faster with visuals and retain more information based on what they see rather than what they hear. Memorization using imagery is also an excellent way to help create interactions among students studying together.
Cognitive Abilities and Academic Achievement
Gaining academic skills and cognitive abilities simultaneously is critical to intellectual development. The Society for Research in Child Development suggests that sustained, high-quality schooling and education directly foster children’s growth and development.
Researchers agree academic and cognitive abilities develop bidirectionally in most students meaning learning takes place in two directions. For example, findings suggest that reading and math and cognitive skills like reasoning and working memory predict each other in development. Continued exposure to appropriate learning environments may trigger cognitive and academic bidirectionality and benefit students. There are several factors at play in academic development that teachers should be aware of, including:
- Word fluency
- Phonological processing
- Reading comprehension
- Numerical skills and number sense
- Working memory
- Executive functioning skills
These combined skills lead to goal-directed behaviors like self-regulation, flexible thinking and self-control in students, and educators agree they should be honed at every level of learning.
Learning Through Life
Cognitive thinking refers to the development of thinking over a lifetime. As Robert Siegler, Professor of Cognitive Psychology, writes in a new Noba article, research into child development shows that the mind forms through a combination of influencing factors, and the earlier students participate in these activities, the better.
For example, research suggests that for children to have strong language skills, they should gain phonemic awareness in early childhood. In addition, the earlier students are engaged in number games and activities, the better they are at math. Developmental research increasingly influences curricula across the country, improving education. Cognitive activities are used in the early childhood classrooms, assessments and strategies to determine coursework and student success.
Interested, successful and positive students are a priority at all levels of education, as an International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education article notes. Engaging students in their mental development is essential and complex. Considering behavioral and social elements will help educators design appealing curricula.
Learn to design and innovate teaching processes and assessments of subject matter by pursuing higher-level work in education. SOU’s online MSEd with a Concentration in C&I program can help you shape the future of education and advance your career.
Learn more about SOU’s online MSEd with a Concentration in C&I program.