Sample Paper on Encouraging Independent Thinking in Primary/Secondary Grades

Encouraging Independent Thinking in Primary/Secondary Grades

Introduction

The introduction of easily accessible internet connections has made it easier for different members of the population to connect to the web. Through the services of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Skype, engaging in instant communication has become easier despite geographical boundaries. Social networking sites have reduced the possibilities, the desire to recognize and take part in these opportunities especially those of physical interaction and communication and made virtual communication through the chatting platforms to be the better or more popular option (Stronge 32). Although social networking sites offer benefits even for younger children, the negative effects of such sites on children in the primary grades must be addressed in ways that encourage independent thinking.

Effects of social networking sites on children

Communication is an essential aspect in the development of some form of interaction between different individuals. It is through different forms of communication that families can be able to develop some form of cohesiveness amongst themselves. According to Linda Jackson- professor of psychology at Michigan State University- for effective socialization, process to occur in children it is necessary for parents to engage them in different activities that help them develop an understanding of the society and their environments (Jackson 38). In the contemporary society, school going children are members and frequent users of social networking sites such as Facebook. These sites have been perceived to be entertaining and highly involving due to their ability to maintain live and a faster process of communication. Nancy Paulu a writer and editor for the U.S. Department of Education- argues that children who frequently use this site tend to withdraw themselves from physical interaction with their families (Paulu 18). One of the major risks involves in this situation is the possibility that the said children will develop deviant behavior due to failure of the socialization process at the family level. Deviance emanates from their inability to demonstrate behavior as required by the society. Other than deviance, the cohesive nature of the family fails to materials since most of the bonding time that families once enjoyed are spent in conversations with friends on the virtual platforms (Paulu 20).

The development of deviance among school going children may lead into the possibility of cyber bullying effects through the social networking sites. This in the view of Sonia Livingstone- professor of Social Psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science- is attributable to lack of or ineffective education on the effects of putting content on the internet concerning their privacy (Livingstone 283). Even as everybody reads and can contribute their thought on the ideas, the socialization agents in most cases have failed to provide children with information concerning the dangers of posting private information on Facebook and any other social networking sites (Jackson 44). Children whose Facebook accounts have been hacked while gaming or those who receive threats from other members on the virtual sites often experience instances of psychological trauma and this affect their ability to develop psychologically in ways that are perceived to be desirable by the external society (Paulu 24). Children who face threats and different instances of cyber bullying may fail to report to their teachers or parent on the troubles they are facing while engaging in these sites and this has a negative effect on their ability to socialize and develop thought systems that are beneficial to personal and professional development in the future (Livingstone 284).

Self-expression has been considered as one of the definitive aspects in developing desirable and socially acceptable attributes in the society. Self-expression enables children to understand the techniques of socializing with other members of the society. In most cases, these attributes are developed in situations where children are engaged in physically activities such as games (Jackson 48). The introduction of virtual games on social networking sites such as Facebook has been considered as one of the factors contributing to the reduction of the time that children spend engaging in physical activities with their friends on playgrounds or in parks (Paulu 29). This is an indication that other than the possibility of developing deviant behavior, frequent use of social media among children can lead to the development of socially isolated children. This will deny them the ability of developing their cognitive attributes hence limiting their ability to engage in creative conversations or interactions with other members of the society (Livingstone 286).

Facebook is definitely the most popular and powerful social media in the world to today considering that it has millions of school going children subscribed as users. These children use this platform to share photographs, videos and keep updating their friends on different aspects about their lives (Jackson 50). Micah Mazurek-assistant professor in the department of health psychology argues that overuse of Facebook as a social media platform has been found to result in different forms of psychiatric disorder among children (Mazurek & Colleen 260). Children, especially the teenagers who use the instant chat platform on Facebook to discuss personal problems with their peers and other stingers often dwell on the same problem without the possibility of developing possible solutions (Livingstone 287). In some instances, studies have discovered that such children fail to develop solutions due to their inability to engage experts hence the possibility of using unverified and unsubstantiated ideas in finding possible solutions (Paulu 22). This in most cases has brought with it more harm than good to children in an attempt to eliminate challenges or problems in their lives.

Other than the negative effects, Facebook has also been an instrumental platform that enables children to share ideas on different aspect that define their lives. This keeps children more engaged in different interactive segments hence improving their knowledge on different aspects (Paulu 23). The main challenge of this positive effect revolves around the type and the nature of information that children gain from Facebook (Livingstone 289). This is in relation to the authenticity of the source of information. it is possible for children to possess verifiable information but there is need to ensure that the information gained from these sites are certifiable to minimize the possibility of developing stereotypical thoughts concerning their society, different activities and individual members of the said society (Paulu 31).

Facebook and other forms of social media have been considered as an essential platform especially for those children who experience shyness and different forms of social anxiety. Through the virtual platform, it has become possible for introverted children to gain high levels of comfort in the process of engaging in social interactions (Livingstone 290). James Stronge- Professor in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership Area- argues that introverts and shy children have been able to sue Facebook as a platform of overcoming one of the prevalent challenges in social interaction, which is the process of initiating a new relationship (Stronge 36). This is because the virtual platform is a low risk environment, which enables these children to avoid awkwardness when making friends. In addition, it is through Facebook and other social media platforms that social introverts have been able to gain familiarity and build friendships online while at the same time practicing on their social skills with the safety and the relatively distance that they can afford while using social media (Paulu 36).

 

How to encourage independent thinking in children

According to the existing statics on the use of social media among children, the average age in which children often begin consuming social media content is eight. Social networking sites such as Facebook operate on a minimum age requirement of 13 yet about 5 million of its users are under 10 years of age (Livingstone 283). The existence of such statistics can be attributed to the inability of Facebook and other social networking sites to verify the ages of its users and bar the underage considering that different individual have the ability to manipulate their ages to make them eligible to use social networking sites. Earlier introduction on such sites impedes on the ability of children to engage in independent and beneficial communication and this makes social media a negative site in terms of the promotion of independent thinking (Livingstone 284).

The treatment of internet addiction is often through counseling sessions and the reduction of the time spent by the addicted persons on the internet. This is often done to minimize the possibility of withdrawal symptoms that often affect addicts in any field. Psychological approaches in handling behavior. This is especially through cognitive development and learning theories, which have been used in understanding addiction and the development of the best ways that teachers and parents can use to treat these children in ways that encourage their development into independent thinkers

Encouraging independent thinking among children is essential considering that it entails a process of making sense of the external world based on personal experiences rather than depending on the ideas and the thoughts of other members of the society (Paulu 25). Whenever children are socialized to become independent thinkers, it is possible that they will have the ability to trust their own judgments even when in disagreements with the thoughts of other members of the society (Paulu 44). Children are susceptible to mistakes considering that they are yet to experiences more activities in their lives. This can be used to provide the explanation that it is only through independent thinking that they can be able to understand the mistakes can be used as points of learning to avoid the possibility of repeating such behavior in the future (Stronge 39).

Forrest Baird- Professor at Whitworth University Spokane, WA United States- and Walter Arnold Kaufmann was a German-American poet, translator and philosopher- argue that social networking sites may be tools that children and teenager use in boosting their ability to engage in bot virtual and physical interaction. This in a way helps in boosting their communication skills (Baird & Walter 16). Effective communication skills however involve other attributes such as the level of attentiveness and the ability to comprehend concepts while engaging in interactions with other (Mazurek & Colleen 262). According to Dawn Coe- Professor from University of Tennessee – Knoxville Knoxville- United States- High level of attentiveness is therefore an essential attribute that can be used in the development of independent thinking. Involving children in extracurricular activities has been considered as one of the best ways to limit the participation of children and teenagers in social media (Coe etal 1515). When children take away their attention from existing technology they are able to improve on their attentiveness and communication skill sin the process of participating in different sporting activities and other extracurricular activities such as music, art and theatre. These activities boost their levels of creativity including their ability to learn from the educational opportunities and identify social or technological gaps in their environment (Coe et.al 1518).

The process of developing independent thinking is also possible when students are encouraged to get involved in activities that necessitate some form of interaction with their parents, mentors, and teachers (Jackson 34). This is some way of creating some form of awareness among students on the essence of independent thinking. Professor Uvanney Maylor- Director of the Institute for Research in Education at the University of Bedfordshire- argues that these individuals often impart some positive influence on the students considering their ability to provide guidance, as they get involved in different class related and family related activities (Maylor 19). Furthermore, whenever children are involved in extracurricular activities there are high possibilities that they will experience improvement in their academic performance and improvements in school attendance; this is based on the understanding that they have reduced the attention and time spent in social media (Coe et al 1515). Social media maybe outset of creativity but when their failure in monitoring, it is possible for students to use social media as escape platforms from the prevailing social and environmental conditions. The minimization o this possibility will require the concerned stakeholders to boost the involvement of children and teenagers in activities that necessitate the development of talents and skills, as this is integral in the reduction of their use of technology (Coe et al 1516).

An additional way by which parents, teachers, mentors and coaches can ensure that children do not feel socially excluded and retrieve to social media for solace is by the provision of adequate opportunities for every child in any environmental context to engage in positive expression of their creativity outside the social media (Jackson 37). In addition, the development of creative and independent through among children is only possible in situations where the society creates music, art and sports program for children at a tender age (Maylor 20). This will increased the possibility that children will develop an interest in socially developmental platforms and relatively low interact for the use of social media. This encourages the development of well-rounded Individuals while at the same time shifting focus from the test scores and honors (Baird & Walter 15). Inasmuch as social media has been considered as the main cause of social deviance and inability of children to develop independent thinking, it is possible to use this platform for the portrayal of more positive aspects of the interactive sites. This can be developed through the provision of ethics education (Jackson 44).

The process of engaging children in open discussions regarding different issues can also be a technique of encouraging the development of independent thinking. This can be realized through the process of encouraging children to ask questions regarding different aspects of their lives (Jackson 40). In addition, this can also be made possible by ensuring that children are show and demonstrate respect for divergent views. This will help in minimizing the possibility that they will develop subjective systems of thought whenever they are engaged in discussions (Baird & Walter 13). Furthermore, it is through this technique that children can become more inquisitive as this facilitates the process of understanding the relationship between different aspects that define their society.

Conclusion

Through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Skype, it has become easier and more efficient for individual separated by geographical boundaries to engage in instant communication. However, one of the major risks involves in overusing social media among children is that they will develop deviant behavior due to failure of the socialization process at the family level. The process of developing independent thinking is also possible when students are encouraged to get involved in activities that necessitate some form of interaction with their parents, mentors, and teachers. These individual often impart some positive influence on the students considering their ability to provide guidance as they get involved in different class and family related activities.

Works Cited

Baird, Forrest E., and Walter Arnold. Kaufmann. Philosophic Classics: From Plato to

Derrida. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000. Print

Coe, Dawn Podulka, James M. Pivarnik, Christopher J. Womack, Mathew J. Reeves,

and Robert M. Malina. “Effect of Physical Education and Activity Levels on Academic Achievement in Children.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 38.8 (2006): 1515-519. Web

Jackson, Linda. “Children and Internet Use: Social, Psychological and

Academic Consequences for Low-Income Children.” American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association. Dec. 2003. Web. 24 June 2015

Livingstone, Sonia. “Developing Social Media Literacy: How Children Learn to

Interpret Risky Opportunities on Soci al Network Sites.” Communications 39.3 (2014): 283-303.

Maylor, Uvanney. Teacher Training and the Education of Black Children: Bringing

Color into Difference. New York: Routledge Research in Education, 2013. Print

Mazurek, Micah O., and Colleen Wenstrup. “Television, Video Game, and Social

Media Use among Children with ASD and Typically Developing Siblings.” Journal of Autism and Developmental.43.6 (2012): 1258-271

Paulu, Nancy. “Working with Teachers and Schools.” Home to School

Connection. Web. 24 June 2015.

Stronge, James H. “Teacher Responsibilities and Teacher Behaviors.”

Qualities of Effective Teachers. 2nd Edition

 

Annotated Bibliography

Baird, Forrest E., and Walter Arnold. Kaufmann. Philosophic Classics: From Plato to Derrida. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000. Print.

In this book, the philosopher Plato has talked about the allegory of the cave, which was about the effectiveness of education. He described those uneducated people as prisoners being inside the cave in which they don’t search for the truth of education. How was that happened was simply by setting the prisoners facing the wall, while there was a shadow on the wall. They were asking about the shadow, not the shape of it or who held it. The shadow was a puppet.

Coe, Dawn Podulka, James M. Pivarnik, Christopher J. Womack, Mathew J. Reeves,

and Robert M. Malina. “Effect of Physical Education and Activity Levels on Academic Achievement in Children.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 38.8 (2006): 1515-519. Web.

This study has talked about the importance of physical education on children. Of course, all people know how physical education is important especially for children. It helps encourage the independent thinking and activate even the blood circulation.

Jackson, Linda. “Children and Internet Use: Social, Psychological and

Academic Consequences for Low-Income Children.” American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association. Dec. 2003. Web. 24 June 2015.

In this article, Linda wondered about the negative effects while using the internet. She brought up a statistic that shows for how long the children use the internet. This article would promote the independent thinking of children by controlling the time of using the internet.

Livingstone, Sonia. “Developing Social Media Literacy: How Children Learn to

Interpret Risky Opportunities on Social Network Sites.” Communications 39.3 (2014): 283-303. Web.

In this academic journal, Sonia has described that social media has played a significant role on children thinking. It seems that children are easily being affected on people opinions. However, in this situation, children should have an ability to manage their own trust in online situations that are often unfamiliar.

Maylor, Uvanney. Teacher Training and the Education of Black Children: Bringing Color into Difference. New York: Routledge Research in Education, 2013. Print.

In this book, Uvanney has mainly described how some  teachers treat black students unfairly. The book identifies the weakness of negative teachers attitudes about black students. This sort of act should be eliminated in order to promote the students independent thinking.

Mazurek, Micah O., and Colleen Wenstrup. “Television, Video Game, and Social

Media Use among Children with ASD and Typically Developing Siblings.” Journal of Autism and Developmental.43.6 (2012): 1258-271. Web.

In this study, Micah talked about the Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) which was particularly based on how children spend a long time on social media as the TV, and narrowing the information into parents responsibility upon their children. However, parents should be aware on this issue by managing their children’s time.

Paulu, Nancy. “Working with Teachers and Schools.” Home to School

Connection. Web. 24 June 2015.

In this article, Nancy has discussed how the relationship should be between parents and children. The parents should observe their children behavior while they are out of school. They should frequently promote and build a relationship between the child and his/her teacher.

Stronge, James H. “Teacher Responsibilities and Teacher Behaviors.”

Qualities of Effective Teachers. 2nd Edition. Print.

In this book, James discussed how the teachers should control and manage the classroom. Obviously, working actively with students would have a positive impact upon children, whereas; keeping a classroom as a chaos would result in failure. How to encourage independent thinking is simply by making the class active.