Theories of Cognitive Development

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Ted Baskerville
Reflection Paper 2
The theories of cognitive development are fascinating topics because of the intimate connection between the ideologies and one’s intellectual advancement into adulthood. Every individual has unique experiences relating to cognitive development due to real-life situations, who they interact with, and their type of childhood environment. I can vividly remember some of my childhood friends that I interacted with and how those experiences had an influence on my cognitive development. There was Carlo and Benjy, who were descendants of an Italian immigrant family, and Uri, who was Jewish American. I also had several Polish American friends that I grew up with, Jarek and Ferdynand. We went to the same schools, K through 12, and played little league baseball together. Even though we were from different ethnic groups, we were still friends who had the commonality of being members of society’s perception of the lower social class. I still recall the various aromas coming from my childhood friends’ parents’ kitchens and each family’s diverse customs. Due to my childhood exposure to other ethnic groups I gained a tremendous insight about how different cultures navigated within our society. The theory that seems to be applicable to my personal cognitive development is the “Commitment/Constructed Knowledge” theory. Having the racial identity of African-American, my commitment to intellectual and ethical development was indoctrinated through careful parental nurturing. In spite of my familial social class, my parents taught me and my siblings the concept of independence while being responsible for our own self-knowledge. To this very day I can still hear my mother’s voice saying, “The only person that can hold you back is you”, and I have definitely recognized the truth in that statement over the years of my life. During the early years of my childhood I was introduced to the public library where I learned to read different types of books (fiction & non-fiction). I understood the importance of being committed to education and how that commitment would play an instrumental role in how I withstood the societal pressures of being an African-American. Each year, from elementary through high-school the pressures seemed to increase because of the mounting challenges that were ever-present for people from a lower social class. Despite the immediate challenges that I encountered during my childhood and pre-adult years, I was actually sheltered from the real world of society’s perspectives about the lower social classes because of the integration that was prevalent within my city’s schools and neighborhoods. My moment of clarity pertaining to how my access to books, and growing up in an integrated, diversely populated community occurred during my military tour of duty. However, in spite of my integrated, educated upbringing, I knew that I wasn’t privileged but it became crystal clear to me that I was fortunate compared to some of my African-American peers in the military. Especially those who were raised in the southern states. Chickering and Reisser holds that intelligent communication and the capacity to adapt to interchanging personal relationships while amicably reciprocating are important aspects of interpersonal competence (46). These aspects were sorely diminished if not entirely non-existent in the cognitive development of my fellow African-American military peers from the South, whereas I was able to communicate, and intermingle with diverse populations effortlessly. My intellectual and interpersonal competence began to develop during my middle school and high-school years, and has progressed through my adulthood and collegiate journey. As I reflect on the inception of my intellectual competence, I can honestly associate its initiation with my introduction to the public library at age seven. Not only did reading books on a variety of subjects commence the development of my...
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