BEP052 – What Does “Developmentally Appropriate” Mean?

Malika Ali of the Highlander Institute joins us in talking about the ways that we use the concept of “developmentally appropriateness” as kind of a deficit lens or as an excuse not to have high expectations for kids.

01:53 How we hear the phrase “developmentally appropriate” thrown around without evidence or without doing work that’s necessary to create the conditions, to set students up to be able to excel in their tasks

03:23 How it manifests in the classroom and coaching conversations

04:47 The Learning Pit

The Learning Pit

The Learning Pit


08:11 How do we define or how do you differentiate productive struggle and unproductive struggle?

13:24 If you know your students, then you can gather the information about what to provide them in the way of accommodations and scaffolds and structures that will support them because you get to know them… Understanding the specific needs as opposed to just thinking about them through the reference point of a normal or an average.

14:01 Instead of asking “why?” ask “Why not?” What is holding me back from trying this out with my kids?

15:51 What’s one takeaway from this episode for teachers?

16:06 If what’s holding you back is thinking that your kids can’t do it, ask yourself, why not? Or have someone play devil’s advocate with you to say, why not? 

16:50 Ask yourself what’s behind the fear 

17:30 Ask yourself these questions: What am I afraid of? Is it my kid struggling and feeling frustrated and why is that? and what can I do to support them? How can I be this person who believes in a child even when they don’t believe in themselves?


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