Piaget and early childhood

Truss Excelsior College Even though Jean Paging passed over thirty years ago his work is still seen in the classroom today. There are three educational principles that are derived from Piglet’s theory that continue to have a major impact on both teacher training and classroom practices, particularly during early childhood. Discovery learning, sensitivity to children’s readiness to learn and acceptance of individual differences are the three educational principles that are still impacting the educational atmosphere (Beer, 2010).

Discovery learning encourages children to learn through discovery by spontaneous interaction with the environment. Teachers place items in their classroom that students can use for exploration and discovery. Children can explore art supplies, measuring tools, puzzles, table games, building blocks, etc. To enhance learning. Teachers don’t readily present verbal knowledge in this setting but encourage discovery by these tactile means (Beer, 2010). Sensitivity to children’s readiness to learn is another principle derived from Page’s theory.

In this environment teachers introduce activities that build on children’s current thinking, challenging their incorrect ways of viewing the world and enabling them to practice newly discovered themes. However if the child doesn’t not show interest or readiness the teachers will not teach them until they show interest or readiness. Lastly acceptance of individual differences, gives credence to Piglet’s theory that children undergo the same stages of development, they Just do it at different rates. For this reason teachers must plan activities for small groups and not the whole class.

Evaluations must be related to the child’s previous development rather than an average based on normative standards or related to peers in the same age group. This allows for learning tailored to individual differences (Beer, 2010). Although there are three main principles of Piglet’s theory still found in the classroom today, her also theorized that there are limitations to early childhood thinking. According to Jean Pigged, egocentrics, conservation, concentration and reversibility and the lack of hierarchical classification, are limitations to early childhood thinking.

These limitations are aspects in the operational stage of his cognitive development theory (Beer, 2010). Egocentrics, deals with children’s ability to see things form another’s point of view. Pigged conducted a three mountains problem, in which a doll was placed behind three distinctive mountains with the larger one facing the doll and the smaller ones facing the child. When asked to identify a picture from the doll’s point of view they would only chose the picture that represented what they saw from their point of view.

Conservation is explained as physical characteristics of objects remaining the same even when their outward appearances change. In a demonstration a child is shown two glasses with equal amounts of liquid. The child acknowledges that the two glasses have the same volume of liquid. He then pours the liquid of one glass into a taller glass. Children on the operational phase of thinking will say that the glass that is taller has more liquid even though they didn’t see any additional liquid poured to increase volume or any liquid removed to decrease volume.

This task also explains two other aspects of his theory, concentration and reversibility. In this experiment the children focus, or center on the height of the glass. They do not process the fact that the changes in height and width are what make the liquid appear taller. This is the premise behind concentration. Irreversibility is also at play here. The children are not able to reverse the process and think that if she pours the taller glass of liquid back into the same glass it was poured out of it would take on the original shape from the original glass..

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