Monday, August 6, 2012

Mosman school kids and Piaget

In a recent article in The Mosman Daily school children as young as 4 had been asked to describe their city of dreams to help Mosman Council shape its plans for the next 40 years.

The thing that caught my interest was the way kids use language to represent objects by images. I am of course talking about Piaget’s work and in particular the stages of cognitive development. Piaget talks about the representation in the mind of a set of perceptions, ideas, and/or actions, which go together (schema) and periods in a child's development in which he or she is capable of understanding some things but not others (stages).

We know Piaget's theories focus on:

  • Children, rather than all learners.
  • The development, rather than learning per se, so it does not address learning of information or specific behaviours.
  • Discrete stages of development, marked by qualitative differences, rather than a gradual increase in number and complexity of behaviors, concepts, ideas, etc.
So here is what some of the kids had to say…

·             A 6 year old wants  “Waterslides, bumper cars and rollercoasters”
·             A 7 year old says “Horses that we could ride to school”
·             A 6 year old “Miniature cars that we could shrink to fit” and
·             Pet dragons that breath lightning

According to Piaget 2 to 7 year-olds learn to use language and to represent objects by images and words. Such as dragons that breath lightning.

Their thinking is still egocentric - have difficulty taking the viewpoint of others. Horses that we could ride to school

Classify objects by a single feature: e.g. group together all the red blocks regardless of shape or all the square blocks regardless of color such as Miniature cars that we could shrink to fit.

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