1. List of behaviors and motor skills. Typical Age at which skill is evident in child.
- 2 months – Turns head to follow moving object
- 9 months – Sits alone for 1 minute; says “da-da”
- 1 year – Walks while holding onto something
- 1 year three months – Walks alone; says several words
- 1 year six months – Climbs stairs; says many words
- 2 years – Runs; uses simple word combinations
- 3 years – Puts on shoes
- 4 years – Tells how a baseball and orange are alike
- 5 years – the difference between a bird and a dog
- 6 years – Laces shoes
- 7 years – Names penny, nickel, and dime Describe
- 8 years – Tells time to a quarter of an hour
2. What are the four stages of Piaget’s theories? Name one specific developmental milestone that a teacher could use to place a child in a stage. How does learning occur according to Piaget? Describe one way that neo-Piagetians have built on his original theory.
Sensorimotor stage (birth – 2 years old)
This stage normally ranges from birth to toddler years. The child experiences the world through their five senses. In this stage the child has not yet learned object permanence, which is the realization that an object exists even when they cannot see it. There are six sub stages within the sensorimotor stage:
1. Simple reflexes
2. First habits and primary circular reactions
3. Secondary circular reactions
4. Coordination of secondary circular reactions
5. Tertiary circular reactions
6. Internalization of schemes
(Child Development Institute, 2010)
Our textbook refers to actions in this period as motor schemes, “intelligence during this period consists in the actions of the child on the environment rather than in the child’s mind” (Pressley & McCormick, 2007, p 62).
Preoperational stage (ages 2-7)
This stage spans from preschool into elementary school. The child is not yet able to conceptualize abstractly and needs concrete physical situations. They use representational abilities referred to as “symbolic schemes” (Pressley & McCormick, 2007, p 62), such as language, mental images, gestures, deferred imitation, and symbolic play. During this stage Pressely and McComick state that, “According to Piaget, preschoolers exibit egocentrism, or unawareness of the perspective of other” (2007).
Concrete operations (ages 7-11)
As physical experience accumulates, the child starts to conceptualize, creating logical structures that explain his or her physical experiences. Abstract problem solving is also possible at this stage. For example, arithmetic equations can be solved with numbers, not just with objects. A milestone that surfaces is an ability to grasp that changes in appearances do not alter changes in amount (pouring water from a tall skinny glass into a short wide glass), which is refered to as “conservation.” A few other abilites that are similar to conservation are reversibility (conceptualizing the water being poured back), and compensation (the recognition that the short glass compensate by being wider).
Formal operations (beginning at ages 11-15)
By this point, the child’s cognitive structures are like those of an adult and include conceptual reasoning. Adolescences can think in possibilities, “meaning that they can generate all combinations of possibilities for a given situation” (Pressley & McCormick, 2007, p 64). They also have the ability to think in hypothesis, which means they can study a problem, think of theoretical outcomes, and then verify their ideas.
While Piaget’s contributions to cognitive development are undeniable there are several areas in his theories which are inconsistant with other research. Some of stage behaviors aren’t as strict to stages and ages that Piaget believed, and his studies fail to take into account of cultural differences (Pressley & McCormick, 2007). This rethinking of his theories led to neo-Piagetian theorists, such as Juan Pascuel-Leone, Robbie Case, Kurt Fischer, and Lawrence Kolberg who updated elements of Piaget’s research.
Child Development Institute. (2010). Retrieved February 4, 2011, from Stages of Intellectual Development In Children and Teenagers: http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/development/piaget.shtml
Pressley, M., & McCormick, C. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York: The Guilford Press.
4. What does Genie, “the girl in the box”, teach us?
Previous to Genie’s discovery Noam Chomsky had hypothesized that we are innately born with language, and that came from nature not nurture. Eric Lenneberg also believed that people are born with language, but he believed there was a deadline, a “critical period.” Hey stated that if by puberty you hadn’t learned language then it would be too late. Genie’s situation seemed like a once in a lifetime chance to examine the “forbidden experiment,” but therein rests the fault. She was not an “experience” or a “project.” She was a child first, and though she was treated with some compassion, she wasn’t treated with empathy or love. Maybe that should’ve been the lesson.
What we are left with is grainy film footage and sporadic record of her progress. She did seem to learn quite well, and Professor Susan Curtiss stated that Genie’s mental age testing progressed approximately a year for each year she was instructed. This was in response to whether she thought Genie was had a learning disability from birth. In contrast psychiatrist Jay Shurley studied her sleep patterns and said that her “extreme spindles” conveyed what he referred to as “mental retardation.” The issue is, was it from birth or in response to incredibly harsh treatment for most of her formative years? That’s one answer we might never know, but if she was delayed or disabled, and was still able to learn as she did then the idea of learning language once past puberty has even more validity.
The bright spots of her story were her progression, and her ability to use sign language combined with verbal skills to communicate. When she was happy it was obvious, although it took development to teach her how to be angry without being self destructive. The physical difference from her early days to the following years was just as impressive, and that is one aspect that varied from previous cases, such as Victor “the wild boy Aveyron.” Genie had to be taught just everything from speech and movement to the experience of play. Another influence was the psychological and physical abuse she endured for over a decade, and how that would inhibit her progress. At first it seemed not to, but after a bad experience in a foster home she regressed, which was totally understandable and extremely sad. I did a little research into finding out what has happened since the NOVA documentary, and it doesn’t seem all bad. Her older brother was interviewed by ABC in 2008, and he tells a horrendous story of survival, which two previous sibling didn’t survive. Maybe in the end it isn’t about what Genie can learn or do. Maybe it’s about what we can learn from Genie and about ourselves as a society.
6. In your opinion which brain rule is underutilized in American schools? What can teachers do to better teach to the brain rule?
In my opinion chapter 7 (sleep) and 9 (sensory integration) are greatly underused ideas in American schools. Many of the other areas such as chapters 3 (wiring) are probably used in the special education environment more fluidly than other areas due to more individual instruction. The problem with many of the facts and ideas in chapter 7 (sleep well, think well) is that it’s very difficult to create different schedules different sleep or nap patterns to accommodate everybody, so I will focus on chapter 9 (stimulate more of the senses). When taking into account the different processes of sensation, routing, and perception it can lead us to different and perhaps more effective ways to teach. I don’t even think that we have to focus on specific bottom-up or top-down relations of our senses. Sure, chapter 10 (vision) states that vision trumps all other senses, but the fact that if we use all of our senses as a team it could be an even more powerful learning tool.
Some of the five learning links from cognitive psychologist Richard Mayer that John Medina summarizes as students learn better:
- from words and pictures (multimedia principle)
- when corresponding words and pictures are presented simultaneously rather than successively (temporal contiguity principle)
- corresponding words and pictures are presented near to (spatial contiguity principle)
- when extraneous materials excluded (coherence principle)
- from animation and narration than from animation and on-screen text (modality principle)
These are empirically proven using only two senses, so imagine if we continued to add other senses. In kindergarten there is a lot of focus on the senses, and developing a fully developed perception. It seems that once children leave kindergarten teachers forget how influential the other senses are, and just focus on the “eyes and ears on me!” Maybe educators do not want to be seen doing aroma treatment experiments on memory for fear of be labeled as odd, but it would probably be easier to explain than having your high school students taking a nap after lunch (chapter 7).
Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school. Seattle: Pear Press.