ERIC Number: ED254333
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Can There Be Excellence in Education without Knowledge of Child Development?
Developmentalists are convinced that within each young child a process of unfolding occurs to regulate learning in ways that make worksheets and the "force-feeding" of isolated skills inappropriate. Still, worksheets are enormously popular in early education, and math education assumes that number is learned through internalization. Why do such antiquated educational practices and assumptions remain popular? Although several factors contribute to neglect of the developmental perspective, early childhood educators can contribute significantly to improving the situation by precisely and scientifically criticizing inadequate educational practices and by advancing scientifically based alternatives. Piagetian theory can aid such efforts because Piagetian research demonstrates a constructivist principle according to which each child builds his or her own knowledge from the inside, through mental activity and in interaction with the environment. Investigations illuminating children's construction of knowledge of language and arithmetic have been made; such studies reveal inadequacies of the common sense approach to education. For example, many children who can write "8" next to a picture of eight ice-cream cones continue to believe that eight chips spread out are more than eight chips pushed close together. From an historical perspective, educators' acceptance of practices based on behaviorism, associationism, and psychometric tests constitutes educational progress. However, such approaches deal with surface phenomena and provide common sense explanations. Piagetian theory goes beyond to encompass behaviorism. (RH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Researchers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Behavioral Psychology; Constructivism; Piagetian Theory
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Chicago Association for the Education of Young Children (Chicago, IL, February 8-9, 1985).