ERIC Number: ED124539
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Critical Learning Periods and Programs of Early Intervention.
Magill, Richard A.
In an effort to clarify understanding of the concept of critical learning periods, this paper discusses problems that people concerned with the motor development of children have had determining relationships between critical periods and learning, and a "readiness model" is offered as a solution that could enhance understanding of critical learning periods. The author states that the first step in developing an understanding of the meaning and implications of critical learning periods is to realize that the concept of a critical period for learning is but one of at least three critical periods that affect development (emotional, social, and learning). In this paper, attention is directed primarily to the consideration of critical periods as they relate to learning and, specifically, the learning of motor skills. Three views on the determination of the onset of critical (optimal) learning periods are presented and diagrammed on a continuum. The extreme left side of the continuum indicates maturation as the primary determinant, the view of McGraw and Gesell. The extreme right indicates learning as the primary determinant, the view of learning theorists Gagne, Skinner, and Bruner. In between is the adaptation theory of Piaget. It is stated that no conclusive evidence supports any one of these approaches over another. The author adopts a viewpoint that seems compatible with the whole range of research evidence--critical periods for learning are considered as optimal readiness periods. The readiness model indicates three areas of concern in the determination of the onset of an optimal readiness period: (1) the physical and cognitive ability of the child; (2) the skills already possessed by the child; and (3) the motivation of the child. The model implies that critical periods of learning should be properly viewed as periods of optimal readiness and should be used as essential guidelines in the selection of activities to be taught. (MM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Southern District American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Convention (March 18-21, 1976)