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ERIC Number: EJ1129252
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Mar
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1082-3301
Reframing the Debate about the Relationship between Learning and Development: An Effort to Resolve Dilemmas and Reestablish Dialogue in a Fractured Field
Fowler, R. Clarke
Early Childhood Education Journal, v45 n2 p155-162 Mar 2017
The field of early childhood education (ECE) is currently unable to reach consensus on the extent to which ECE should be based on child development. One manifestation of this situation is the dilemma that early educators purportedly face between teaching the whole child and the curriculum, between developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) and standards. The source of this dilemma is attributed to a one-dimensional understanding of children's development in which development is privileged over learning. Addressing this dilemma begins by discussing a theoretical difference between Piaget and Vygotsky: for Piaget, development drives learning; for Vygotsky, learning drives development. This seemingly dichotomous difference is reframed, however, by the insight that Piaget and Vygotsky focused on different types of development: Piaget studied universals (e.g., object permanence); Vygotsky studied nonuniversals (e.g., cultural tools often learned in schools). Their dispute stems, therefore, from this factor: development drives learning in nonuniversal developmental sequences, but learning drives development in universal sequences. Teachers who adopt a multi-dimensional developmental framework--a framework that makes visible how the relationship between learning and development may vary within universal versus nonuniversal developmental sequences--may be better prepared to (1) make informed decisions about the extent to which they should guide children's activities and (2) avoid the DAP versus standards dilemma. The most recent iteration of DAP moved toward adopting a multi-dimensional developmental framework when it encouraged teachers to base instructional judgments on the extent to which children's emerging capacities will likely require greater versus lesser degrees of adult guidance, structure, and support.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A