6 Harry developsMathematics, like language and literacy, is generative. In other words,
when Harry learns to use numbers, to understand concepts about
shape, space and measuring, he is developing concepts that he can
apply to new situations.Piaget (2001: 163) tells us that thought is 'internalised action'.
Harry initiates many actions that help him to understand his world
and his particular culture. As we see in Chapter 3, Harry uses his
whole body at first and then objects to begin to understand concepts.
Just as he uses the stories told to him to understand his emotions, he
uses the mathematical signs (like numbers), practices (like using the
phone) and words (like 'on top', 'behind' and 'before') with which he
is familiar to understand emergent mathematical ideas.Pound (1999) says that 'children's mathematical development,
like so many other aspects of their learning, strongly reflects the
culture within which they grow up' (p. 2). Schiller (in Bruce et al.
1995: 132) tells of a little girl who could work out 'pretend shopping'
accurately in her head because of her real-life experience. She does it
over and over again correctly, but then 'I had glanced down at the
completed sums on the small blackboard on her desk; in every case
the answer was wrong'. What she is learning in school does not make
human sense to her and is not connected to the learning that she
does, spontaneously and from necessity, at home.This chapter is divided into sections:
|• ||Harry explores capacity, size and fit|
|• ||Learning to count|
|• ||Investigating length, measurement and equivalence|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Observing Harry: Child Development and Learning 0-5.
Contributors: Cath Arnold - Author.
Publisher: Open University Press.
Place of publication: Maidenhead, England.
Publication year: 2003.
Page number: 93.
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