A Brief Introduction to Piaget: The Growth of Understanding in the Young Child and New Light on Children's Ideas of Number

A Brief Introduction to Piaget: The Growth of Understanding in the Young Child and New Light on Children's Ideas of Number

A Brief Introduction to Piaget: The Growth of Understanding in the Young Child and New Light on Children's Ideas of Number

A Brief Introduction to Piaget: The Growth of Understanding in the Young Child and New Light on Children's Ideas of Number

Synopsis

Since about 1935, Piaget's work has been based on systematic experiments, carried out not only by Piaget himself but also by colleagues operating under his direction, and many teams of students.

The great importance of the work of Professor Jean Pi­aget of Geneva for child psychology, and thus for education, has only in recent years been fully recognized. This work has gone on for some thirty-five years, but the sequence of books translated between 1927 and 1932, though very stimulating, seemed open to a good many doubts. However, the volumes published in English during the last decade, and others still untranslated, have shown beyond question how much Pro­fessor Piaget can help us to understand children's intellectual growth. We owe to him a striking fresh picture of the child himself as the architect of this growth. Piaget's interest lies chiefly in the building-up of the basic framework of thought, which later the child, and we, mostly take for granted; but that is what makes the new picture so illuminating. And from the angle of Infant School teachers it is noteworthy that the period from 4-5 years to 7-8 years turns out to be a specially important one, anyway for the average run of children. For their biggest step forward in the building of that framework usually falls within this period. The present essay will offer a thumbnail sketch of the whole story, as Piaget presents it, and will then dwell more fully on the happenings of the In­fant School phase. Nathan Isaacs (1895-1966) was a philosopher and psychologist who promoted Piaget's ideas to the education community in England. He was especially interested in the idea that educators must adapt educational practice to the nature of the child, not the reverse. Isaacs felt that the child brings an eagerness to learn and a certain set of cognitive abilities to school, both of which are rapidly squelched by the usual teaching methods. Learning must occur through active involvement and integration of material into the child's pre-existing picture of the world.

Excerpt

At this stage Nathan Isaacs’ main intellectual interest was in philosophy, especially in logic, epistemology and ethics. However, though he joined the Aristotelian Society and at-tended meetings regularly, he was entirely dissatisfied with the methods, the vocabulary and the ways of thinking of academic philosophers. He considered most of their subject matter not pure philosophy at all, but a mixture of philosophy and inadequate, outdated psychology which they did not even recognize as such. He worked for years on a long book setting out his theory of knowledge as a temporal distillation of experience, continually corrected by the confirmation or non-confirmation of expectation. He made no attempt to publish the work at this time.

Early in the 1920s Geoffrey Pike invited Susan Isaacs to run an experimental school for young children at his home in Cambridge, and the three founders, Pike, and Nathan and Susan Isaacs thrashed out together the theoretical basis on which the school would run. Susan’s psychoanalytical training gave her a special interest in the conditions for optimum emotional development; her husband, influenced partly by J. M. Baldwin’s Genetic Logic, was insistent that from the earliest years children should be encouraged to think clearly and talk competently. Unless these faculties were actively developed from the very start of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.