Pathways to Number: Children's Developing Numerical Abilities

By Jacqueline Bideaud; Claire Meljac et al. | Go to book overview

18 Assessment and Perspectives

Jacqueline Bideaud Université Charles de Gaulle, Lille III

The chapters making up Pathways to Number are ample testimony to the variety of routes to mastery of number that are potentially open to the child, and how they are authorized as a function of external or internal constraints. More specifically, this volume is illustrative of the heterogeneity of viewpoints adopted by psychologists to study the processes of acquisition and its unpredictable turns. This heterogeneity is in one sense reassuring, in that it is indicative of the complexity of the genesis of number. It is, however, more apparent than real, because most of these studies can be assigned to one of the two major contemporary theoretical and methodological trends: Anglo-Saxon cognitivism (information processing) or neostructuralism. In this closing chapter, I try to define what I feel to have been the contributions and the limits of Piagetian structuralism--the obligatory reference--developmental cognitivism, and neostructuralism. I then attempt to show how new pathways can branch out from the intersection of the most seminal theoretical concepts in each of these approaches.


PIAGETIAN STRUCTURALISM AND THE ONTOGENESIS OF NUMBER

The contribution of Piagetian operational theory to number is not restricted to the ( 1941) volume by Piaget and Szeminska. Reflection was taken much further in the 1960s through joint efforts associating mathematicians, logicians, epistemologists, and psychologists, such as Beth, Grize, Papert, Gréco, Matalon, Morf, and others in the stimulating environment of the Centre International d'Epistemologie Génétique (International Center for Genetic Epistemology:

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