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PIAGET AND THE CLASSROOM TEACHER

Jean Piaget needs no introduction to a trained-teacher. Every teacher


receives some exposure to the theories of Piaget during his training.
However, a classroom teacher does not have a comprehensive knowledge of
Piaget, since this would require a commitment in time and effort which is not
readily available to the teacher. This makes it incumbent upon the teacher–
educator to provide accessibility in the classroom setting. To achieve this
effectively, we need to develop a systematic in-service programme which
continues and builds upon the pre-service experience. This article hopefully
provides some suggestions as to how Piagetion Theory can be made relevant
for the classroom teacher.

Piaget’s notions of assimilation and accommodation are probably the most


commonly known and the most easily interpretive of Piaget‘s theories. The
fact that is intrinsic to Piagetion theory and the one that must be reiterated in
regard to these two concepts and indeed to the totality of his theory, is that at
no point in the child’s intellectual development does Piaget consider the
child as the passive recipient in the acquisition of knowledge. His theory
rests on the fact that the intellect is active in the development of knowledge.
He further contends that it is the acting on the information supplied by the
external environment that results in the development of human knowing.

The young child in the process of assimilation continually reaches out,


touches, and tastes accessible elements in the environment. Piaget
categorizes this earliest of stages as the sensorimotor stage in the
development of the child. In the process of assimilating external reality, the
child gradually moves towards a system of classification.

This process of assimilation, however, remains comparatively uninhibited in


the early stages of a child‘s life. Later when the child reaches the age of two
or three, the process involve contradictions which result in disequilibration in
the knowledge previously attained. For example, for very young children, all
four-legged animals can be classified as “doggie”. The day arrives when he is
informed that a particular four–footed animal is not a dog but a cat or a
cow. Some resolutions must be found, a finer differentiation, a new
classificatory category to accommodate this new knowledge and to reconcile
this information with what was previously assimilated. Thus in Piaget’s
Theory? The child seeks equilibration and resolves the problem through a
process of accommodation. It is this process that contributes substantially to
the development of the child’s intellect.

The apparent simplicity of the example cited in regard to young children has
applicability at other levels of development. The processes of assimilation,
accommodation and equilibration are life – long processes.

At the later stages of intellectual development, more sophisticated processes


are developed, yet it is this disequilibration that is at the processes are

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developed, yet it is this disequilibration that is at the heart of intellectual
development. The interaction of the human intellect and the environment
results in increasingly complicated systems of knowing, and assists the
individual in attaining advanced stages of knowledge. These stages called
SCHEME (Plural schemes) by Piaget, develop progressively, and although
Piaget suggests ages at which they occur, the limits have been determined
empirically from numerous investigations in Geneva and elsewhere.
According to Piaget, although the age limits are not rigidly delimited, each
stage must nevertheless be attained in the proposed sequential order: -
sensori – motor stage, Pre-operational stage, Concrete operational
stage and Formal operational stage.

FOUR PERIODS OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT

PERIODS APPROXIMATE AGE


RANGE
Sensorimotor Birth-1 ½ - 2 years
Pre-operational 1- ½ - 2 – 6-7 years
Concrete Operational 6-7 – 11 – 12 years
Formal Operational 11-12- through adulthood.

The ages at which these stages are attained has much to do with the
development of the individual child and environmental factors.

Some consideration of the Concrete operational stage which includes ages


6 to 12 years appears to have relevance for Primary School teachers. At this
stage, the operations of classification and ordination are of great
significance. Pupils who manifest difficulties in skills of classification even at
the higher grade levels are often lacking in the development of such
discrimination which is characteristic of the concrete operational stage of
development. The ingenuity required of the teacher in discerning such deficits
and in arranging the classroom environment to compensate for such deficits is
critical to the development of the Childs intellect. The teacher must not only
provide environmental phenomena but also challenge the child to become
actively involved in dealing with the environment.

Classification at the pre-operational level involves only simplistic actions,


placing objects, often tangible objects, into various categories, squares,
circles, animals, human beings. This concept of classes is preliminary to the
concept of number, there cannot be two dogs or three apples until the
classification of objects has been established. Similarly classification
precedes ordination, the ordering of objects, there can not be smaller or larger
until the object class has been established. Let us consider these operations
of classification and ordination as they develop and discuss the processes by
which teachers in the classroom can manipulate the environment to provide
for the development of pupil’s intellectual abilities. The development of these
operations is intrinsic to the acquisition of logical thinking.

A primary level child can manipulate objects and divide them into classes. The
child can also explain the process by which he has determined their

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classification. The use of photographs or pictures from magazines stimulates
some very original groupings by young children in the Kindergarten of first
grade. There will probably be a variety of different groupings with children and
the rationale for their classifications will be quite enlightening to the teacher. It
is important that children at this stage do not look to the teacher for supplying
the right answer, but conversely, that the child feels that it is necessary for
him to explain the name of the categories to the teacher. Once the child have
mastered a system of classification to some degree, the operation of ordering
objects from smallest to largest or in the opposite direction becomes a
possibility. In talking about or arranging a hierarchical order there may be
errors if the problem is complicated but gradually in formal social interaction
with peers, the child learns new information and incorporates this information
into existing scheme. The more structured rules of sports activities and
experiments carried out with specific directions in the classroom lead the child
to assimilate some facts but also to modify his views to accommodate the
information that cannot be reconciled with existing information.
The process of classification during the middle primary grades can be
expanded to attain greater discrimination. First of all, the process of
classification becomes more flexible since it depends less and less on
physical manipulation. The development of language greatly facilities the
learning process and classification skills can be used in teaching most subject
areas; These skills can be used in grammar to identify parts of speech and to
delineate their use in the sentence, they can be used by the child in
developing the concept of sets. At the concrete operational stage it is
important that the teacher asks questions that bring about a degree of conflict
to the customary way of viewing things. Children can be asked to name
everything about a child city and then divide these things into categories. The
stimulation of class interaction by the teacher in making decisions process the
operation of equilibration or self- regulation is characteristic of each
construction and each transition from one stage of intellectual development to
another. The processes of ordering and classification are thus critical to the
development of concepts in science, mathematics and language.

Another important characteristic of learning at this stage is the process of


reversibility. Piaget and his Geneva colleagues have carried out numerous
experiments with the operation which involve reversibility. The question of
reversibility has significance for the development of knowledge, especially in
mathematics and the sciences. The ability of the pupil to grasp the process of
reversibility contributes significantly to more comprehensive learning. The
application by teachers of this process in teaching; for example, addition with
its converse substraction and multiplication with division, provides the pupil
with the opportunity to perceive the process of reversibility. Early experiments
by teachers with children in the primary grades in dealing with fractional parts
and their relationship to the whole should be systematically incorporated into
classroom activities. Such instructions at the early stages of the concrete
operational level in the use of manipulative objects can establish the base for
later functioning in the understanding of fractions and their combination in
different mathematical problems. Piaget’s experiments with compensation of
liquids when the shape of the vessel is changed demonstrate the empirical

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responses of children at different stages of intellectual development in
response of these phenomena.

In discussing Piaget’s theory of conversation, some attention should be


directed to his theories of transformation and visual images as they relate to
the operation of conversation. At the conference on Congnitive Studies and
Curriculum Development sponsered by Cornell University in 1964, Piaget
presented a paper on The Development of Mental Imagery. In this paper he
discussed the contrast between the figurative function which deals with image
and perception and the operative function which focuses on the
transformation. The impact of the image is static and in Piaget’s terms not
anticipatory. He states in his presentation. The Development of Mental
Imagery: The images of small children are, above all, what we can all
reproductive image. They reproduce representations of situations that have
been perceived already. Anticipatory images- images which imagine the result
of a transformation are yet unknown- but which could be predicated on the
basis of some reasoning are not yet possible. At an average of about seven
years, but sometimes much later, imagery can become anticipatory. Thus in
the pouring of liquids young children consider only the visual image of level
without taking into account the factor of the changed shape of the vessel into
which the liquid has been poured. Piaget concludes, therefore, that initial
imagery is inadequate. It become adequate when operations become
possible. Operations involve transformation – a transformation which is part of
a whole system, a whole structure, where there is transformation in one
direction and the possibility of reversibility in the other direction and the
coordination of several operations.

The importance of this capacity for transformation is the ability of children to


work with geometrical figures. An elementary school pupil; can understand
that the area of a perfect square or a rectangle can be calculated on the basis
of multiplying the length by the width. The perceptions of the same area and
its dimensions can be considerably altered by some very minimal
transformations. For example the area of a square or a rectangle in which a
section has been displaced and moved to an adjacent position appears
substantially more difficult when in reality it encompasses the same area
space as the previous square or rectangle.

The ability of the pupil to recognize the anticipatory image in the revolved
segment in such transformations is important stages in intellectual
development. It is subsequently important for teachers to recognise
opportunities when the environment can be manipulated to make the process
of reversibility and transformations accessible to pupils. It is also important for
teachers to recognise that deficits in the earlier levels of the concrete
operational stage may be due to some lack of experience at the manipulative
levels. Fox example, a pupil who has difficulty with an algebraic calculation
may well have lacked a more concrete experience with phenomena.

Thus the role of the teachers is to provide at all levels of intellectual


development a variety of environmental phenomena and experiential activities
which are appropriate to the level and the development stages of the pupils.

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Although the discussion in this article has been largely limited to children and
teachers at the elementary school level, teachers at the secondary level
should be cognizant of the preliminary stages in the development of the
child’s intellect. In addition, the principles of actively involving children in their
own learning process are applicable to pupils at the later stages of the
concrete operational level and at the later stages of development. Piaget has
never ceased to argue that the intellect must be actively involved in the
learning process. Teachers at the Secondary level should be always
cognizant that their pupils have more resources with which to deal with
external reality but that it is still the responsibility of the teacher to ask those
questions that arouse intellectual conflict, to prepare a stimulating
environment which makes questions arise and never to imply to pupils that
there is a single right answer to every question, one which the teacher has in
her possession and which the pupils have only to discern by turning to her.

Finally there are several cautions that should be stated for the implementation
of the theoretical ideas discovered by Piaget. It should be noted that Piaget is
a biological epistemologist who has spent many years working with children in
order to discover how intelligence develops in children. His Theory was
developed by numerous experiments. He did not develop a pedagogy based
upon his theory but has left that task to the educators. Although his
experiments were employed to discern the stages in the development of
intelligence, found that such teaching does not enhance the development of
intelligence, they were never intended as teaching devices. Indeed it has
been found that such teaching does not enhance the development of
intelligence in children, but that in some instances hinders such development.
Teacher that have attempted to accelerate the developments of intelligence
by using the experiments as teaching devices have created very structured
situations, just the opposite of People Watching, Piaget’s colleague of many
years, Denise Prinzhorn, points out that the most effective use of Piaget’s
theory is its use in an unstructured way, with the teacher creating the
environment rich with phenomena and with an open and questioning
atmosphere.

The second problem, is the desire to accelerate the development of the child’s
intelligence through some intensive tacking process. Piaget emphasizes that
the development of intelligence is a process in which the pupil must be
actively involved, a discovering, in which the cumulative impact of learning
experiences results in the development of the intellect and the progression of
the child from one stage to the next. Thus a rich environment for learning and
a stimulating atmosphere are the teacher’s best resources in assisting the
child to develop intellectually.

Finally, period starting from March 86, When the New Educational Policy was
likely to be operative should have (proven) to be a propitious time for in
service education and the working with teachers on site. The Colleges of
Education will have to realize and recognise the necessity of providing
services to teachers. They will have to find more time and resources to
dedicate to the continuing education of in service teachers. This interaction

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between schools and the Colleges of education should enable professors with
a background in educational theory, in this instance the theories of children at
all stages of intellectual development and to interact with teachers in making
the school an significant learning environment.

I. When you work with children, remember the concepts of


cognitive development.

1. All children pass through four main stages


of cognitive development.

2. Children of the same chronological age may


vary considerably in their level of cognitive development. Different levels of
cognitive development are evident in student’s patterns of reasoning.

3. Because a child may perform one task that


is at a specific level does not necessarily indicate that the child is at the level.
Several tasks must be given to an individual in order to determine his cognitive
level.

4. The development of a person’s cognitive


ability is of real relevance to that individual.

5. There are two main types of experiences:


(1) Physical (learning information) (2) logical mathematical (learning to perform
mental operations). Physical experience occurs when children physically act on
objects in the environment. They begin to realize that action is complex, for
example, they find that objects may be ordered from short to long or vice versa.
From physical experiences, the child becomes initiated into logical
mathematical experiences. Eventually the child develops mental structures
which she will use to grasp abstract concepts.

6. A student develops patterns of reasoning


only by having experiences that allow or stimulate thinking.

7. Cognitive development results from an


interaction between the student and the environment (including the teacher).

8. Development occurs through the process of


equilibration (i.e. an imbalance between mental structures and experiences).

9. The process of equilibration can be initiated


by educators through activities that engage the learner.

II. Design a curriculum that facilitates development:

1. Stress intellectual development, It is not


enough to teach just for facts; you must help students reach their human
potential. Piaget’s efforts have made intellectual development an important face
to the curriculum.

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2. Follow Piaget’s sequence of development in
your curriculum. Since children pass through a sequence of stages, the
curriculum must be designed to accommodate appropriately the student
development progress.

3. Adapt curriculum materials to where the


child is developmentally. Construct the curriculum to deal with the child’s needs,
do not wait until the child has met your criteria for entrance to the curriculum.

4. Utilize the “moderately novel” or “optimal


mismatch” principle. Piaget believes that presenting children with moderately
novel problems only slightly above their cognitive level assists them in
advancing to higher degrees of operational ability. Let children choose their
own problem – Oriented takes, they will usually choose things that are
challenging.

5. Use Piaget’s Theory in any culture. Since


Piagetian levels are universal, they provide a predictive base for constructing
curriculum materials for any culture. However, minority and lower socio-
economic groups may vary in the rate they progress through growth stages.

6. Stress learning through action and


discovery oriented activities. Students learn only when they act mentally on
what is being investigated. Curriculum materials should be oriented towards
discovery, inquiry and creativity to help students develop. Provide activities for
the students to make decisions and verify and deduce conclusions. Laboratory
and field experiences should require students to use thinking processes such
as hypothesizing, inferring, designing experiments and formulating models.

7. Involve students physically and mentally in


acting on what is being learned. Rather than having them always listen, have
them read or create something and then share in small groups their view about
Project: Important qualities, creative value and possible further activities. The
groups then should decide what conclusions they wish to report to the class for
discussion and evaluation.

8. Create more interaction, allow small groups


to works on problems. Students resolving a problem in small groups of three to
five facilities more learning than do class discussions. This is due to greater
student involvement and the advantage of a mix of in dividable at different
cognitive levels.

9. Involve students in role playing. Have them


play roles in resolving problems. For example, students may take the part of
famous scientists or public officials. This activity provides opportunities to
perceive different view point (thus reducing ego centricity) and involves active
participation in the studied subject.

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10. Use conflict strategies. Cognitive conflict
activities with in small groups give students opportunities. The students must
resolve conflicts within the group perceiving view points other than their own.

11. Move from concrete to the abstract.


Educational material and class activities should preferably start with the
concrete and progress to an abstract level rather than the reverse.

12. Do not always use the direct approach. The


direct way of attacking a problem, such as language development, may not
always be the best way. Use other approaches to complement the direct
approach. Exploration and extension are suggested as compliments to the
traditional direct approach of explanation.

III. Teach for the facilitation of development.

1. Ask more questions than you give answers,


especially divergent questions. Students should get involved in finding out and
analyzing the meaning of what is being learnt. Questions allowing for divergent
answers stimulate creative and critical thinking. Convergent questions
answered by ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ should be avoided. When children make
contradictions, say, “But you said a little while ago that ……………. “or “Which
do you mean?”

2. Talk less and listen more, stressing non-


verbal instruction. Sense when to be quiet. After asking a question, wait at least
five seconds for children to answer. Remember, children need time to
assimilate and accommodate information before they can respond intelligently.

3. Allow freedom of choice. Encourage and


give students freedom to choose some of their learning activities so that they
may use their minds to evaluate what should be studied. In this manner, they
learn to develop commitment towards their studies.

4. Do not correct pupil’s errors in reasoning.


Rather, ask questions and provide experiences so that students correct their
own mistakes.

5. Determine cognitive levels by giving


students conversation or formal reasoning tasks and by asking questions to
determine how they think. For example, you might have the student describe
her mental steps towards resolving a problem.

6. Accept the fact that students may develop


at different rates. Individuals who are behind their peers now may be equally
capable in adulthood. Be aware also that most classes will have students at
more than one level, and many in transitional stages.

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7. As students evolve cognitively, they also
progress to higher stages of ethical development, however, it is only with
education that this parallel development occurs.

8. Children decrease in egocentricity through


active social Interaction because they are confronted with different views. They
begin to find that the way they understand life is not only view point. Interaction
involving argument or critical analysis is the basis for developing higher
cognitive abilities.

9. Students must have the abilities gained at


one level before they may deal successfully with the required tasks of higher
levels.

10. Pseudo learning occurs when students


neither assimilate nor accommodate information. In such a case, children are
required to memorize without understanding.

IV. Follow The Teaching/Learning Cycle:

CONCEPT EXPLORATION

1. Students learn through their own activities.

2. Learning is “directed” by the objects, events


or situations.

3. Teacher guidance is minimal.

4. Activities should leave students with


unanswered questions.

CONCEPT EXPLANATION

1. A concept or principle is presented.

2. The concept should be related to the exploration activity.

3. Different instructional materials and approaches can be used.

4. Instruction is teacher directed.

5. Instruction should help students answer their questions.

CONCEPT EXTENSION

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1. Students are given different activities in which they must
apply new concepts and reasoning patterns.

2. Additional time and experience are used to extend student


understanding.

3. Different instructional approaches can be used during this


phase.

CONCEPT EVALUATION

1. Student learning in evaluated in a variety of ways.

2. Feed back us used by the teacher to recycle student through


appropriate teaching/learning phases.

V. Apply The Teaching/Learning Cycles : Steps for designing


lessons:

CONCEPT EXPLORATION

1. Identify interesting objects, events or situations that


students can observe, this experience can occur in the classroom, laboratory,
and field or through media presentation.

2. Allow the student time in which they can explore the


objects, events or situations. During this experience the students may
establish relationship, observe patterns, identify variables, question events as
a result of their exploration. In this phase the unexpected can be used to your
advantage. Students may have questions or experience that motivates them
to understand what they have observed.
CONCEPT EXPLANATION
3. In this phase direct student attention to specific aspects
of the exploration experience. Introduce concepts in a direct and formal
manner. Initially the lesson should be clearly based on student explorations.
In this phase the key is to present the concepts in a simple, clear and direct
manner.

CONCEPT EXTENSION

4. Identify several activities in which students apply the


concepts in new and different situations. Use of different activities will facilitate
generalization of the concept by the students. Encourage the students to
identify patterns, discover relationship among variables, and reason through
new problems During discussions and individual and group questions be sure
to point out the central concepts that are being applied in the different
contexts.
CONCEPT EVALUATION

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5. Evaluate students, understanding of the concept. If the
student has not learned the material, decide which phase of learning cycle
would be most appropriate to facilitate learning. Provide further exploration,
explanation or extension activities for the student.

VI. Follow these specific recommendations for teaching in the


beginning.

1. Being the year with an assessment of your student’s


development levels. Pencil and paper tests are good for screening large
groups.

2. Use exploration activities to begin a unit. As a general


rule the explorations should use concrete objects.

3. Begin individual classes or lessons with a demonstration


or activity designed to engage the students. Discrepant events, puzzles, novel
experiences, surprising activities, uncertain problems and curious adventures
are all effective ways to initiate operation by students.

VII. Follow these specific recommendations for the


explanation phase of teaching.

1. Present concepts clearly.

2. Provide time for students to assimilate and accommodate


experiences.

3. As students show signs of puzzlement (disequilibrium),


help them “Put the pieces together.”

4. Make connections to concrete experiences in the


students life.

5. Clarify students’ reasoning patterns for them.

6. Have the students justify their answers regardless of the


answers correctness or incorrectness. Ask students questions such as the
following: “How could you demonstrate that? “ “What is your evidence?”

7. Be a model of the reasoning patterns you wish to foster in


your students. Reason out loud; tell about your hypotheses, justifications, and
alternative explanations.

8. Give your students time and opportunity to think.

9. Provide opportunities for students to extend their


understanding through activities based on similar concepts in different
contexts.

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VIII. Follow these specific suggestions for the evaluation phase
of teaching.

1. Be sure you test for reasoning, as well as context.

2. Ask students to justify their answers.

3. Make a conscious effort to help students who are


reasoning at levels lower than that of their peers.

IX. When giving assignments, follow these recommendations.

1. Review texts to see the level at which most concepts are


presented, If level are too high, provide concrete experiences and/ or
examples that will help students.

2. Give the students problems requiring analysis and


argument Have them justify their positions.

3. Provide special puzzles, tasks, and activities that will


initiate the process of equilibrium.

X. When working with children at the sensorimotor level, (birth


to two years), follow these recommendations.

1. Provide objects for play.

2. Let the child experience her would as much as possible.

3. Stimulate the child’s sensory and motor behaviours.

4. Let the infant/toddler develop naturally through a rich and


stimulating environment.

XI. When working with children at the preoperational level (two


or seven years) follow these recommendations.

1. Make sure that children manipulate and group objects.

2. Involve preschool children in activities requiring social


interaction.

3. Encourage children to play games such as “house” and


“store” so they can act out various roles.

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4. Ask children to make comparisons. Create activities
where children need to know “which is”, for example, which is taller, bigger,
wider, heavier or longer.

5. Encourage children to line up in rows from tall to short


and vice versa so that they may become more involved in ordering
operations. Give children tasks where they have opportunities to order
objects.

6. Have pupils weigh objects. Left them play with balances


and teeter-totter like toys.

7. Bring in various examples of life cycles of animals and


plants such as several pictures of butterfly development of the sprouting of
bean and corn seeds. Examples of natural stages help children develop
ordering ability.

8. Have children draw scenes with perspective. Encourage


them to draw objects in approximately the same location as they are viewed,
for example, if they see a cow in the far end of a field, they should place the
cow similarly on the paper. They should also try to copy geometrical figures
some open and unconnected (like a half circle) other connected (like a
square) Give them some outlines within which they would have to include
objects or exclude objects; for examples, they can be instructed to draw a
square with a circle inside it, an ellipse with an arrow drawn tangent to it, or a
few triangles with small circles inside and outside.

9. Have a children tilt a closed container with colored liquid


and draw how the water inside appears with the container slanted, upright or
lying flat. This activity may be repeated using several different types of plastic
or glass container as those emptied of milk.

10. Construct an inclined plane or hill. Place together


different size marbles on top of it and let the children roll those down the hill
and complete how they finish. This should help children eventually gain a
concept of speed.

11. Ask children to justify their answers when making logical


mathematical types of conclusions. For example, when they say that a liquid
poured from a tall glass into several glasses will still contain the same volume
of liquid, ask, “Why do you think so?” “How would you prove that to another
student?”

XII. When working with students at the concrete operational


level (seven to eleven years) follow these recommendation :

1. Continue any pre-operational activities you believe are


relevant for children in this age group.

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2. Encourage children to discover concepts and principles.
Although you should refrain from telling them outright, you may formulate
questions relevant to what is being studied in order to help them focus on
some aspect of their learning. Remember it is necessary for children to
assimilate and accommodate on their own, and the processes take time.

3. Involve children in operational tasks such as adding,


subtracting, multiplying, dividing, ordering, seriating and reversing, preferably
in concrete ways where they utilize objects.

4. Plan activities where students must grasp the idea of an


ascending and descending classification hierarchy.

5. Design many activities having children order and reverse


order. Many third graders have problems reversing order, such as going from
tall to short rather than from short to tall, or listing the cities they would pass
through in taking a trip to a large metropolitan centre and then reversing their
order in coming home.

6. Involvstudents in using horizontal and vertical coordinates


Achieve this task by asking them to locate places on city and state maps.

7. Present problems requiring students to isolate variables.


Usually you will need to help students because they will not suggest all the
possible variables.

8. Have students who are in the advanced part of this stage


construct theoretical models tied to concrete examples; for example they may
explain molecular theory through the use of concrete models of atoms rather
than by symbols.

9. Include activities which require conservation of mass of


volume, understanding of continuous quantity, weight and volume.

10. Have children define and state problems.

11. Involve students in testing all possibilities towards


resolving problems. Help them discover what strategies they use to solve
problems.

12. Particularly continue to ask students to justify their


answers to logical mathematical problems and situations encountered in
conservation tasks. Help students check the validity and accuracy of their
conclusions.

XIII. When working with students at the form operational level


(eleven years onwards) Follow these recommendation :

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1. Encourage students to engage in problems requiring
hypothetical deductive reasoning, propositional thinking, theoretical
reasoning, reflexive thinking, separation and control of variables,
combinatorial logic and other forms of abstract thinking.

2. Engage the student in questions and problems such as


the following: “What was your hypothesis?” “How could you demonstrate that
idea?” “What other problems can be investigated?” “How do you solve the
problem?”

3. Be aware that the majority of students are probably at the


concrete level or in transition to the formal level. This finding suggests that the
teaching/learning cycle outlined would be a good approach, for it could begin
at the concrete and progress toward the abstract.

4. Provide time for maturation and activities with physical


experience. Allow social interaction, and when you teach concepts, model
formal patterns of reasoning.

5. Have the students establish classification systems.

6. Give students some freedom within limits, so they have


time and opportunity for creating, inquiring and problem solving.

7. Engage adolescents in discussions requiring synthesis,


evaluation and criticism of ideas, theories and personal positions.

8. Challenge the adolescents position by pointing out


counter examples, discrepant facts and unanswered questions in their
positions.

9. Encourage students to argue using formal patterns of


reasoning in areas where they are familiar with the content and where they
have strong attitudes.

“I recall one evening of profound revelation. The identification of God


with life itself was an idea that stirred me almost to ecstasy because if
enabled me to see in biology the explanation of all things and mind itself……
The problem of knowing (properly called the epistemological problem)
suddenly appeared to me in an entirely new perspective and as an absorbing
topic of study. It made me decide to consecrate my life to the biological
explanation of knowledge.” PIAGET

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