ES 2212: Theorising Early Childhood

Week 10/11: Assessment Guidance

  Return to module outline.

Last updated 24.11.11.

 

General Overview

 

Explain how Vygotsky’s interpretation of the learning environment revisits Locke’s ideas on education, and how Piaget’s ideas revisit Rousseau’s account of the educational importance of Emile’s surroundings.

 

My recomendation is that you tackle this essay in two halves, concentrating on offering explanations that answer as directly as possible each sub question, i.e., how one might explain Vygotsky's work as having developed out of a 'conversation' with Locke, and how one might similarly think of Piaget's work as extending from a prior 'conversation' with Rousseau on Emile and, possibly, The Social Contract. However, since you have already written about Locke and Rousseau, you only need identify the most essential aspects of their writings that you think can be represented as 'underpinning' the thinking behind Vygotsky and Piaget' work.

 

 

Here are some headings to organise your thinking and planning:-

 

Piaget

 

What stimulates learning?

 

 

 

What is the nature of human knowledge?

 

 

 

 

What is the direction of child development?

 

 

 

 

What is the origin of self-regulation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vygotsky

 

What stimulates learning?

 

 

 

What is the nature of human knowledge?

 

 

 

 

What is the direction of child development?

 

 

 

 

What is the origin of self-regulation?

 

 

 

 

Rousseau

 

Summarise how the ideas presented above compare with Rousseau’s proposals for Emile’s education

 

Locke

 

Summarise how the ideas presented above compare with Locke’s ideas about children’s education

 

 

 

Essay Structure - again, an overview

 

 

Introduction

Move beyond simply restating the question and explaining the basic structure you will use (although this is helpful). Indicate as well the significance of the issues you will be writing about as keywords with very short expansions, e.g., child development - for Piaget predominantly internally driven: for Vygotsky predominatly driven by the social context.

 

 

Piaget/Rousseau section

Present relevant information from Piaget’s ideas about child development (and its implications for education) in the sequence set out in the preparation table. Then go on to draw comparisons between Piaget’s ideas and Rousseau’s proposals for Emile’s education.

 

 

Vygotsky/Locke section

Present relevant information from Vygotsky’s ideas about children’s learning (and its implications for education) in the sequence set out in the preparation table. Then go on to draw comparisons between Vygotsky’s ideas and Locke’s proposals for young children’s education.

 

 

Conclusion

Briefly summarise the main points and then explore their significance for students of early childhood.

 

Remember, this is level 5, so we need quotations from the primary texts of the four main theorists.

Bruner, Campbell, Marti and Ridley will be helpful for contextualising this detail in these nature/nurture debates; Pinker needs to be used with extreme caution. Focus mainly on Piaget and Vygotsky. Locke and Rousseau are of secondary importance to this assignment, and only information relating directly to what you have said about Piaget and Vygotsky should be included. The nature/nurture debate serves as a means of drawing out the significance of the theories for parents and educators of young children.

 

Detailed Preparation for the Essay

 

Essay title: 'Explain how Vygotsky's interpretation of the learning environment revisits Locke's ideas on education, and how Piaget's understanding of cognitive growth revisits Rousseau's account of the educational importance of Émile's surroundings.

 

Introduction

·        Very brief explanation of the career contexts of Piaget and Vygotsky

·        Acknowledgement of differing interpretations of similar subject matter: environment and learning.

·       

·        links to Locke and Rousseau only via these two concepts

·        Overview of essay structure

 

Piaget

·        Explain the main principles and concepts of his theory of cognitive development (making specific links to Locke and/or Rousseau if appropriate)

·        Key terms to work into your explanation:

o       Assimilation

o       Equilibration

o       Accommodation

·        State direction of development of knowledge

 

Vygotsky

·        Explain the main principles and concepts of his theory of cognitive development (making specific links to Locke and/or Rousseau if appropriate)

·        Key Terms to work into your explanation:

o       Historical and dialectical materialism

(this needs to be extended so as to tackle the idea that society is a) 'plastic' in its relation to the world, and each society develops social structures that may increase or decrease the 'fitness' of that society; the child's socialist responsibility is to work creatively with these, having once acquired familiarity - see the next section)

o       Zone of Proximal Development

·        State direction of development of knowledge

 

Interpretations of Environment and Learning

·        What constitutes the ‘environment’ for learning in each man’s theory?

·        What form of interaction with the environment is necessary for learning in each man’s theory?

·        What do the two perspectives on the learning environment contribute to our understanding of the characteristics of human knowledge and its development?

 

Conclusions

No need for a detailed summary – go straight to the significant issues you wish to highlight. You may want to:

·       

·        Explore (concisely)  the implications of the two theorists’ ideas for the education and care of young children

·        Identify relationships between the thinking of Locke, Rousseau, Piaget and Vygotsky

·        Summarise your comments in terms of the nature-nurture debate

 

Some suggested additional sources:-

Piaget, J. (1953) The Origin of Intelligence in the Child London : Routledge trans: M. Cook pp. 1-9; 407-419.

Campbell , R. (2006) Jean Piaget’s Genetic Epistemology: appreciation and critique Revised version of two lectures presented at the Institute of Objectivist Studies Summer Seminar , Charlottesville , VA July 1997.

Bruner, J. (1997) Celebrating Divergence: Piaget and Vygotsky Human Development 40 pp. 63-73.

Piaget, J. (1972) The Principles of Genetic Epistemology London : Routledge Kegan Paul trans: Wolfe Mays Ch 1 .

Moran, S. and John-Steiner, V. (2003) ‘Creativity in the making: Vygotsky’s contribution to the dialectic of creativity and development’ in: Sawyer, R., John-Steiner, V., Moran, S., Sternberg, R., Feldman, D., Gardner , H., Nakamura, J. and Csikszentmihalyi, M. (eds) (2003) Creativity and Development New York : Oxford University Press.

(n.b This article is very lengthy)

Vygotsky, L.S. (1994/1930) ‘The Socialist Alteration of Man’ in R. Van der Veer and J. Valsiner  (eds ) (1994) The Vygotsky Reader Oxford : Blackwell. .

Vygotsky, L. S. (1994/1934) ‘Academic concepts in school aged children’ in: R. Van der Veer and J. Valsiner (eds) (1994) The Vygotsky Reader Oxford : Blackwell.

Marti, E. (1996) 'Mechanisms of internalisation and externalisation of Knowledge in Piaget's and Vygosky's theories' in: Tryphon, A. and Voneche, J. (eds) (1996) Piaget-Vygotsky: The social genesis of thought Hove : Psychology Press.

Kitchener, R. (1996) ‘The nature of the social for Piaget and Vygotsky’ Human Development 39 pp. 243-249 .