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KAK3203: SCIENCE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN

LECTURE 2
THEORIES RELATED TO
SCIENCE EDUCATION FOR
YOUNG CHILDREN
HOW YOUNG CHILDREN LEARN?
• Through real experiences, variety of experiences
• Single experience is not enough to build a reliable intellectual
concept.
• Children absorbed information through concrete experiences
• Children are constantly absorbing meaning by observing their
environment
• Children need numerous sensory experiences
• Activities involving all the senses provide first-hand experiences
from which the child incorporate information into the
development of concepts.

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THEORIES RELATED TO HOW CHILDREN
LEARN SCIENCE

1. Constructivist Theory - Jean


Piaget (1973)
2. Social Learning Theory – Les
Vygotsky ( 1978)

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CONSTRUCTIVIST THEORY
(JEAN PIAGET, 1973)
• Piaget believes that learners constructs new ideas or
concepts based upon their current/past knowledge.

KNOWLEDGE IS BUILT FROM


THE A FOUNDATION – THE
EXISTING KNOWLEDGE.

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Knowledge is built/constructed through:
(i) Assimilation and (ii) Accommodation
ASSIMILATION: new experiences are incorporated
into an existing schema.

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ACCOMMODATION: New experiences which cannot
fit into the existing schema are accommodated
into a new schema. As a result, old schema is being
modified to create a new ‘understanding’.

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Schema/schemas
• A schema (plural: schemas or schemata): is an
a mental structure of pre-conceived ideas.
• Pre-conceived ideas are our past experiences.

• HOW DID YOU DEVELOPED IDEAS OR


UNDERSTANDING ABOUT WHAT
“EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION” IS?

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Can you guess? What concepts are being
assimilated and what are being accommodated
by the children in this picture?

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Piaget’s Stage Theory of Cognitive
Development
According to Piaget, children's thinking or
intellectual development occurs through 4 stages:
1. SENSORIMOTOR (Birth-2 yrs)
2. PRE-OPERATIONAL (2-7 years)
3. CONCRETE OPERATIONAL (7-11 years)
4. FORMAL OPERATIONAL (11 years and up)

Stage = A period in a child's development in which he/she is


capable of understanding some things but not others.

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STAGE 1- SENSORIMOTOR DEVELOPMENT (Birth
- 2 yrs)
• A child can differentiate self from object
• By 6 months, a child can begin to act
intentionally: e.g. pulls an object (milk bottle),
a toy, or a rattle to make a noise, etc.
• By 10 months, achieves object permanence –
i.e. ability to realise that things continue to
exist even when they no longer present.
• By 12 months, a child can use al its senses to
explore the world around them.
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STAGE 2- PRE-OPERATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
(2 to 7 years old)
• At this stage, children learn to use language and to
represent objects by images and words.
(They cannot mentally manipulate information yet).
• They are unable to take the point of view of other
people (Piaget described this as egocentrism).
• At this stage they believe that objects have lifelike
qualities, such as felling hungry and pain, need to
sleep and bathe, etc. (Piaget described this as
animistic thinking).

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Pre-operational egocentric thinking
• According to Piaget, egocentrisms believe that
everyone thinks as they do, and that the
whole world shares their feelings and desires.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Piaget+Egoce
ntrism+YouTube&&view=detail&mid=2D95ED4AA7DE
7270CDAD2D95ED4AA7DE7270CDAD&FORM=VRDGA
R

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Animistic thinking of children in pre-
operational stage
• Children give lives to inanimate objects.

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• Concrete stage is a major turning point in the
child's cognitive development - it marks the
beginning of logical or operational thought.
• The child is now mature enough to use logical
thinking (i.e. rules) - can only apply logic to
physical objects (hence concrete operational).
• Children become better at reasoning tasks -
CONSERVATION Tasks (reversible thinking).

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Conservation Ability
Conservation experiment

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4- FORMAL OPERATIONAL STAGE (11 years above)

• At about 11+, the child begins to manipulate


ideas in its head.
• He/she can do mathematical calculations,
think creatively, use abstract reasoning.
• They gain the ability to think in an abstract
manner, … the capacity for higher-order
reasoning.

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Summary of Jean Piaget’s constructivist theory

• Piaget believed people’s thinking changed as


they learn and adapt to their environment
(assimilation and accommodation processes);
• Development of thinking occur in stages (4
stages)
• Abstract thought involved reasoning … this
kind of thinking is called logical-mathematical
thinking.

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Vygotsky’s Theory of Social Learning

Four basic principles:


1. Children construct their knowledge (similar to
Piaget’s idea)
2. Development cannot be separated from its social
context (different from Piaget’s idea)
3. Learning can lead development (x Piaget’s idea)
4. Language plays central roles in mental development.

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SCAFFOLDING (Bimbingan)

https://www.bing.com/videos/search
?q=vygotsky+theory+and+science+lea
rning&qpvt=vygotsky+theory+and+sci
ence+learning&view=detail&mid=53E
66508C6153B5BB13D53E66508C6153
B5BB13D&FORM=VRDGAR

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Implication of Vygotsky’s theory in
Teaching SYC
• How should we teach science to children
according to Vygotsky’s theory?
– Children should be allowed to experience hands-
on learning, manipulate objects and explore with
the guidance from their peers and teacher
– Children need to acquire language skills in order
to learn and communicate with others.
– All children have abilities (within their ZPD) which
they can achieve with the help of others.

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THINK & DISCUSS AT HOME
1. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARN SO FAR ABOUT
HOW CHILDREN LEARN SCIENCE?
2. EXPLAIN HOW YOU CAN APPLY PIAGET’S
THEORY TO HELP CHILDREN LEARN SCIENCE.
3. WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF
VYGOTSKY THEORY THAT IS NOT FOUND IN
PIAGET’S THEORY.

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