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Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10003.

ASS2: Essay Introduction Constructivist theorist Jean Piaget suggests that children are not less knowledgeable, but give different answers because they think individually. Piagets stage based theory has been significantly influential on schools, teaching and education all over the world (Eddy, 2010). The Early Years Learning Framework (2009) is inclusive of not only Piagets views but also incorporates theorists such as Lev Vygotsky and Jerome Bruner. These theories compare and contrast with the implementation of mathematical knowledge within the early learning environment. Constructivist theory- Jean Piaget

Jean Piagets cognitive development theory involves four transitional stages representing different types of thinking. According to Eddy (2010), Piagets stages are universal: sensorimotor stage (0-2 years); pre-operational stage (2-7 years); concrete operational stage (711 years); formal operations stage (7-further years). Piaget believed that stages would be universal regardless of individual differences, except age. Piaget believed that a child is unable to progress without constant interaction with the environment (Eddy, 2010). One of Piagets important concepts is Schema (Schemata) which help individuals to understand concepts. These cognitive structures represent a certain aspect of the world also known as categories which have pre-conceived ideologies (Eddy, 2010). A schema involving mathematical concepts could comprise the following: numbers, operations (+, -, X, /, =), geometrics, numeracy, quantities, counting, patterns and categorization. Assimilation is simply the process of incorporating new information into a pre-existing schema (Eddy, 2010). When a new mathematical concept is introduced a child will attempt to apply an old schema to the

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10003. ASS2: Essay concept; known as accommodation, for example, introducing subtraction the child attempts the problem by adding the numbers together before understanding the concept of subtraction. Through hands on activities children develop an understanding of subtraction by physically taking the items from a group and being able to see and count the remainder. Assimilation and accommodation make up the two core parts of Adaption. Through adapting a schema, this

enables individuals to make an accurate representative model of the concept (Eddy, 2010). Piaget suggests that humans naturally strive to achieve a cognitive balance; balancing the use of assimilation and accommodation individuals can proceed to higher levels of thought and learning, known as equilibration (Eddy, 2010). Piagets theories have influenced educational views on developmentally appropriate practice, the notion of schema enables the understanding of how learning is linked with prior knowledge and how the formation of concepts occur (Westwood, 2013). The environmental contexts in which children learn in relation to developing mathematical knowledge are required to adhere to frameworks such as the EYLF (2009). The aim of the EYLF (2009) is to extend and enrich childrens learning from birth to ve years and through the transition to school. Piagets theory is evident in the EYLF (2009) in the learning outcomes for children. Fundamental to the EYLF (2009), incorporating the belief that all children experience learning that is engaging and builds success for life, through belonging, being and becoming implemented in principles, practices, and learning outcomes. Piagets cognitive theory in context to the EYLF is evident within learning outcome 1.2 (EYLF, 2009), children have a strong sense of identity. This is evident when children are open to new challenges and discoveries through collaboration with peers, the teacher and the environment. Through the provision of choices

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10003. ASS2: Essay guided by encouragement children are able to explore, investigate and contribute to their mathematical knowledge. Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating (learning outcome 4.2, EYLF, 2009). Through learning experiences children create and use representation to organise, record

and communicate mathematical ideas and concepts in relation to the level of challenge within the learning environment. Patterns and identification of aspects of the natural environment can be communicated using mathematical symbols and language. Through the manipulation of objects, experimentation of cause and effect, trial and error are able to contribute constructively to mathematical discussions and arguments. Piagets schemas enable teachers to recognise mathematical understandings that children bring to learning and build on these in ways that are relevant to each child while supporting them through their learning. Piaget in comparison to Vygotsky and Bruner Comparison of Constructivist learning theories developed by Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky and Jerome Bruner are shown to interrelate to one another in some ways but differ in others. According to the Educational Broadcasting Corporation (2004), encouraging students to use active techniques (experiments, problem solving) to create more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing. Ensuring the teacher understands the students' preexisting conceptions can guides the activity to address and build on them. According to Vygotskys theory, teaching in the Zone of Proximal Development where the childs learning is mediated and scaffolded by the teacher, enabling learning to become more

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10003. ASS2: Essay meaningful, easier, manageable, effective and efficient. The major challenge that Vygotskys theory presents to teachers is that it is difficult to identify every learners zone of proximal development (Greener Journal of Social Sciences, 2013). Vygotskys theory displays the understanding that teaching should be focused on psychological functions rather than already functions in contrast to Piagets operational stages based purely within an age range targeted to

meet desired stages of cognitive development. The difference in theories creates implications for teaching mathematics, depending on the preferred theorist, that learning cannot be achieved without cognitive development; that learning is a social experience followed by development. Vygotsky places more emphasis on culture as affecting/shaping cognitive development in turn contradicting Piaget's view of universal stages and content of development. Bruner and Vygotsky emphasise a child's social environment more than Piaget, agreeing that adults should play an active role in assisting the child's learning. Rather than Piagets stages, Bruners modes of representation are integrated and only loosely sequential as they "translate" into each other (McLeod, 2008). Bruner believes a child of any age, is capable of understanding complex information therefore disregarding Piagets stages of development. Bruner and Piaget agree that children are pre-adapted to learning yet disagree that development is a continuous process, not a series of stages. According to Piagets theory the order of teaching has to be determined by development of stages, so curricula are needed. Conclusion The EYLF (2009) learning outcomes consist of: children having a strong sense of identity; connected with and contribute to their world; strong sense of wellbeing; confident and involved learners and are effective communicators. This can be achieved through the

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10003. ASS2: Essay implementation of Piagets theory through adapting learning environments to suit the needs of the individual child, awareness of individual stages of development, provision of stimulating activities by using resources appropriate to the experience (Waring, 2006). As Piaget believed childrens interaction with the environment is important teachers must provide a variety of

interactions with the environment enabling children to explore and manipulate, compare, arrange and rearrange real sets of objects through structured and informal mathematical learning opportunities (Project Maths Access, 2006).

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10003. ASS2: Essay References

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2009).

Retrieved from:

Early Years Learning Framework. (2009).

Belonging, being and becoming. The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments. Retrieved from: _early_years_learning_framework_for_australia.pdf

Educational Broadcasting Corporation. (2004). What is constructivism? Retrieved from: Greener Journal of Social Sciences. (2013). Vygotskys Zone of Proximal Development Theory:

What are its implications for mathematical teaching? Vol. 3 (7), 371-377. Retrieved from: al.pdf

McLeod, S. (2008). Bruner. Retrieved from:

Project Maths Access. (2006). "Basic Concepts." Retrieved from:

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10003. ASS2: Essay Waring, P. (2006). Cognition and Development. Retrieved from:

Westwood, Peter (2008) What teachers need to know about numeracy pp. 24-32