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LEARI{II{G AND DEVELOPMENT

Introducdon
This first chapteris devotedto questionsof how children developand learn at home and at school.It will discuss how they learn new conceptsand developnew ideasabout the world, and how adults (parents,carers,arrd teachers)can help them make tle processof learning as successfulas The aim is to make a link betweenwhat we know about childrerit possible. development and learning in generaland language learning in particular.It ':'irimportant for language teachers to exploretheselinks and t*e children's learningand their development in other areas into account.Many of the principlesdiscussed in this chapter will be referredto and built on in chapters subsequent

Active learning:'constructivism'
Learningis an activeprocess. AII parentsand teachers who haveobserved childrenin learningsituationscan testifyjust how activelythey areinvolved For example, they can be completelyabsorbed yhen they ggeinterested. in the story that they are listening to or in the pretend g.me that they are playrng.-whenthey aremotivated,children h"ppy rolty new thingr "rd to experimentwith ideas and thoughts in "r. conversations with adults and teachers. Children through their explorationsand play, and through _learn opportunities to talk things through with others,usually adults. Exploring can refer_ to things in concreteterms (for example,playing with r"nd "nJ water or buildingwith toy bricks) or in abstractterms in conversations with others. Often the rwo happen simultaneously, for example,children and. adults can play togetherwith water and sandand talk about what they are doing. JeanPiaget(1896-1980),who beganto develop his ideasin the first half of the rwentieth century,wasone of the rlrosrfr-ous child psychologists of all times.He referredto activelearningr,; 'constructivisrn . H. rrrgg.ra.dthat children construct knowledge for themselves by activ.ly -"ki"g senseof

that the child has to do for himselflearning would not take place. It is useful for teachers to be familiar with the Piagetianframework because teaching a-'8]rsh to children can *.Piagetand his colleagues constructedtasksand conductedexpirimenr. such interaction berween the environmentand children's existingknowl"edge is ongoingan4 throughout the years further and furth... learning.in a conversation aboutanimals.tgh. At this point the child will haveto adapt or changehis or her way of thltikitrg ro accom. Piagetrefersto this pro.".fi".ri -f 'assimilation'..orri-odation. stages of development that all children go th1o. fo.d that development *: process of acquiiirg .r.all animalsare hatchedfr9T eggs)At a laterstage. the stages. \ilZithoutthis adapt2lien-5smething ".childrenareactiveconsrructors of their knowledge of the world.. p. r s I D It I a It P la th in fa Fi wi o m . \rhen parentsof similar-aged children talk togetherthey often . "rgr.npl.rr. to fit his oi her own interpretationof the world and existing waysof thinking (i. h. Thbr"e1.e. and developmentunfolds as a result of the Siologicalprocesses of growth. principlesof formal llgic. Each child follows these.edte''that their children act similarl.i.-enrs are added to the growingknowledgebase. activities. modate this new idea. -. the na-mirg"of ". In L923piagetpubiished a book called TheLanguage and the Thougbtoitht Chitdinwhi"ch i.rin a_ rangeof situalions.roo..parent.rr universal "i. this is the pro. Eventhough childrenareall unique learners. they also show some characteristics in with thei.e.r. In this way. andjokes... b"r.. According to piaget. \XZhen this child comes across other animalsduring a visit to a farm.Jon this theory"and produceda detaileddescription of the four stages.migtt explainthat pigletsarenor hatchedfrom eggs..r. Asiimilation and accommodationthus describerwo sides of the same process.i in exactlythe sameorder. and the developmentof the child's brain. The child is assimiladng infor-"tio."g.i summarizes the main .*". TI 4 * I g t r I t Piaget'sstages of development Teachers and parentscan often judge very well what their children can or cannotyet do or understand.. such -Eimilarities within age bandswere observedby piaget too. he or sheassumes rhar the pigs are hatched from eggs..h..T *orkit i with very different age groupswith different interests and needs. a..o*-o.For . Gachi'ng a class of r2-year-olJ. . a young child might know that babybirds suchaschicksand duckiingsarehatchedfrom eggs.For example.piagetian characteristics of childrent development within each . " He referredto basiclogical abilities 'oplr"riorr'.r."g. and he developed his famousframeworkwhich suggesrs th"t th.L earn ing and deu elopment their environment. maybe.. parenrsof fiveyear-olds find that their childrenusesimilar arguments in conversations or enjoyvery similargames.

and rypes 9f dogs like terrier. ryPesof animals like dogs. or that pouringwater from one container into apother does not add or take awayanything from dre original amount 'class inclusion'. Piaget concluded that their development had not reached the stage where they could haveapplied the rules oflogic. At dris point they askeddre children to choose Typically. the great majority of children under the age of seven gave incorrect answersto all the questions.. of sevenin dris experiment were unable to choosethe correct photo. children under the a photo which showed the doll's PersPective.t. the age and younger..hildr.e. . Criticism of Piagetbstages Thepre-operational stage of Both parenrs and teachersworldwide may feel that Piagett assessment children under the age of sevenwas a bit harsh.1: The threemountain experiment Many taskssimilar to the one abovewere given to children of sevenyearsof 'conservatiori. i. from the other end..1"t. for example. Some of these tasks tested u-nderstandingihat moving two sticks of the same length away from each other doesnot changetheir length. One of Piaget'smain critics .lopment Learningand deue experimentersplaced a doll at the opposite side of the display facing the . Typically. Other tasls tested subcategoriesand main categoriesand principles of hierarchy. Figure1. "g.e.they chosethe photo which was identica-l This was consideredasproof of thesechildren'segocentrism. i. to their own persPective. to each other. Instead. the relationship of of *"t. how the concepts of animals.

Learning and deuelopment that Shesuggested.vchologist.' and automaticallyachieved or evenadults.the description of operational stagesturned out to be problematic.Donaldson decidedto redesignsomeof fie original experiments more child-friendly format.owers ous. the majority of the results for children under the age of sevenimproved. \fith regard to the final stage.in particular in young learners'classrooms. their contexts and cultural practices vary gteatly and this leads to a great deal of variety acrossthis age group worldwide. The ultimate intellectual challenge of being able to think according to the rules of formal logic is not actually fuIl. unfamiliar contexts. Another sourceof criticism was the context of t}re Piagetianexperithey misunderstoodthe context. First of ali. In particular.Indeed.ps. too. the languageused by in the taskswas confusingfor them. In fact.For example. M*y children failed because example.Thesefindings and criticisms have important implications for teachers. peopledo not by all teenagers need to think in a logical fashion in most everyday contexts. wasMargaretDonaldson.in thg conservationtaskswhen the adult experimenterrearranged the sticks. The operalional stages Even though the most important criticisms concerned Piagett preoperational stage.otherwiseit would not make sense in a again.MargaretDonaldson reportedthat oncethesetaskswerepresented a familiar context.Many children thought that something must to ask the samequestion havechanged. Piaget underestimatedyoung children. it has repeatedlybeen demonstrated that when young children are presentedwith familiar tasks. Analyrical developmentleading to formal logic is also the result of formal schooling rather than natural maturation and different educationalsystemscontribute to maintaining differencesbetween same-aged children or teenagersin . the children expected a change as a result of *re adultt manipulation of the objects. For ments. Piagetand his colleagues askedwere unnaturai and ambiguthe questionsPiagetand his colleagues 'Are in this picture?' there more yellow flowersor fl. with regardto issues of testingand assessment Unfamiliar tasks. rvas a qypical question that was put to the children in one of the class like this were uncommon arguedthat questions inclusion tasks. However.Dona-ldson in everydaylanguageuse and that the children could not make senseof rhem.in familiar circumstances. they show signsof logical thinking much earlierthan Piagetclaimed. Children berween the agesof sevenand 11 all develop formal thinking to some extent but this is usually due to their schooling which promotes such thinkirg. In a book pubiished in 7978 entitled Children's in Minds. and unfamiliar adults can cause children anxiety and as a result they may perform well below their true abiliry or not respondat all to the questionsor tasks. introduced by familiar adults using languagethat makessenseto them.Piagett'descriptions were simply overconfident.the Scottishchild.

the cuitural context. from stageto stage developmentand the universalprogression However. As stated in the Introduction of this book. principles underlying the useoftasks.teachers. Quite aPart from which context: hence was interestedin the learning Piagetianstagea child belongedto. ti: $ . Vygotskywas a contemporaryof Piaget sharedsome of his basic beliefs about child development. and in particular the influence in interactionswith children are also and parentsengaged of peers. social environment too has an important role to play. He agreed "nd with Piaget that children construct knowledge for themselvesand that they However. In the following chapters.world.r.red reachers'and parents' attention to the powerful effect of the social 'socialt is added to constructivism. well beyond this age.well beyond Piaget's condnLles Vhile it is true drat Piagett original ideas have been challenged. He tur. In addition. where appropriate.10 Learningand deuelopment to proposethat difrerent parts of tie. particular attention will be paid to differentiating berweenthe needsof younger and older children.most of somestagewould still suppoft the existence psychologists developmentai are believedto be less like dwelopment in children even though the stages by Piaget. there is an important social side to children's development too. He was interested to explorewhat individuai children were capable of achievingwith the help and support of a more knowledgeablePartner.Lev Vygotsky ( 1895-1934) ."r. he explored the role of culture and social context. The socialenvironment.he pointed out that the activelyparticipatein the learningprocess. major sources Social conStructivism is associatedwith the ideas of the Russian psychologist. activities.rr. In his book entitled (translatedinto of Higher Mentgl Processes the Deuelopment Mind and Society. The role of interaction: 'social constructivism' theoryof learning Vygoxby's Vith the stage theory Piaget emphasized the biological basis of in everychild. English in 1978).Careful monitoring groups -regular feedback from children will help teachers select suitable and materials that are developmentally appropriate for the given age group in a given conrexr.and other materialswith both younger and older children will be offered. Vygotslqy potential of the individual. of learning and development. it is alsoreasonable development does not actually stop at the age of eleven or trveh'e but last stage. recognizing the fact that all children were unique 1. rigid and perhaps less deterministic than originally suggested to learn from Piagetbtheory?It is important \(hat is important for teachers and open to the needsand interestsofvarious age to be sensitive for teachers and continually monitor their changing needs.

fre most famous Vygotskian conceprwas born. Vygotslcy more knowledgeable argues that working within the ZPD is a fertile ground for learning because it starts with what the child ilready knows and carefully builds on it according to the childt immediate to go forward. the of 'ZPD').he wili probably abandon the task of counting. systematic support Helping children to learnbyffiring Giventhiskind of help. or even an older brofier or sister... can help him to continue. \Whensuchhelp is providedin a systematic manner.or just stop. nor knowing how to catry on.2: TheZone of of Proximal Deuelopment For example.2 givesavisual represenration needs ofthe ZPD.think of a four-year-oldboy who is sitting down to sharea story book with a parent when he noticesthat the coverpageof the srory book is fulI of colourful stars. However. gets confusedwith the counting. Proximal Development' (oq as it is often referred ro.it is often referredto as . Left to his orvn devices.He is eagerto start counting the starsand he is able to count up to Tbo. Figure 1.They can prompt him by inserting the next correctnumber or by giving a visual clue (for example. Learner'scurrent level Figure 1. the This 'zone' the differenceor the concePtdescribes benveen dre currentknowledge of the child and the potential knowledge achievablewith somehelp from a peeror adult.the child maybeableto counrup ro 50 or even100. showing the number of fingers) or by pronouncing the first sound of the word (twenty-ffi that iollows.r I I L L earning anddeu elopment 'Zone Accordingly. a parent or teacher. 11 -t I t Learner'spotentiai level with help Zone of Proximal Development wherelearningoccurs. He will saydrings like 'rwenry ten' insteadof thirty. 15 or 161ut beyond th"t li. leaveour some numbers altogether.

During the interaction.orr. ""j this term in 1976 (see also-wood. r*rrr. mod.arning is l"rrg. ."g.rd whensom. learning.At the beginning. listeners' It is language that allowsus to askquestions and clarlfywhat is not clear.rdlanguage . or 'regulare'. andit is language that allows. by repeating information differerr.1f:1t' languageto children in more ietaii and chapter g will explore children's development in takingmoreresponsibiliry for ih. includingoflourse th. childrenslearning. For example. foreigno.*ly take responsibiliry for.elling pronunciation pto. "rrdibl.plaise. o. anAmerican psychologist. L a . introduced -Br. points out possibledifficulties.". . that their r""g"""g.r"g.Chapter2 wrlldir.. and makes sure distractionsare avoided' The adult also ensures tlat the learner srays on track and is motivated to finish the task.o. .they leari to regulate "rk *or. o. children arc very young. rime.^r.fb:rchers will needto think abouthow . k is languagedrat allows us ro make -.r.esult of underrt*di. particular.rrriil they are satisfied that the messages havegot through.rg inter:preting "rrd for ourselves what othersare saying. Pafis of the task assoon ashe or sheis willing to.Jerome Bruner. childrenlearn. and Rossi scaffoiding is essentiallyan instructional sffategy which ensuresthat the child can gain confidenceand take control of the task (for example.r's l. ri*r) o.. EYL teachers needto b.".T2 Learning and deue lopment scafrolding'.In otherwords.ridi.doppor. by explain"ing '. questions to clarify a point.thlrg is not. At.ogues. parenrssupport .'lly..o ri"g..o..o.rrr.l"rrroo-. Children n.The support is carefullyadjusted to the need.rr"go accessible .ir l. i* . children learn .s of the individual child.. wheneverstuck.[."rrirrg.i..* lirglage forms in meaningfulcontextsso listeningto the teacheris essential blth"fo. theyremind children*f.r. he or sheis offeredimmediate.is our ideas with greatprecision.d !t input from context.ippor. The importance of languagefor learning The language used in interactionsyrth paients and teachers is important because it is the vehicle thrgugh which understandingand learniig take place. thJy^lir^dy explain how to go aboutsolvingprobrems. useis often "*# the main sourceof language input. djai.r-rrrities to join in andinleract "lso with the teacher and with each other.r. ih.oll. encourages the child "d.rr.r."t.that takespilce in the ZPD. Building on both piagett and vygotskys theory and work..rg oppo*unitiesfor understanding new "l.. using language.dults the most important toolsparelt: useto iegulate their childre. meaningfi:l . andin general supporttheir 9o*.counting th.-i"t.rrs the crucialrole of .r. of ".l.-' The-significance of language hasimportant implications for teacher talk in all classrooms. According to Vygotslv.r.Lateron. learning happensin social interactionswith "ll others.h. and mote asPects of their learning.-. As childrenmature.*pr.rlt with. ideas -ln carefi.Learn^ing occursin converr"rionr.

i.rrl". i..! *11 .the ffis of basicintelligences areconsrantlydevelopingand Table r. they may show very litde interest fn w.1lti3S. in a pubiication entitled Frarytes of Mind: Theory of Muttiple Intelt. iitrapersonal. children who are musical enjoy singing and dancing . musical.rs who S**p are aware of this framework can ensuretlat their teacf. into""ccounr.r while the second exhibit linguistic and spatial intelligenc..thefirst group of children would be describedasshowirrg p"rli. to elicit language#oclasses.gences (r9BT suggested that intelligence had no^unitary characier. it manifested itie"lf in many different ways in different children.d asked on the st_ory..r *. llg. rather. New ideas and new practical inteipretations with regardto. their with each other. bodily/kinaesthetic. d".and natural. if we take working witl stories. (Vygotsky). Howard Gardner. He refersto thesemultiple intelligences 'frames as of mind'.r .e. \7hen assessing children'sintelligenc. interfersonal. learnets. _The rypes of intelligences are linguistic.tr.rsing themselvesthrough "t. strengthsin the areasof musical and bodily/kinaesthetic intelligltr. 6gi.r"g.in particularsocialinteractionwith pa-relt: and teachers.r.e. For example.omathematical. -"rryf.ychologis"ts have argued for the need to take such differencesin individrrj. 'learning sqyles'.2 merelysummarizesthe main featuresof eachrype of intelilg. an American psychologist. Other children qight get embarrassqdif 4a..can make a differenie in terms of offering unique. and how they can encourage children to ur. At the same dme. Srylescan describe personaliry tFpes such as more careful and refleitive children as opposed to .rpr.l1qq]ou1in& to join in with singing and dancing but enjoywiitin! or dr"*i"g b"r. I shall now explorethe issueof uriiqueness. l t i Learning and deuelopmerzt rhey can best scaffold childrent early language production in their English what questioning rechniq". spatial..h. enriching experiences Gachers and parents often notice that individual children enjoy different activities.nces. . According to Gardner's fra-mework.yl{tg. meaningfi-rllv : I3 Children areall unique learners Gardner'sfr ameworhfo r rnuhi? Ie in teIligences Having consideredhow similarly-aged children sharecertain characteristics (Piaget) and how the socialenvironmenr. in the example about working with stories.ing is meaningfirl to all children with anyone or any combination oftheseinte"llig._" "nd drama and ballet. : Learning serles Thle descriptionsofintelligencescan be relatedto anotherterm commonly used in the educationalliterature.

and plants Nattrralist: -- Table1. motivations. It is important for teachers to take into account rhar all children have stronger and weaker aspectsof their multiple intelligences and preferred. Some children prefer listening to new input while others need lots ofvisual stimulus.Therefore teachersneed to incorporate a variety of activities into second and foreign languageclassroomsto ensurethat everybody'spreferencesare cateredfor at least some of *re time. Analydc learnersare those with an attention to detail and global learnersare those who are more holistic in their approach. minerals. impulsive and more interactive children. when new rhymes or songs are introduced in an English class. rhwhm. rhFrhm.2: Gardner's Multiple Intelligences. some stylesdescribe perceptual differences.weaknesses.abiliry ro handle long chainsoflogical reasoning Musical: abiliry to produceor appreciate pitch. Yet others are kinaesthetic. Children can listen to the teacher or the tape saying or singing the rhyme or the song. and meaning ofwords and the different funcrions oflanguage Logico-mathematical: sensitivity to and capacityto detect logical and numerical pafterns. it is a good idea to presenrthem using avariery of techniques. abiliqyto handleobjects skilfuily Interpersonal: Intrapersonal: abiliry to detect and respond appropriately ro the moods. learning styles.to perform transformationson thoseperceptions. Other styles. For example.related to personality features. Adaptedfrom L. temperaments.which means that they like to feel and touch things and move their body in expressive ways to aid their learning and communicarion.and ro recreateaspects ofvisual experiencein the absence of relevantstimuli Spatial: Bodily-kinaesrhetic: abiliqy to usethe body skilfully for expressive aswell asgoal orientedpurposes. desires. Allyn and Bacon 2002. describe cognitive categoriessuch as analydc or global learners.understandingof fie forms of musical expressiveness ability to perceivethe visual/spatialworld accurarely. or melody and aesthetic-sounding tones.1 A -L -a Learning and deu eloprnent Linguistic: sensitiviryto the sound.Finally. knowledge of one's own strengths.Children can alsolook at the text of the song or the rhyme in the .and intelligences ability to recognizeand classifyvarietiesof animals. This wili'carer fur learners with an auditory preference. and intentions of others abiliry to discriminare complex inner feelingsand to use them to guide onet own behaviour. Some of the early preferencesand srylesmight changewith time but there will always be a variecy of learners in every class. Berh:Child Development.

tiqr trs.It is essentialthat all children of all and abilities find learning a new languagea motivating and rewardingexercise to provide at their own pace. to all children. Learning about the children by talking to them. Onceaware oradngvarious teachers can maketheir lessons of having to caterfor different intelligences. it is also important that this is balanced out with focus on the individual child. or a parent being awayfrom home. ifiLe-class Similarly. them with suitable tasl<s Exceptionally gifted children will need to learn early on to work independendyso that they can carryon with motivating taskswhile the rest of ==aree-nga$edin SomethlngelSb.a iost teddy. pairs or small groupsand more capable might leadto'dividing children into abilitygroupssome Theseconsiderations of the time and helping them to learn to work independently at othertimes. are ibe rile rns ays lve :ed ith )fe Jummary J a\ gn 'at :o- of ng . observ- .This activiry will cater for visual Finally. and their performance at school might declinetemporarily. This will caterfor kinaestheticlearners. Many teacherswork with large mixed and they facea similar sort of problem when they haveto cater ability classes for difrerent needswitlin the sameclass.ry he Children within the sameagegroups may show similar characteristics but at the sametime they are alsovery difrerent asindividuals with their strengths and preferencesas learners. book or look at the illustrations.For example.It is a good ideafor teachers to keepin touch with parentsand work togetherto solveproblems. 'senses' alsomakeslearningmemorableand fun. It they is important for teachers to monitor childrent progresscarefullybecause can developnew strengthsand interestsover time and they go through spurts 'ups of developmentand other and downs'. children can rvatch t}re teachermiming the actions andjoin in with Incorprhe rvordsand actions.It is the teacher's challenge tlat they can progress and rewards according to their individual needs.young children are often affectedby eventsat home such asthe birth of a brother or sister.LearninganddeueloPment 15 '1 -0 D ly ns learners. Teacherswill have to use their best judgement in deciding about the most suitable materials and techniques to fit their learners of different agesin different contexts.too. slowerlearners needsuitably challenging tasks and special support that will keep them motivated and small successes. more accessible Exceptional childreruand rnixed ability classes children: will have to deai with exceptional In'almost all contextsteachers children with very high abiliqF or slower learners with emotionai and/or learning difficulties of various types.\7hile teacherscan benefit from famttriaizing themselveswith the universal aspectsof childrent development. Children of all abilitieswill enjoy working togetherin ensure learners can often help weakerones.

M.. Recommended readirg Background theory Berk. This book explores the effect of school on childrent development. and M. +ighb'aceessible manner.r. This is a drought-provoking and entertaining account of child development for both interested parents and teachers. L. Boston:Allyn and Bacon. and socialdevelopmentfrom birth to adolescence. emotional. This book coverslanguagedevelopmentand cognitive development.London: Fontana press. picture drawing. By incorporaring varieqy into everyda.teachersof children can make their lessons IearnertFpesand intelligences. 'Wood. It is ofinterest to those teacherswho want to refresh their knowledge about child developmenr in general cohen. [JnderstandingChildren.). The main theories ru--arized -in "r. Hout the child's Mind Dnelops. 2002. and talking to their parents can help teachersto understand the chiidren they are working with. childrenls Minds. This book covers areasincluding language development. writing. full of stimulation for all Practice.How ChildrenThinkandLearn Oxford: BlackwellPublishers. you can try TaiLs 1: 'Exploring difrerent age groups' and 2: 'observing teachers' language use' (Appendi" pages155 and 157). It describes the demandsof a new mode of thinking required by school and the nature of difficulties children facebut it alsooffers suggestionsro parenrsand teacherswith regard to how'they can help childt. .o cope with these difficulties. 1998. and perceptions in separateessays written by eitablished researchers in eachfield. 1990. 1978. Ho Adu new allov diffe Tirhs Ifyou would like to look at somepractical tasksto explore your own practice related to the contenr of this chapter.n . 2000. reading. thirc insig cont -- wl to The impr rhe 1 long cann thesr chil< chilc scior . Grieve.\7ood reviews theoretical debates in psycholory and offers a syntlesis of what is known abouf childrent thinking and learning. The book contains many interesting topics such asthe effect of television and compurers on children. Child Deuelopment. Int In tl cons shov not J In th Para. D. Donaldson. Hove: Routledge. Hughes (eds. Oxford: Oxford lJniversiry Press. D. R.16 Learningarcddeuelopment ing them. This is a comprehensivebook on child psychology which coverscognitive.