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HOW CONCEPTS ARE ACQUIRED

Objectives
1. List and define the three types of learning experiences described in the unit. 2. Recognize examples of each of the three types of learning experiences. 3. State possible responses to specific opportunities for the child to learn concepts. 4. Be aware of variations in individual and cultural learning styles and capabilities and the need for curriculum integration.

5. Know that children learn through interaction with peers as well as adults. 6. Recognize the value of technology for young childrens math and science learning.

1. Explain three types of learning experiences.

THREE TYPES OF LEARNING


1. NATURALISTIC LEARNING EXPERIENCE 2. INFORMAL LEARNING EXPERIENCE 3. STRUCTURED LEARNING EXPERIENCE

NATURALISTIC EXPERIENCE
Naturalistic experiences are those initiated spontaneously by children as they go about their daily activities. Thus those experiences serves as a major learning for the children, especially during the sensorimotor period.
The adult s role is to provide an interesting and rich environment for the children to use their senses; observe and note the progress, and respond verbally and non verbally so the children know they do the right thing.

What is your response ?


Isabel takes a spoon from the drawer This is big. Adult says Tito is eating orange segments. I got three. (Holds up three fingers.) Nancy says, I am four years old Tim and Tanya are pretending having a tea party. Tim says, The tea is hot. Sam sits quietly after lunch, with his head on his desk and he frequently looks at the clock and tries to figure out when it is time to go home.

INFORMAL LEARNING EXPERIENCES


Informal learning experiences are initiated by the adult as the child is engaged in a naturalistic experience. These experience are not preplanned for a specific time. They occur when the adults experience and/ or intuition indicates it is time to scaffold. This might happen because the child needs help or adult needs to reinforce certain concepts. For examples:

Juanita (age four) has a bag of cookies. Mrs. Ramirez asks, Do you have enough for everyone? Juanita replies. I dont know. Mrs. R. asks, How can you find out? Juanita says, I dont know. Danny (6 Years old) found many worms in the playground. He says, Teacher, look ! I have a whole bunch of worms.\ I am six years old, says three year old Kate while holding up three fingers. Angie (6 years old) made two stacks of 5 blocks. Bob is setting the table. He has 10 cups for 10 tables but he does not seem to have enough cups.

STRUCTURED LEARNING EXPERIENCES


These are learning experiences preplanned lessons or activities. They can be done with individuals or small or large groups at a special time or an opportune time. For examples: With an individual at a specific time with a specific focus. Cindy is four years old. Her teacher decides that she needs some practice counting. She says, Cindy, I have some blocks here for you to count. How many are in this pile?

With a group at an opportune time. Mrs. Raymond has been working with the children on the concepts of light and heavy. They ask her to bring out some planks to make ramps for the packing boxes and the sawhorses. She brings out the planks and explains to the group. These are the heavy planks. These are the light planks. Which are stronger? Where should they go?

With a large group at a specific time. The students have an opportunity to explore the different ways animal toys can be classified. It is important that adult asks many types of questions : Divergent questions and directions ( what do you think? What have you found out..? What can we do with? Etc) Convergent questions and directions ( How many? Find the smaller ball. Etc)

LEARNING STYLES
In planning learning experiences for children, it is essential to consider individual and culturally determined styles of learning. Learning styles may relate to modalities such as auditory, visual, kinesthetic, or multisensory preferences. They also may relate to strengths in particular areas such as those identified by Howard Gardner in his theory of multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1999).

LINGUISTIC INTELLIGENCE

MUSICAL INTELLIGENCE

NATURALISTIC INTELLIGENCE

LOGICAL MATHEMATIC INTELLIGENCE

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES (GARDNER, 1999)

SPATIAL INTELLIGENCE

INTERPERSONAL INTELLIGENCE
KINESTHETIC INTELLIGENCE INTRAPERSONAL INTELLIGENCE

It is important to provide children with the opportunity to solve problems using their strongest modalities and areas of intelligence.
Conventional learning experience focus on the linguistic and logical mathematical intelligences and ignore other areas. The students who learn best through other modalities or intelligence may not be able to develop concepts and skills to the fullest.

However, the variety of learning styles can be reached by integrating the various areas of the curriculum rather than teaching each area such as mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, visual arts, musical arts, movement and so on as separate topics.

Social Studies

Physical and kinesthetic activities

Math and Science Musical arts Language art Visual Art

More attention has been paid to integrated approaches to instruction. In planning and instruction it is important to consider not only diversity in modality related learning styles but also diversity in race, ethnicity, social class, gender, out of school experiences and special needs.

Children with Special Needs


While a great deal of research had documented the quantitative development of typical young children, which provides information that can guide our instruction (Mix, Huttenlocher, & Levine, 2002), it is also important to consider the mathematical development and instruction of children with special needs.

Gifted students can be provided with enrichment experiences that go beyond numeracy and into probability, problem solving, geometry, and measurement. Children with disabilities may have combination of problems and different approaches must be taken with each type of learner. Cooperative learning groups and computer activities can be very helpful for them.

Geary (1996) describes how math anxiety and math disabilities can impede progress. Math anxiety according to him results from a fear of mathematics. About 6% of school age children may have a mathematics learning disorder (MD) . He found that MD children had no perceptual or neurological problem but lacked of experience, poor motivation, or suffered from anxiety.

Geary (1996) suggested ways to help children with MD:


1. Memory problems. Dont expect the child to memorize the basic facts. Provide alternative methods. 2. Procedural problems. Make sure the child understands the fundamental concepts. 3. Visuospatial problems. Provide prompts or cues that will help the child organize numbers so they are lined up correctly. 4. Problem solving difficulties. First help the child with any basic skill difficulties. Have the child identify different types of word problems and help identify the steps needed to solve the problem.

Karp and Howell (2004) emphasize the importance of individualizing for children with learning disabilities: 1. Remove specific barriers. For example if a child has difficulties that make writing difficult, let him give his explanations orally and put his responses on tape. 2. Structure the environment. A simple environment, not overstimulating, carefully planned and clearly set up transitions,

3. Incorporate more time and practice. Practice should be for frequent short periods, avoiding drill and kill. 4. Provide clarity. Present problems clearly using modeling, questioning and presenting activities in small steps.

TECHNOLOGY
High tech tools such as voice synthesizers, Braille readers, switched activated toys for special need children. Low tech tools such as photos for making choices, special handles on pans or paintbrushes, etc. Internet Educational software Computer Calculator

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