Schoolwork Problems and Discipline
Intellectual development stages determine what kinds of materials and activities best help children learn. If you don’t match the experiences and materials to the children, you are sure to have behavior problems as well as academic problems. Piaget’s (1960) work explains the importance of young children having real experiences with real materials to construct their knowledge about the world. The term concrete is often used to describe the type of materials children need for productive explorations. They include the water in the water table, the hammer and nails in the woodworking center, and the blocks in the block center.
Some teachers present letters, numbers, and other symbols to children who cannot yet make sense of them. This developmentally inappropriate instruction can create discipline problems. When children are not capable of doing what they are asked to do, they are likely to behave in ways adults dislike. Certainly they are not likely to complete the work on schedule. Often youngsters who are frustrated and discouraged by school tasks that are beyond them are then punished for not doing the work. It is common to see these children sitting dejectedly at their desks during recess, staring helplessly at a worksheet. Is it any wonder that they are tempted to be less than cooperative or even to lash out in anger?
Some people get confused and think that plastic magnet letters or wooden letters that fit into puzzles are concrete. These letters can be touched and moved around, but they are still only representational symbols. Some representational materials are more easily recognized than letters or numbers are. For instance, a doll is more recognizable as a symbol for a baby than are the letters in the word baby. Pictures of real things are not concrete either, but they may be useful symbolic representations.
Sometimes teachers are striving for developmentally appropriate education but don’t realize that their teaching materials are not concrete. Not everything that a child can touch and manipulate is concrete. Clocks and quarters are examples of apparently concrete materials that are actually representational rather than concrete. Young children can’t construct knowledge of time or money through manipulation or observation of clocks or coins. No wonder lessons in telling time and making change are such difficult activities for young children. They involve both symbolic representation and arbitrary social knowledge. As such, they cannot be learned through an exploration of materials.
© ______ 2007, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- The Homework Debate
- First Grade Sight Words List
- Social Cognitive Theory
- GED Math Practice Test 1