Cognitive Development: Child Observing And Lesson Plan
The Cognitive Process of Andrew
From observing the case of the children Andrew, I interpreted that it has processed the theory of Cognitive Development from Piaget.
According to the theory, there are total of 6 key process in the development, and they were called ”Schema”, ”Assimilation”, ”Accommodation”, ”Equilibrium”,
”Disequilibrium” and ”Equilibration”. While the theories are in the process of development, it would often made a mistake or blunder, but people will gain improvement from those mistakes, in order to generate better prediction that could help them fit in the surroundings.
A “Schema” is actually a stable thinking pattern, also the psychological structures that helps a person to think more logically while they have experienced something, and it will be more complete as their growth. In this case, when the teacher was telling Andrew the story about the animals, Andrew listed out two kind of “animals”, which are birds and butterflies. From seeing the similarities between birds and butterflies, his schema could be interpreted as “any creatures that have wings can be identified as animals”.
A person’s schema might be affected by teachers, parents and friends. As a children who only aged 5, the seniority are more evidently important in a child’s growth. It is deduced that Andrew’s schema are mainly come from his teachers and parents.
Then, “Assimilation” happens. When someone are trying to improve their schemes to interpret the surroundings, they will try to incorporated new experiences with their old schema. In the case, the child Andrew tried to use his original schema to interpret that butterfly belongs to the kind of animals, which means he was trying to incorporated new experiences with his basic knowledge, and it is an ”Assimilation”.
The third process is ”Accommodation”. When children recognised that their original theories cannot fit in the current environment, this process will occur to adjust his old schema, or even recreate new schemes to boost their thinking. In the case, when the teacher told Andrew that butterflies was insects instead of animals, this process existed in Andrew’s thoughts. He need to modify his schema by accepting butterfly is not a kind of animals, which are new experiences to him.
The key process in Piaget’s theory “Equilibrium”, is the balance between assimilation and accommodation. When children can match the majority of their experiences with their schema, and it is called a Equilibrium. The child Andrew said that bird is a kind of animals, and what he said is correct, birds are actual animal with wings, and this fact suits his theories.
It goes to “Disequilibrium” afterwards. This fact occurs when the new experiences cannot match the children’s old schemes, and they will return to the process ”Assimilation”, try to interpret the surroundings once again. After this process, they will go to the process ”Accommodation”, which means they need to adjust or even open a new schema again. In the case, this phenomenon happens on Andrew. When the teacher amended him that butterfly was not under the kind of animals, Andrew felt puzzled. At the moment, Andrew’s brain was undergoing the process of Assimilation and Accommodation, which means he was trying to incorporate his new experiences into his original schema again, and to re-adjust the meaning or schema, till his theory of “animals” are Equilibrium, which means he can totally disgusted the knowledge.
Moreover, about the reaction ”puzzled” happened on Andrew, it can be considered as Self-centred. According to Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development, there are different stages of children’s development, and they will act differently in every stage. As a 5 years-old child, Andrew was belongs to the Preoperational Stage(2-7 years old). Take the key feature Egocentrism as reference, children in this stage will start to learn and interpret new word by being in touch with new experiences, but they will just think in their own perspective, which are considered as self-centred. This act “puzzled” appears when Andrew was being told that butterfly was under the kind of insects instead of animals, it shows that Andrew do not accept the new experience that comes from other person, and probably he did not know the term of “Insects”, and that makes him felt confused.
Then, it goes to the Equilibration. It is a process that will happen when children find their schema are not balanced to the new experiences, and they will go back to the process of balancing their experiences and their own theories. This process will keep repeating until the child’s schema is suitable in most experiences.
In order to have a niche targeting to Andrew’s problem, there are a lesson plan for children between 5 to 6 years-old. The activity is called “Finding Habitats”.
In the activity, children are assumed that they already have the prior knowledge of the term ”Animal” and also some basic kinds of animal. The purpose of this activity is to help children to distinguish the basic kinds of animals and insects. It’s assumed that there are about 20 children in the class.
To hold the activity, there are some supplies that teacher need to make. Firstly, background musics are needed to form three different scenes: Forest, sea and island. Then, six A4 size word cards ”Animals” and ”Insects” on it, 3 for animals and 3 for insects. Stick the word cards on 8 big hula hoops to pretend these are habitats of two kinds of species. Forasmuch, make 20 headbands of animals (lions, birds, cows, chicken)and 20 for insects(butterflies, ants, mosquitos, flies).
There will be a total of 3 stages in this activity, and each stage will last for about four rounds.
In the first stage, each child will get one animal headband randomly. Then, children are required to form a big circle. When the music started, they need to listen to the it and walk around. When the music stopped, teacher will shout one kind of animal, for example when the teacher said ”Birds!”, and children whose are wearing bird headbands need to get into the hula hoops that stated “animals” quickly, the latest child will be invited to stated out one animal except those kind of headbands.
In the second stage, teacher will distribute the Insect headbands and collect the animal headbands. Children listened to the music and walk, and when the music stopped, teacher will shout an insect’s name, then children whose “belongs” to it are required to get in the ”insects” habitats, as well as the rules they used to play before. But in this round, teacher will start to collect one hula hoop away after the first and the fourth round, In order to give this activity more excitement. Those could not get in the hula hoops need to state a kind of insects without repetition.
In the third round, both “Animals” and “Insects” headbands will be distribute to the children. The hula hoops will be deduced from 8 to 6. Alike to the two stages before, teacher will state a name of animals or insects, and the related “Animals” or ”insects” need to try their best to get in their habitats. Those who cannot get in or go to the wrong habitats will be require to state one difference between animals and insects.
After the activity, children will be divided into 4 groups, and have a 3 minutes discussion about what they have learnt, and at last teacher will help them summarise their points and make a simple conclusion.
To be play a good role of teacher, reflections are indispensable. Through this activity, children can learn knowledges in the progress gradually. The 3 levels of this activity are start from identifying “Animals” in the beginning, ”Insects” in the middle and both at last, it helps children to think in a more organised way, and more familiar to the differences between the two kinds of species, so as the result, they will not get lost easily.
Also, it gives children chances to interact with others. In the last part of the activity, children can discuss in a small group, sharing what do they think and their feelings to other children, which is good for them to know others perspective and to reduce the problem of self-centred.
Besides, the activity are mainly run by movements, so children can increase their muscle activity through running, also they can participate more, consequently, to put more attention in the event. Apart from this, there are background musics in the game. In the activity, it could boosts children’s imagination and senses of hearing by listening to the music, and to imagine they are in a forest, in the sea or on a island, which can makes them feel relaxed. Also, the event requires the sense of hearing of children. They need to listen very concentratively about when will the music stop, and to act immediately. In the result, it can also help children’s sensory development.
Moreover, teacher should let children explore new things through the activity, not only by direct teaching. In this part, this activity is quite favourable, it teaches children some knowledge about the two species and gives children space to discuss at the last, so children can have better impression of what they have said, in order to help them assimilate new experiences by themselves but based on some knowledges.
However, there are still some mistakes in this activity, such as the problem of not having enough spaces might happen. Sometimes, the room in the kindergarten is not big enough for children to make such big movement, thence this activity might not be suitable in all kindergartens. Other than that, the activity might have potential risks in it. The activity requires movement, especially when the music stopped and children need to get in the hula hoops as fast as they can. In the process, part of the children will probably rush into the hula hoops, collide with others and get injured. Although the activity is fun for them, these risks are also cannot be underestimated.
In conclusion, teacher should design activities that can let children learn knowledges through playing, but at the same time teacher should be considerable to the children’s safety and the problem of the site. Among all these points, teacher should be careful while designing other activities next time.