I find myself opposed to the view of knowledge as a passive copy of reality.
- Jean Piaget 1896-1980
How do we learn things? The answers to this age-old question have been examined and analysed by many scientists. There are plenty of prominent theories explaining cognitive development and helping us to understand the foundation of knowledge.
One of the most prominent answers to the question has come from a Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget.
The legacy of Jean Piaget to the world of early childhood education is that he fundamentally altered the view of how a child learns. And a teacher, he believed, was more than a transmitter of knowledge she was also an essential observer and guide to helping children build their own knowledge.
As a university graduate, Swiss-born Piaget got a routine job in Paris standardising Binet-Simon IQ tests, where the emphasis was on children getting the right answers. Piaget observed that many children of the same ages gave the same kinds of incorrect answers. What could be learned from this?
Piaget interviewed many hundreds of children and concluded that children who are allowed to make mistakes often go on to discover their errors and correct them, or find new solutions. In this process, children build their own way of learning. From children's errors, teachers can obtain insights into the child's view of the world and can tell where guidance is needed. They can provide appropriate materials, ask encouraging questions, and allow the child to construct his own knowledge.
Piaget's continued interactions with young children became part of his life-long research. After reading about a child who thought that the sun and moon followed him wherever he went, Piaget wanted to find out if all young children had a similar belief. He found that many did indeed believe this. Piaget went on to explore children's countless "why" questions, such as, "Why is the sun round?" or "Why is grass green?" He concluded that children do not think like adults. Their thought processes have their own distinct order and special logic. Children are not "empty vessels to be filled with knowledge" (as traditional pedagogical theory had it). They are "active builders of knowledge-little scientists who construct their own theories of the world."
Piaget's Four Stages of Development
Sensorimotor Stage: Approximately 0 - 2
Infants gain their earliest understanding of the immediate world through their senses and through their own actions, beginning with simple reflexes, such as sucking and grasping.
Preoperational Stage: Approximately 2 - 6
Young children can use symbols for objects, such as numbers to express quantity and words such as mama, doggie, hat and ball to represent real people and objects.
Concrete Operations: Approximately 6 - 11
School-age children can perform concrete mental operations with symbols-using numbers to add or subtract and organizing objects by their qualities, such as size or color.
Formal Operations: Approximately 11 - adult
Normally developing early adolescents are able to think and reason abstractly, to solve theoretical problems, and answer hypothetical questions.
Albert Einstein once called Piaget’s discoveries of cognitive development as, “so simple only a genius could have thought of it”. As the above shows, Piaget’s theory was born out of observations of children, especially as they were conducting play. When he was analysing the results of the intelligence test, he noticed that young children provide qualitatively different answers to older children.
This suggested to Piaget that younger children are not dumber, since this would be a quantitative position – an older child is smarter with more experience. Instead, the children simply answered differently because they thought of things differently.
At the heart of Piaget’s theory then is the idea that children are born with a basic mental structure, which provides the structure for future learning and knowledge. He saw development as a progressive reorganisation of these mental processes. This came about due to biological maturation, as well as environmental experience.
We are essentially constructing a world around us in which we try to align things that we already know and what we suddenly discover. Through the process, a child develops knowledge and intelligence, which helps him or her to reason and think independently.
For Piaget his work was never just for a closeted coterie of scholars and researcher but had real world application. Piaget was able to put his work in a wider context of importance. He said, “only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual”. Piaget’s theory centres on the idea that children, as little scientists, need to explore, interact with, and experiment in order to gain the information they need to understand their world.
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Let's look at some kinds of loneliness and methods to deal with them.
All by yourself
Many people feel like their soul is being eaten away when they are by themselves. Humans are social creatures so that’s understandable. Let’s see some solutions for this kind of loneliness:
Write to a friend or call them. - Personally, i rarely do this. I enjoy being alone because i find it as a perfect opportunity but sometimes just talking to someone you feel better so it’s a great choice for times in need.
Read/watch something. - Fictional characters are a valid company, no one can convince me otherwise. The best part with movies and especially books is that you forget where you are, who you are and sometimes what you are. I suggest books because it takes longer to finish them but if you watch a series/movie, then you can always go to some fanfiction after.
Hobbies and games - When you’re alone you get the perfect opportunity to focus on yourself. You can improve your skills and learn new things about the areas that interest you.
New skills - You can always learn new things. I think the weirdest or most interesting things that you learn are during these times because you start to wonder.
Lonely around people
Not everyone belongs to a group of friends and i think the society is a little bit too resistant sometimes when newbies try to talk to others. Even if you talk to some people, sometimes you don’t feel like you belong somewhere and that’s understandable.
Look for a friend - by this i don’t mean to go to someone who is near by, just send a quick message to one of your close friends.
Fiction all the way - Maybe i like this because i like drawing and daydreaming a bit too much but if you are an artist of any kind or you want to work/do something in a certain field, thinking about that plan of yours is great. I came up with like over 15 comic ideas and i even developed them in such a way that people can’t believe how complex they become.
Books - I’ll be honest, i always have a book with me. It’s either in my pocket or in my bag but it’s always there. I forgot to take one once and i felt lonely because people were boring so guess who came up with a new scenario that implies a fictional character? Moral of the story, books can make you forget anything, actually, fiction in general can.
Improving skills - I used to carry a notebook with me in high school so i could revise my grammar notes for the language that i was studying at that time. A perfect way to be productive.
One earbud in - I’ll be honest again, i’m very annoyed by poor company so i forget my manners if i get headphones/earphones/earbuds with me and just cover both of my ears but if you want to be polite, have only 1 earbud in. Music is a blessing. Some kind of magic i’m surprised humans managed to come up with.
Go home - Seriously, i think i’ve seen so many people having to be around people who ignored them only because they felt bad to leave. Respect yourself enough to leave my dude.
Talk to someone new - This doesn’t work unless you’re in an environment where there are many people, and not a classroom where chances are that most people know each other.
Go for a walk, get some food. - Time passes quite fast when you do something so find a way to walk around.
I know many people see loneliness as a terrible thing but let’s be honest, it’s a blessing. You get the time to enjoy spending time with yourself or learn/improve some skills. In the long run, that time spent with you/improving your skills will be something you’re grateful for so try to see it as an opportunity.
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