Educational Principles

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Educational Principles and Piaget’s Limitations of Preoperational Thought Cathleen Barney
Excelsior College


Jean Piaget’s theories continue to have a major impact on both teacher training and classroom practices. This essay will discuss the three educational principles derived from his theory and also discuss the limitations of preoperational thought from his point of view. The first educational principle is discovery learning. In this principle, children are encouraged to discover things for themselves by interacting with the environment (Berk, 2010). Teachers provide them with things that will promote development thru their imagination and exploration. By providing a variety of materials like art supplies, books, building blocks, musical instruments and more, teachers are offering opportunities to widen their creativity and enhance their learning (Berk, 2010). Through their exploring and thinking students are taking on an active role in their learning and knowledge building. According to Castronova (n.d), “Piaget was the first to show that children were not “empty vessels” to be filled with knowledge, but active builders of knowledge.” With our current access to so much on the internet and through technology, there are many more opportunities for teachers to introduce children to discovery learning. Another principle is sensitivity to children’s readiness to learn. In this theory, teachers introduce new activities that build on their current skills while challenging their incorrect ways and allowing them to practice those new skills. They do not push them before they are ready (Berk, 2010). It is ok to allow children to experiment and search out answers for themselves. Teachers should assess and identify a child’s strengths and weaknesses. This is where Piaget saw the teachers as facilitators and there to guide the students (Ginn, n.d). Children need to...