Jean Piaget

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Jean Piaget was a theorist who studied child development; one of the many aspects of early childhood Piaget studied was preoperational thinking. Preoperational thinking usually occurs from ages 2 through 7 according to Piaget. It’s when a child is not able to think logically and perform activities that require logic. In other words, a child is not yet ready at this stage, to reason many situations. Piaget created many experiments that could help educators observe and detect the stages and levels of thinking of different children.

For this observation, I focused on four aspects of preoperational thinking; conservation, centration, irreversible thinking, and focus on appearance. Piaget developed a set of tests for children that if failed, would demonstrate a child’s inability to think logically at their age. I observed six year old Breanna Nixon who demonstrated signs of both the preoperational stage (not being able to understand concrete logic) and the concrete operational stage (inductive logic).

The first experiment I did with Breanna tested her irreversible thinking, which is the inability to hold the logic to understand that reversing a procedure will restore it to the original state in which it begun, “Preoperational thinkers fail to recognize that reversing a process sometimes restores whatever excised before”. (Berger, 2009, p. 250) In this experiment, I presented Breanna with two equal sized cups of water with the same amount of water in each. I then asked, ‘Breanna, are these cups equal? Do they have the same amount of water?” Breanna said yes after she checked the cups and we proceeded to the next question. I showed her a taller glass and asked, “Can you pour one of these cups into this one?” She poured one of the cups into the taller glass and then I asked “Now what do you think? Does this cup have more water? (The smaller glass) Or does this one have more water? (The taller glass) Or do they hold the same about of water?” Breanna quickly said,...
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