Applying Piaget, Vygotsky and Bruner to Real Life

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Piaget's real life applications

1950s, concerns are raused about the IQ of the nation and it is questioned whether this reflects the quality of the educational system.

  • Curriculum is redesigned using Piaget's stages and the idea that children are active learners.
  • This lead to the introduction of things such as, the Nuffield Mathematics Programme (1967).
  • The teachers were required to provide opportunities for the child to discover and learn (discovery learning)
  • Teachers should encourage development of thinking skills specific to their stage of child development; this allowed a suitable cirruculum to be drafted.
  • If an activity is too challenging then a child will not be motivated to complete it.
  • In Nursery, activities should enable assimilation to occur.
  • Activities with older students should use practical projects for concrete examples.
  • Nuffield Science Programme enabled children to operate at the concrete and formal operational stages to practice new skills
  • By working together, children can learn from each other
  • Abstract concepts can be introduced through concrete examples.
  • Open discussion of themes can encourage intellectual development
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Vygotsky's real life applications

  • "Humans learn best in cooperation with other humans"

Tharp and Gallimore (1988)

  • "Teaching consists of assisting performance through the ZPD"
  • The teachers role is to lead by sharing knowledge and experience

Peer tutoring is based on assistive learning, as long as the learner has access to a more capable other, any problem can be solved.

Reciprocal teaching has been used to develop reading skills.

A small group of children read the same text, they are then asked questions about the text. These focus on the content, summarising, clarifying and predicting. It allowes the children to interact with their social environment by seeing other models for comprehension. 

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Vygotsky's real life applications (2)

Collaborative Group Work 

Slavin (1987)

Motivation and intergroup competition is important for learning. Different ideas can be shared so that information is shared, learnt and discussed within thr group, within the ZPD of the whole group. Weaker students will be motivated to understand the views of others.

Blaye et al (1991)

11 year old children were given the task of solving problems in computer games, children worked alone or in pairs. The first attempt success rate was low for both groups, but pairs had more success. In the second attempt, the success rate saw a 20% improvement for those working alone, and a 50% improvement for those working in pairs. In the third attempt, those working alone improved by 30% and those working in pairs improved by 70%. This is because those who share their ideas will learn better as they collabrate. 

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Bruner's real life applications

Children are active problem solvers who are keen to learn and explore. 

The Handover Principle where the child self-regulates is developed in 1983.

Spiral curriculum is Bruner's most significant addition to education. Although age and development limits what can be taught to the child, difficult concepts can be introduced at an early age. As the child ages, the concept is revisited repeatedly, each time in more depth. This acknowleges individual differences in learning.

Scaffolding provides a framework to support the child in their attempts to understand new ideas and complete new tasks, often using the ZPD. Scaffolding can include:

  • Simplfying ideas
  • Providing direction
  • Helping to motivate and encourage the learner
  • Highlighting critical features of the task
  • Demonstrations
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Bruner's real life applications (2)

Moss (1992) identified new skills that the learner is unable to do alone and said that children should be encouraged to use useful strategies and discouraged from ineffective strategies.

The Process of Education (Bruner, 1960/1977), highlights a rang eof issues relevant to educational practices:

  • Readiness for learning
  • Motives for learning
  • Intuitive vs analytical thinking
  • Knowling is process, not a product.

Therefore discovery learning, exploring facts and not memorising them, is a better way to learn.

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