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Piaget on Piaget -- Part 1 (12 minutes)
  • If you are interested in watching the Parts 2-4 of 'Piaget on Piaget', these are also available on youtube.

A brief introduction to Vygotsky's developmental theories (4 minutes)

Task of the week

Complete one of the following tasks:
1. Using toys and games as learning activities (p.132, O"Donnell, et al., 2012)
With your knowledge of Piaget's stages of cognitive development, make a trip to a toy store to examine the developmental appropriateness of the different toys/games on the shelves. Many toys/games will have a suggested age on the package label, but for this activity ignore the age recommendations of manufacturers and choose the level of cognitive development at which each toy/game is most approprate. Ask yourself questions such as: At what age would this toy/game be most interesting? Most fun?
Also examine which mental operations and cognitive skills are required to interact effectively with each toy/game. For instance, does this toy/game stretch and challenge the child's sorting skills? Classification skills? What about operations and knowledge, such as counting, matching, keepting time, vocabulary, labelling objects and pronouncing letters?
See whether you can find toys/games that would be most enjoyable for children of the following four ages: 1, 6, 10, and 15. Explain why.

Reference: O'Donnell, A. M., et al. (2012) Educational Psychology, Wiley, Queensland.

2. Lesson planning: using Piaget and Vygotsky
Design a lesson in your disciplinary area using both the 'developmental lesson model' and the 'workshop model' as described below. Examples of lesson planning using these models will be provided in the tutorial this week.
Comment on the elements (e.g., role of teacher; role of students / peers; role of language, etc.) in both models that may illustrate Piaget and Vygotsky's theories of development and education.
The developmental lesson Model
The developmental lesson model relies primarily on the teacher as the main source of information, if not by lecturing, then as the guide who elicits the information from students. Until recently, this was the predominant lesson format, and it still remains popular, particularly with veteran teachers. In this model, the teacher orchestrates the lesson from the chalkboard through a series of questions and discussions. The teacher typically controls the flow of the lesson and the pace of student learning. When done properly, this format can be effective and engaging for students. Students feel comfortable when they are led, step by step, through a difficult concept. Some teachers misinterpret their role in the presentation of the developmental lesson and simply lecture the students, providing them with little or no opportunity to discover or make meaningful contributions to the lesson.
The workshop model
In the student-centred workshop model, the teacher presents a lesson with four major components:
  • Connection to some previously learned concept;
  • An explicit statement of what is going to be taught and modeling it;
  • Active engagement that allows students to try it out during the lesson;
  • Provision of a link to independent or group work.
As the students work independently or in groups, the teacher circulates among them, providing guidance and encouragement. This is followed by a "share", with the teacher asking individuals or groups to report on their results. The teacher then restates these results to reinforce the aim of the lesson. (Adapted from Posamentier, A. S., Jaye, D., & Krulik, S., 2007)

Posamentier, A. S., Jaye, D., & Krulik, S. (2007) Exemplary Practices for Secondary Math Teachers, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria.

3. What happens when students give a 'wrong' answer? -- Realising the meaning potentials in the seemingly 'wrong' or nonsensical speech of students
Design an interaction on a disciplinary concept / topic with an imagined student.
Picture a situation where the student gives an apparently wrong or illogical answer to your question. Instead of rejecting the answer, ask as many probing questions as necessary to solicit further expansions from the student so as to find out the specific associations the student has with the concept in question. Show the process you would go through so as to transform an incorrect response into a conceptually sound one.
Find a friend who is outside your professional area and put this imaged conversation to test. Reflect on what actually happened. Were you able to effectively listen and bring about change in your friend's understanding?

Instructions (for Grad. Dip. students only):
From Week 2 on, you have been given the option of completing 1 of several weekly tasks. From Week 3 on, in addition to completing your weekly task, you are also encouraged to read and comment on others' writings on Moodle or blog sites. From Week 3 on, I will relinquish the role of the sole feedback provider in our weekly writings. As the tasks get increasingly applied and discipline-based, reading and responding to others, particularly those in your subject areas, will no doubt be very beneficial for your own learning.
You are encouraged to provide feedback to others' tasks either on Moodle or your own blog space.