The primary focus of this paper is to connect the theories of Piaget to the case study presented. This paper will also examine proper teaching strategies and techniques to be applied inside the classroom.
The Case and Introduction In the case study labeled, The Book Report, Mr. Johnson a high school American Government teacher has assigned his students to read two books about “anything to do with government or political systems,” and to write a report about each book. During the semester, one student, Cindy, chose to read Animal Farm and 1984. This student wrote her reports, which were, “insightful and reflected the symbolism contained in the novels.” She finished her assignment on time. Her friend Lucy, however, waited until the last moment and wanted a “skinny book” to read. She accepted her friends offer to read Animal Farm. The day before the first report was due, however, Lucy could not make the connection between the book and its government/political ties. She was surprised that Cindy suggested this book and when asking Cindy why she suggested it, Cindy couldn’t believe that her friend didn’t understand the symbolism represented. Due to multiple students operating at different stages of cognitive development, teachers should assign high school students books and reports similar to the students’ stage of development as purposed by Piaget. There are multiple ways to assign books and reports based off of a student’s stage of development. Some techniques and strategies are; selecting books that are age appropriate, requiring students to submit parts of an assignment before the final report and using a visual sample and proper instructions. Stages and selecting books that are age appropriate Piaget’s stages of development are separated into 4 categories. They are listed and defined below.
The first stage is the sensorimotor stage. (0-2 years) This is the self-discovery stage. Children begin to use their senses, imitating, developing memory and intellectual abilities. The second stage is the preoperational stage. (2-7 years) During this stage, children develop the use of language and begin to think in symbolic form. At this stage, children can’t comprehend the viewpoints of others. There are also two sub-stages within this stage. 1) Symbolic function. This is where the child gains the ability to draw and object. 2) Intuitive thought. This is where the child uses reasoning and wants questions answered such as the ever famous, ‘why’ question. The third stage is the concrete operational stage. (7-11 years) In this stage, children replace intuitive thoughts with logical reasoning. Children understand the law of conservations and are able to classify objects. In the fourth and final stage, formal operational (11 years to adult), children solve problems with a more abstract thinking process. This includes the ability to imagine and idealize all sorts of possibilities and to question what is said.
In connection to the thesis and case study above, Mr. Johnson should have provided a list of books to his students. Providing a list of books for students helps alleviate multiple problems from the start. Students armed with a list of books will be more likely to select a book that peaks their own interests. This list must only include books that the teacher has read and is familiar with. A list also serves as a guide to the types of books a high school student should be reading, and there is so much information available about governments and political systems that a list will help narrow down the information.
For children, having the responsibility to make your own decisions is a part of growing older. By providing a list of multiple leveled books to students that the teacher has read and is familiar with, students are able to select books that they enjoy reading and is at their cognitive functioning level. Teachers such as Mr. Johnson should