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Unformatted text preview: g to themselves or others. If there is
only one point of view, which is the child’s, there is no need to justify this point
of view to others. Perhaps this is why young children are comfortable answering
“why” questions with “just because” or a shrug of the shoulder. From a Piagetian
perspective, they don’t feel compelled to have an explanation.
Centration is the tendency of preoperational children to limit their
perception to one aspect of a complicated stimulus rather than to all aspects of the
stimulus (Craig, 1999). When children are able to consider multiple aspects of a
stimulus they are able to decenter. For example, a preoperational child may pick a
tall skinny glass as having more water in it than a shorter and wider glass, even 14 though the same amount of liquid has been poured into each glass. They center or
focus only on the height of the water in the glass, rather than also considering the
shapes of the glasses.
The Stage of Concrete Operations
The stage of concrete operations begins at the end of the preoperational
stage and continues at least to age twelve and perhaps longer. You may notice that
the prefix “pre” is now removed. Children in this stage are operational which
means they are less susceptible to egocentrism, irreversibility, and centration in
their thought. The descriptor concrete has been added to help define the types of
operations that are available. Concrete operations are those mental actions that
operate on physical objects, and are how the child comes to understand the nature
of physical reality. (Piaget & Inhelder, 1969). Conservation, seriation, and
classification are important examples of these concrete operations.
Conservation. Conservation is children’s understanding that quantity is
unrelated to the arrangement and/or physical appearance of an object (Feldman,
2000; Shimoff, 1998). With a conservation task, the appearance of a task situation
is changed, but the amount or quantity of the object remains constant. Children
who can conserve understand that a change in appearance does not necessarily
change the amount. Table 5.2 provides some examples of different conservation
tasks. As you can see from Table 5.2, conservation tasks are classified in terms of
the quantity or amount that does not change. For example, a conservation of 15 number task is one in which the physical stimulus changes appearance, but the
number of objects remains unchanged. A conservation of length task is one in
which appearances change but length does not change.
(Insert Table 5.2 About Here.)
According to Piaget, the best criteria for determining if children are
concrete operational is how they perform on conservation tasks (Fraisse & Piaget,
1963). To be considered concrete operational, children must immediately
recognize that the change in appearance has not changed quantity or amount, and
they must also use one or more of the following operations to support their
judgment (Fraisse & Piaget, 1963). The first of these operations or...
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This document was uploaded on 03/29/2014 for the course EPS 324 at N. Arizona.
- Spring '08