Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Learning: learning is acquiring the ability to establish relationships between signs, symptoms or symbols and objects. This also includes e.g. recognition and recollection of patterns, similarities, sensory perceptions, self-perception, etc. In the ideal case, the ability to apply generalizations to future cases is acquired while learning. See also knowledge, knowledge-how, competence.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Jean Piaget on Learning - Dictionary of Arguments

Upton I 97
Learning/Piaget/Upton: Vygotsky (1962/1978)(1) believed that a child can be taught anything as long as the activity falls within the child’s ZPD ( >Terminology/Vygotsky). The teacher’s role is therefore to provide direct instruction. In one sense, Piaget and Vygotsky are both arguing for readiness to learn. However, the important difference is that for Piaget development leads to learning, while for Vygotsky learning results in development.
If Vygotsky is right, could it be possible to teach a skill such as conservation to children who are not yet at the operational stage of development? Indeed, there is evidence that three- and four-year-old preschoolers who are not yet able to conserve can be taught this skill (Field, 1981)(2).
VsPiaget: The short-term nature of the conservation shown by the younger children suggests that they had not actually learned a new thinking skill, but had simply rote learned the ‘correct’ answers. By the time of retesting, they had forgotten what the answers were. This is further evidenced by the finding that the children who retained the ability to conserve were those who had shown that they could generalise their conservation skills to untrained quantities. This suggests that Vygotsky was right – new ways of thinking can be taught, but a child has to be ready to learn those skills.

1. Vygotsky, LS (1930/1978) Mind in Society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
2. Field, D (1981) Can preschool children really learn to conserve? Child Development, 52: 326–34.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Piag I
J. Piaget
The Psychology Of The Child 2nd Edition 1969

Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011

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