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Cognitive Development and Cognitive Views of Learning - Essay Example

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Interaction with the environment creates a child's world. Early moral reasoning is, according to Piaget, a developmental process. Reasoning determines behavior, and Piaget's preconventional level of behavior involves an "egocentric point of view." Fear of punishment and desire for rewards are factors that determine a child's behavior from 2 to 7 years old…
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Cognitive Development and Cognitive Views of Learning
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Cognitive Development and Cognitive Views of Learning

Download file to see previous pages... Children in the concrete operational stage of development accept the rules and seldom deliberately move outside them. According to Piaget's theory, children from age 7 to 11 move from preconventional to concrete operational where these children have experienced interaction with others in a school setting and have begun to care what others think about them.
Children in the 7-11 age group have the most potential for establishing a positive moral behavioral base. Morality becomes an issue for this age group because this is a time when children move from how a situation will affect them personally to how their behavioral choices will affect someone else. However, throughout this stage, conflicts occur that create moral dilemmas and children in this age group are influenced by so many ideas about what is or is not moral that it is easy for them to make some wrong choices. It is important for a teacher to stress the fact that it is all right to make mistakes because that is how we learn. It is the positive or negative result of the choice made that will help them determine right or wrong in future dilemmas. In other words, they first learn the rules, then how the rules affect behavior, and finally, whether trying to follow the rules might create a moral dilemma while breaking the rule would seem to be the proper choice.
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One problem with trying to teach morality in the classroom is that different children have different concepts of the rules of behavior when it comes to moral issues. However, by creating different moral dilemmas and setting up discussion groups within a classroom, individual students can present a dilemma and its possible resolution, and other students can debate or accept the resolution. The result of this is that the class can establish a moral code of behavior that they can accept. Once that has been accomplished, a further situation could be presented through a children's book that discusses morality, such as The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault (1993) newly translated by Neil Philip and Nicoletta Simborowski from Perrault's original collection, or in a book such as The Children's Book of Virtues (1995) by William Bennett. Bennett offers what he considers conventional role models for young people while the fairy tales present characters with debatable morals that can generate discussion within a group. Over the years, well-known fairy tales have evolved into versions that are influenced by changing moral concerns within society. In keeping with today's moral breakdown, Sleeping Beauty's story in its original format doesn't end when the prince awakens her. In a passage from Marjorie Allen's discussion of the translation (1999) her life continues:
She marries him in secret and has two children-a boy and a girl. But she and the prince do not live happily ever after as king and queen, at least not for quite some time, because the queen mother happens to be part ogre ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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