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Conservation tasks used by Piaget, James Mc Garrigle and Margaret Donaldson - Essay Example

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Summary to essay on topic "Conservation tasks used by Piaget, James Mc Garrigle and Margaret Donaldson"
This study involved experimenting with children in the age group of 4-6 years using the exact procedure used by Jean Piaget and the one described by (McGarrigle and Donaldson, 1975). The study was undertaken to compare the tasks used by Piaget and McGarrigle and Donaldson to determine conservation in children in the afore mentioned age groups…
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Download file "Conservation tasks used by Piaget, James Mc Garrigle and Margaret Donaldson" to see previous pages... The results suggest that whether children conserve or not does not depend on either of the two tasks used but rather on their mastery of identity.
This study aims at exploring Piaget's Task on conservation in children and critically evaluating it in the light of the more recent procedure described by (McGarrigle and Donaldson,
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1975). Conservation is defined as the realization that number of items, measure or length is not related to arrangement or look of the objects or items. An examle is when a child is presented with a glass full of water, will they be able to deduct that if that same water is transferred to a broader but plumper cup, then will it conserve the quantity and be the same Piaget argues that during the early childhood stage (below 6 years), children's ability to perform logical mental operations is inadequate. In his research, Piaget identified four stages in cognitive development namely; Sensorimotor stage (Infancy), Pre-operational stage(2-7 years), Concrete operational stage (7-11 years) and Formal operational stage (Adolescence through adulthood). ...
Children in pre operational stage fail the the test of conservation because their thinking process does not comprehend the three principles of reversibility, compensation and identity. This has been interpreted to mean that before certain ages children are not able to perceive things in certain ways. The theories have found wide usage especially in developing school curricula, however other psychologists have disagreed with them. They have argued that conservation tasks do not necessarily reveal an essential limitation in the child's appreciation of quantity. Below are some of the arguments as to why children may fail to conserve:
That the subjects may be distracted by the procedure.
They may think that the experimenter wants them to answer in a certain way especially if the question is repeated.
That the child may forget if the experimenter interfered with the information stored in Short Term Memory. Porpodas (1987).
The children may not understand the relational terms.
That the conservation task being artificial would normally make no sense to a child.
Lenz (2003) argues that Piaget does not take into account matters of simplicity or complexity of the task and that if a task is simple enough the child may perform correctly but if complex, even an older child may make pre-operational mistakes. Indeed, in an effort to illustrate that children younger than in Piaget's typical age can conserve, many researchers have modified Piaget's original procedure. For instance McGarrigle and Donaldson (1975) assert that if the transformation is bought about accidentally then the number of 5-6 year olds conserving will go up.
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