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Children Solving Problems, Paperback / softback Book

Children Solving Problems Paperback / softback

Part of the The Developing Child series

Paperback / softback


A one-year-old attempting to build a tower of blocks may bring the pile crashing down, yet her five-year-old sister accomplishes this task with ease.

Why do young children have difficulty with problems that present no real challenge to older children?

How do problem-solving skills develop? In Children Solving Problems, Stephanie Thornton surveys recent research from a broad range of perspectives in order to explore this important question. What Thornton finds may come as a surprise: successful problem-solving depends less on how smart we are-or, as the pioneering psychologist Jean Piaget claimed, how advanced our skill in logical reasoning is-and more on the factual knowledge we acquire as we learn and interpret cues from the world around us. Problem-solving skills evolve through experience and dynamic interaction with a problem.

But equally important-as the Russian psychologist L.

S. Vygotsky proposed-is social interaction. Successful problem-solving is a social process. Sharing problem-solving tasks-with skilled adults and with other children-is vital to a child's growth in expertise and confidence.

In problem-solving, confidence can be more important than skill. In a real sense, problem-solving lies at the heart of what we mean by intelligence.

The ability to identify a goal, to work out how to achieve it, and to carry out that plan is the essence of every intelligent activity.

Could it be, Thornton suggests, that problem-solving processes provide the fundamental machinery for cognitive development?

In Children Solving Problems she synthesizes the dramatic insights and findings of post-Piagetian research and sets the agenda for the next stage in understanding the varied phenomena of children's problem-solving.




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