Scaffolding conceptual change in early childhood

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Abstract

The general educational literature draws our attention to the limitations of Piaget's work and presents a number of interesting ideas that science educators and researchers could consider. Of interest are Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky's writings on the zone of proximal development and the more recent writings of Jerome Bruner on scaffolding. The notion of learning as a a socially constructed process in opposition to the more individualistic orientation of Piaget has challenged much of our educational practice. This paper will briefly explore the basic tenets of constructivism and contrast the theories developed from within this paradigm to the work of Vygotsky and Bruner through an analysis of classroom discourse collected from a number of early childhood classes involved in the interactive teaching approach to science. Transcripts of teacher-child discourse are presented as evidence to support the proposition that when the teacher's role is not clearly defined, the range of teacher-child interactions will vary enormously, and the subsequent learning outcomes for children will be quite different.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-123
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Science Education
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1990

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