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Homework answers / question archive / PURPOSE: The aim of the assignment is to assess learners' knowledge on the theories relevant to child development and how it is related to real life experience

PURPOSE: The aim of the assignment is to assess learners' knowledge on the theories relevant to child development and how it is related to real life experience


PURPOSE: The aim of the assignment is to assess learners' knowledge on the theories relevant to child development and how it is related to real life experience. QUESTION 1: WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT (40 MARKS) For this assignment, you are required to read the article title “Affect of Play on Critical Thinking: What are the Perceptions of Preservice Teachers” from the link below. ritical_Thinking What_are the_Perceptions_of_Preservice_Teachers 1. Write a review of the article and include the objectives of the study, the method used as well as the findings of the study. 2. Elaborate a theory on child development from your module, and you can choose cognitive, social- emotional or physical development. 3. Relate the theory to the finding of the above study. [1]. Looking at the cognitive approach, Lai [5] emphasizes that Abstract- A lot of research suggested that children learn it focuses on how people actually think versus how they through play and their ability to think increases while playing. could or should think under ideal conditions. Critical However it is not clear whether or not preservice teachers are thinking includes a list of skills or procedures performed by aware of the influence of play on thinking. The purpose of the study is to explore the perceptions of preservice teachers on the critical thinker (5) affect of play on critical thinking, and how they perceive the Bloom taxonomy is the base for educational approach to current curriculum in terms of helping children to be critical critical thinking. The benefit of educational approach, thinkers. Interviews were conducted to two informants who are according to Lai [5] that, it based on observation and still studying in the Early Childhood Studies program in a private university in Klang Valley. The data was transcribed experiences of student learning. However, it has not been and coded and a few themes emerged from the transcriptions tested in depth as the philosophical and psychological and coding processes. Findings suggested that those preservice approach [5]. teachers are sentient of the importance of play in cultivating Thinking process begins even before a child was born and critical thinking skills in children. They agreed that children the cognitive functioning of a child changes greatly from learn through play and they construct knowledge while playing childhood to adolescence through social and intellectual activities. During social interactions, assumptions about Index Terms-Critical thinking, children, learn trough play, preservice teachers, qualitative method. others' thoughts guide children's actions and frame their interpretations of others' actions. Children also form concepts of the nature of knowledge that contributes to the I. INTRODUCTION abilities to reflect on one's thought processes and evaluate From early childhood through adolescence, children's the reasoning of others, which also known as critical thinking cognitive functioning changes greatly. Social and intellectual activities need a great deal of cognitive functioning. During the world. By as early as age 3, children understand that Children begin thinking and learning as soon as they enter children's actions and frame their interpretations of other people sometimes communicate inaccurate information and that some individuals are more reliable sources than others actions. Children also form concepts of the nature of knowledge that contributes to the abilities to reflect on one's [3]. By 4 or 5 years of age, children also understand beliefs as thought processes and evaluate the reasoning of others [1]. representations that may be true or false [1]. Moreover, These abilities are important for critical thinking. Then the according to Pillow (1), although critical thinking curriculum question is what is critical thinking? Critical thinking is the is seldom included for preschool children, children are found ability to make sound decision and problem solving [2]. A to be able to think critically when the interact with their peers key component of critical thinking is the ability to evaluate and adults [1] the statements of other people [3]. Furthermore, one of the One of the ways to develop critical thinking skills is basic concepts of critical thinking being able to understand or through play. This is evidence through a research done by figure out what the problem (or conflict, contradiction) is and Holmes, Liden and Shin (6) who found that children's to direct thinking to the specific purpose of solving the thinking styles has the influence on play and academic problem (4) performance. Play is a way of doing things and considered as A research done by Lai [5] suggested that there are a few children's work [7]. Play is meaningful experience and it is definitions of critical thinking based on various perspectives. also tremendously satisfying for children, a pursuit they seek According to her, in the philosophical approach, as out eagerly, and one they find endlessly absorbing (8). Hewes philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Matthew [8] also found that play develops the foundation of Lipman and Richard Paul, has focuses on hypothetical intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary approach of critical thinkers, itemising a qualities and for success in school and in life. Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) characteristics of a person, rather than behaviour or actions. identified play as a leading source of development in terms of They also focus on the qualities or standards of thoughts, for emotional, social, physical, language and cognitive. Recent example, a good thinking should meet specified criteria or scientific community also has recognise the benefits of play standards of adequacy and accuracy [5]. through exploration, experimentation and experiences can influence and advanced children's thinking skills, problem solving and language development [9] Manuscript received May 21, 2014; revised July 23, 2014 Wirawani binti Kamarulzaman is with the Department of Early Childhood Furthermore, children use play to actively construct Studies, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (email: knowledge, meet social/emotional needs and acquire skills [10]. This is congruent with research done by Jones and II. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Reynolds [11] who suggested that young children learn the The underlying theoretical framework under study is Lev most important things not by being told but by constructing Vygotsky (1935/1978) theory of Cognitive Development. He knowledge themselves in interaction with the physical world highlighted that socio-cultural context of cognitive and with other children - and the way they do this is by development interacts with the brain's biological maturation playing." (p. 1). [15). According to Vygotsky, external world models the The below Table I simplify some of the things that children mind and knowledge is internalization of social activity. He leam through play believed that cognitive development is a process where children's mental ability is enhanced by mediation that is the TABLET WHAT CHILDREN LEARN THROUGH PLAY tools within organized social activities and language as the When children They learn cultural form of mediation to developed high mental Smile and coo at people How to engage others in interaction Shakea ratke Their actions produce results processes. Fig. 1 illustrates the process. Throw toys on the floor Principals of gravity cause and effect Look at picture books Pictures toposent real objects Rollball How to gain control of musks Build with blocks Concepts of size, weight, symmetry, number and balance mask santral and sendination Mental Higher Source: what young children leam through play, Brotherson. [12] ability Mediation mental processes Moreover, Gordon (13) suggested that play encourages support among children and direct higher confidence level Hewes [8] found that the intimacy and joy of friendship as children explore their own emerging identity creates self-directedness, and thus play leads to feelings of Fig. 1. Mental process competence and self-confidence However, meaningful learning can only be achieved through teachers and parents Vygotsky suggested that children with certain mental guides and scaffolding as Vygotsky proposed. A skilful ability, who could not solve any given problem due to his teacher of young children is important to make play possible biological maturation, can actually solve the problem through and helps children keep getting better and better at [8]. Proper interaction with other peers or adults and thus leads to higher toys and learning environment should be prepared prior to mental processes [15] children's learning through play [10]. McBride and Cleland [14] found that students of high schools were resistance to learner-centred modes of III. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY instructions when previously have been passively receives 4. Participants and Sampling Method information from teacher-centred modes of instructions They believed that critical thinking skills and experiences Two preservice teachers who are still studying in their should be taught to students in early years to prevent such second year in the Early Childhood Studies program were problem [14]. Therefore, it is crucial to expose students to the employed as the informants for the study skills in during early childhood and teachers are the main Purposive sampling method was employed in recruiting agents to cultivate such skills in students. Since Malaysia is the informants. The power and logic of purposive sampling upgrading its preschool teachers' competency, a lot of lies on the selecting information-rich cases so that the study diploma and degree in early childhood studies is offered in could be done in depth [16]. the public and private colleges and universities. These B. Design preservice preschool teachers are trained teachers and Interview guide approach was the form of interview expected to deliver what is learned in the tertiary level into approach used in the study. The approach suggested that the practice once they are put into service in preschools and interviewer has an outline of topics or issue to be covered but kindergartens. However before the preschool teachers could is free to vary the wordings and order of the questions to encourage critical thinking ability of children, their some extent [17]. Semi-structured interview for in depth perceptions on how learning should occur in pre-school information was done for 30 to 45 minutes. Probing was done environment ought to be looked at. Therefore, the purpose of again and again to make sure saturation level met this study is to explore the perceptions of preservice teachers on the affect of play on critical thinking ability of children C Data Collection and also their perceptions on the curriculum available for Data was collected from the answers to interview preschool children, that is to what extent the curriculum is questions (10) which were derived from each research helping teachers to teach and children to think. The research question (RO) as follows: question that is intended to be answered is: 1) What are some of the activities that can build critical 1) What are the perceptions of preservice teachers on the thinking? affect of play to critical thinking? 2) How can play cultivate critical thinking in children? 2) What are the perceptions of pre-service teachers on the 3) How play influence critical thinking? preschool curriculum? 4) What makes children think when they are playing? 5) How the curriculum in NPCS contributes to critical know thinking in children? 6) Do you think that the guidelines help children to think? that young children leam the most important things not As this in line with a proposition by Jones and Reynolds How? Why? by being told but by constructing knowledge for themselves D. Data Analysis in interaction with the physical world and with other children In the present study, the qualitative data analysis process and the way they do this is by playing."(p.1). Another study was carried out in 5 steps. The recorded interviews were also suggested that play develops the foundation of firstly transcribed verbatim. Then the main ideas were pulled intellectual, social, physical and emotional skills necessary out from the transcriptions. Subthemes were then developed for success in school and in life [8]. Play also encourages from the main ideas and themes were recognized from the exploration. As Informant I alleged: subthemes. The final step was to gather the inter-rater "And when they play, they will enjoy, and they will explore reliability measure. Generating themes is the most difficult, and that's when they learn and to be think more and complex and ambiguous task but at the same time it can also leads to critical thinking." be creative and fun [17]. The author can be proud after the process since the data is owned by the author herself from her When children explore they will build the skill of own intellectual work! contrasting and comparing which are the characteristics of In order to ensure the trustworthiness of the data, a few critical thinking as mentioned in first research question. randomly selected themes were given to two raters to check C Interaction their consistency. Selected pools of themes with the interview questions and discourse units were sent for Play also promotes interaction among children and adults. Play teaches children to deal with friends. Dealing involves inter-rater reliability check. The raters were selected based on their knowledge content of the research and their experiences speaking and playing appropriately with their friends. Thus, working with children. It was found that the score for they are learning about good and bad things in friendship inter-rater check in the study is 73.7% indicates that the "For example if they're playing with friends, their social themes are fairly credible and trustworthy to suggest devdopment may be developed, they will think they will findings. learn how to speak Gordon [13] suggested that play encourages support IV. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION among children and direct higher confidence level. Hewes [8] found that the intimacy and joy of friendship as children A few themes emerged from the interview. Analysis of the explore their own emerging identity creates self-directedness, interview revealed the findings below. and thus play leads to feelings of competence and 4. Free Play self-confidence However, a skilful teacher of young children The first theme that appears was free play. The study is important to make play possible and helps children keep suggested that free play may enhance critical thinking. The getting better and better at it [8]. participant mentioned it again and again on the space and D. Play is Children's Work freedom to play for children in order to make them critical Play in addition found to be the children's work as they thinkers: spend much of their time playing. Play to children is a fun thing. Informant I also included watching TV as fun and she "Hmm..some free, maybe free play or free. let them, I considered that as play, or passive play. She claimed the think it's the space for them (children] is very important the ability of children to think critically when they compare the space I mean it's far they can think scenes in the TV with their real life. One of the effects of not giving children the space to think, "Cause this play this very big part of their lives, they play they would eventually develop the sense of accepting what every time for them everything is playing cause they don't their teachers say. When children just accept blindly without know what is learning also, so what you reach them, questioning their development of critical thinking is slowed they they just learn even like storytelling for them is like down [18] playing watching television is like something fun bir B. Learn Through Play those ama...that I mean like nor TV Play is meaningful experience. It is also tremendously program that is not beneficial for learning bur TV programs satisfying for children, a pursuit they seck out cagerly, and that beneficial for learning for them is something. it's a one they find endlessly absorbing (8]. The study found that game also, it's fun so they will learn, they will like, when they children develop critical thinking ability through play. Play, watch also, they will compare, what's there. what they're according to the informant, constructs knowledge although watching and what's happening with their real life then they will compare, maybe they will ask questions when they're, children could not express their knowledge that their gained through playing yet children are learning through play. they're asking questions, they are more a critical thinker" "Because when they play they actually aw..construct This is unswerving to a study which proposed that play is knowledge...they can learn a lot of things from play but found to be spontaneous to children. Children have the right even...even though it's not expressed our but then they will to leisure, play and participation in cultural and artistic activities (13) it's actually based on the teacher's experience, the teacher's E interest knowledge." Finally the study found that the interest that children have Among the activities that would enhance critical thinking while playing initiate thinking in them. ability is differentiation. Since one of the characteristics of critical thinking is the ability to find similarities and "Children like to play, so when they play. they will differences between things, therefore, when children can engaged in the activity so they will if they're engaged, then differentiate texture, for example, between raw potato and they will think laa." cooked potato, critical thinking is developed. Being interested is shown by paying full attention and their "Science activities, you need to compare a lor, engagement in their playing activities. Since they are giving like ...before and after, for example potato." so much interest in their play, it is directly link with thinking ability hence critical thinking can be better. "Before it cooked. I mean it's when it's the potato is raw, and when it's cooked, the texture is different, so when they E. Teaching Methods touch it, they will know." Curriculum as the education guideline is found to be helping teachers in teaching method. The standard guideline for Malaysia preschools is the National Preschool V. TRANSFERABILITY Curriculum Standard (NPCS). However, some of preschools Transferability is defined as the degree to which the are not adopting the curriculum as mentioned by one of the findings are applicable or useful to theory, practice and future participants below research [19]. It is found that the current study could be "Aaa...yes, because there are a lot of activities and applied to the proposed theory mentioned earlier. The it...covers actually almost every aspect of the...what children proposed theoretical framework suggested that cognitive have to learn but the problem is most of the preschools are development is a process where children's mental ability is no...following thar." enhanced by mediation; that is the tools within organized social activities and language as the cultural form of Thus, it was found that the relationship between NPSC and mediation, to developed high mental processes [15] (Fig. 2). children's thinking is vague. "But the preschools are the ones who are not really helping...cause some they don't really quite follow the NPCS" As stated above, curriculum provides guidelines for Mental Higher teachers. Some of the activities are play-based, project-based ability Mediation mental and inquiry-based processes "Cause the guideline says it it's supposed to be like play-based, very project based, inquiry they have to do inquiry, they query, they have to find out things (DU 2-88)." Moreover, the guidelines help teachers to prepare their lessons well. Teachers need to use the guidelines to be Fig2. Mental proces effective in teaching yet no direct teaching should involved in Transferability of themes to the theory (Fig. 3). teaching the preschoolers. As previously mentioned, direct teaching is one of the challenges to critical thinking. In addition, the curriculum is only helping teachers to develop lesson plans that are suitable for critical thinking development but it does not help critical thinking skill in Knowledge and children directly, teachers need to be the effective mediators Experiences Sell for the curriculum to be considered as assisting children to be Young age Environment SES, Post critical thinkers Atticides, Play "The guidelines is to help educators to plan activities, nor helping the children to be critical thinker." Teachers need to know the children's appropriate development and ways to be successful in teaching children Fig. 3. Transfertility of themes into mental process to be critical thinkers This is apparent that through social activities, that are "Teacher is more important because if the teachers have interaction with adults and through play, children's critical the right way to teach and the teachers know the milestone, ability is enhanced. Play is found to construct knowledge and all the development milestones, know what to reach the as children spend much of their time playing, and that play children, then they will meet eventually meet the guidelines, becomes their work, they are building knowledge through exploration, experiences and experiments, It is hoped that this study may help teachers to improve Environmental issues such as freedom and space to play their understanding on the needs of their students. also leads to critical thinking development. Positive attitudes Curriculum and teaching pedagogy may be enhanced to of teachers who are supportive and initiation of suitable create better learning environment and cultivating critical environment which involves the use of language as the thinking ability cultural form of mediation also directs to critical thinking. Finally, this study would fill in the gap in the literatures All of these mediators have contributed much in critical through qualitative approach. It will provide in depth analysis thinking ability in children where the current study found as and insight of pre-service teachers on children's critical ability based on skill and value. Besides, children learn to thinking ability identify consequences and have their own opinions when they are able to think critically VIL IMPLICATION FOR FUTURE RESEARCH It is found that children at pre-school age are able to think VL. CONCLUSION critically. However, environment may shape further The study explores the perception of preservice teachers development. Lack of freedom and direct teaching, as found on influence of play on the critical thinking ability of children in the study, indicated some barriers to critical thinking The issue that brought upon the exploration is because a lot of development. research found that children are critical thinkers and they Therefore, it is hoped that future research would put in learn through play. However before the preschool teachers more in depth exploration on factors that deters critical could encourage critical thinking ability of children, their thinking development in children so that social ills and other perceptions on how learning should occur in pre-school social problem such as suicide could be managed better. environment ought to be looked at. Therefore it is crucial to In addition to that, future research may recruit informants know the perception of preservice teachers on the affect of who are much closer to children that pre-service teachers play on children's thinking so that they will be able to put who not yet have fully encountered with children. Perhaps more hands-on activities and play to enhance critical thinking in-service teachers would be a better choice for more ability and how they perceive the national curriculum on its evocative data. potentialities to help children to think critically Lastly, the current study found that play has a strong affect The study employed two pre-service teachers who are still on critical thinking. Hence, future research may explore the studying in their second year of bachelor degree program in kinds of teaching pedagogy that could be best adopted in Early Childhood Studies. The study was conducted in schools to improve child-centeredness thus development of private university in Klang Valley which took 20 to 30 critical thinking ability could be improved. minutes on interview session cach. Transcription was done after the interview. The verbatim REFERENCES was coded and themes were generated from the data. U S. Chem. B. Mulgrew, and PM Grant. "A clustering technique for Inter-rater reliability score of 73.7% which indicate that the digital communication channel qualitation using radial basis function works IEEE Tr Nuwal Newark, vol. 4, PP themes are credible and trustworthy enough to be presented 570-578, July 1993 as reliable for the study. 12) B. H Pallow. Development of children's understanding of cognitive It was found that the participants agreed that children leam activities. The Journal of German Phogyvol. 169, no. 4, pp through play. They also construct knowledge as they play. 1] 2 Mate. The Importance of Applying Critical Thinking to Children Children learn to be critical thinkers through experiences in socialization with others and also supporting environment (4 G D Heyman. Children's critical thinking when leaming from prepared for them by the adults thers. Curi De Psychologica Science, vol. 17, no 5. 344-347.2010 Furthermore, play is considered as children's work as they ) ID Sewer "Critical thinking in young children" Pra Quest spend much of their time to play. Work while playing makes children understand more of the world [6] E R Lai Critical thinking a literature review research report" Play also seems to initiate thinking in children when they 17 R. M. Holmes Slide and L. Shin Children's thinking styles, play Assement and Information Group of Pearson, June, 2011. are interested in what they are playing. This would later leads and academic performance." American Journal of Play, vol. 5, no. 2. to more thinking ability such as reflection, problem solving pp. 219-23% 2003 and decision making which are all considered as critical Learning Developing through Play Aister the early childhood cumicumond thinking skills. 19 B..les "Let the children play: Nature's answer to carly Leaming." Moreover, curriculum was found to be assisting teachers to Early Childhood Lari 2007 create activities that promote critical thinking skills in [10 CMEC meet on play based learning. Ind.). [Online]. Available: hm Publications Lists Publications Attachments/280 children. Teachers should be able to monitor children's play-based learning statement N.pdf development so that proper teaching method and content [11] Toys play and young children action guide (n.d.) [Online]. Available: could be applied. Teachers must not employ direct teaching (12) Elas and G. Rowls The Play the Thing Teachers Roles in toyguides T Guide_web_09.pdf or teacher-centeredness as this approach hampers critical Children's Play 2.Ed. New York: Teachers College Press, 2011 thinking progress. It is important to note that curriculum built [13] S Bothers (2009) What children leam through play. (Online) is for teachers to plan their lesson to inculcate critical Available handed [14] B. G. Gordon (2003). What is playin search of a universal definition thinking in children and curriculum by itself is meaningless 

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