Turns out, cognitive growth isn’t linear. What does this mean, for parents and teachers?

Because growth implies change, and change implies forward motion, it’s quite common (and sensical!) to assume then that cognitive growth is linear, that is, happens in a steady upward slope. Indeed, commonly known traditional stage-theories like Piaget’s ubiquitous theory of cognition and it’s development rest on the premise of invariant progress, such that once you move into a new stage you do not regress back to the old way of thinking. While this idea makes sense, we have to consider whether it is correct, because if it’s wrong then we need to adjust how we interact with young children when their behavior appears to be “mature” one day, and “immature the next.” In the chapters that comprise Part III, student-authors share a very important update to the notion of linearity, and offer suggestions for how parents and educators can adjust, in light of what modern research suggests regarding the natural shape of change.

To develop their essays, students responded to one of the following prompts:

The secret to compliance is to have children “repeat it back,” right?

If kids have done it well and right once, they do it well and right every time, right?

 

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You Don't Say? Developmental Science Offers Answers to Questions About How Nurture Matters by Erica Kleinknecht, PhD and Pacific University Students in PSY 353: Cognitive Development is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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