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Abstract Concept Development in Children

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  1. LEV VYGOTSKY Abstract Concept Development in Children By Leah Dieffenthaller and Madeline Respeliers

  2. Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky • 1896-1934 • Born in “small provincial town” of Byelorussia Republic and raised in Gomel, near Rep of Ukraine • Lev was the second of eight children and was tutored at home • Moscow University in 1913 • Graduated 1917 • He returned to Byelorussia and spent the next seven years teaching language and literature • Opened a psychology “clinic” • Focused on those with learning disabilities • Second Psychoneurological Conference in Leningrad (1924) • His research and writing career only lasted 10 years, until he died of Tuberculosis. • In this period he wrote 180 works and did most of his research at the Institute of Psychology in Moscow and the Ukrainian Psychoneurological Institute in Kharkov.

  3. His Life (cont.) • His work focused on the application of psychology for solving practical problems, especially in the area of education • Reader of Gesell, Werner, and Piaget and with his Marxist beliefs his theory of development revolved around a child’s natural tendencies and social-historical influences • Human behavior must be studied in the social and historical context within which it occurs (sociohistorical development) • Thought and Language (1962) • 1936-1956-BANNED! • Guillermo Blanck (1990) and Alex Kozulin (1986)

  4. Nature vs Nurture Piaget Vygotsky Nature Nurture

  5. Concepts • NOT formed by a quantitative accumulation of associations. • “Qualitatively new type.” • Importance of vocabulary • Concepts are useless without words to direct them.

  6. Spontaneous concepts Self-created concepts, based in real-life events, which lack a connection back to a greater theoretical abstraction of the concept. A child does not become consciously aware of these concepts until late. Scientific concepts A theoretical understanding of a concept, usually based in a taught, verbal definition, which does not make connections from the abstract plane to real life experiences. Most scientific concepts are learned by rote.

  7. Concept formation scientific genuine spontaneous

  8. Stages of Concept Development

  9. Syncretic Heaps

  10. Complexes • Method to the madness • “He no longer mistakes connections between his own impressions for connections between things.”

  11. Associative Complex 2 1 3 • The third concept is related to the first, but not to the second. • Thinking in “families” • Strawberry <- Stop Sign -> Cars • Oxygen <- Tree -> Colors • Romance <- Honeymoon -> Traveling p. 113

  12. Collection Complex 1 • A “collection” of complimentary, elements which are not similar by nature but which together form a set. • Jesus, Mary, Joseph • Dirt, Sun, Grass, Water 2 3 p. 114

  13. Chain Complex 1 2 3 • The third concept is related to the second, but not to the first. • Church -> Bible -> Paper • Tree -> Christmas -> Halloween • Tree -> Tall -> Dan Schmidt p. 115

  14. Diffuse Complex 4 • “A diffuse complex in the child’s mind is a kind of family that has limitless powers to expand by adding more and more individuals to the original group.” 5 10 2 3 1 9 7 6 8 p. 117

  15. Pseudo-concept • A pseudo-concept looks like a complex, but is totally different in origin and structure. • “A complex does not rise above its elements as a concept does.” concept complex

  16. Functional equivalent The pseudo-concept that a child uses to facilitate mutual understanding with adults. This term refers to the fact that while children do not fully develop abstract concepts until later, they are able to have conversations with adults about something like “love” and still both be talking about the same thing and understand each other. Mutual understanding

  17. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Two students were called forth by skeptical curiosity A curiosity which was soon satisfied but led to a new set of questions: If children cannot comprehend abstract concepts then how are they able to believe in and understand the notion of God?

  18. Purpose and Questions • Do drawings help children bridge the gap in expressing their functional equivalents of abstract concepts since it is their lack of vocabulary which is at fault for their inability to form genuine concepts? • Does the age and level of education of an individual have an effect on his or her ability to truly understand abstract concepts, and will an older, more educated person be better at expressing them? • If children are supplied with the vocabulary, will it mature their expression of concepts?

  19. Procedure

  20. Tree

  21. Second Grade Initial

  22. God’s creation Oxygen Colors Houses Cabins Air Habitats for Animals Wood Leaves Tree Branches Food Bark Halloween Christmas Paper Plants Spring Sun Grass Benches Dirt Shade Desks Firewood Big + small trees Skinny Fat Frames Oak Apple Evergreen (Christmas) Trees can make paper Lemon Orange Don’t waste paper because it’s made from trees so they’ll have to make more trees Coconut Walking Banana Pine It gives you air and oxygen Second Grade “Tree” Concept Map It’s a big plant.

  23. Second Grade Final

  24. Fifth Grade Initial

  25. Green Oxygen Nature Paper Root Squirrels Flowers Acorns Pinecone Environment Leaves Tree Seeds Plant Bark Maple Fifth Grade “Tree” Concept Map Wood Pine Palm 1) A kind of plant that grows in the environment or place Christmas Oak 2) Something that gives you Oxygen Cedar 3) A large plant with leaves, branches, and bark Pecan Magnolia 4) A large plant that grows fruit and flowers Juniper Apple Blossom 5) A plant that is seasonal and changes Fruit Tree

  26. Fifth Grade Final

  27. College Initial

  28. Dan Schmidt Seasonal Tall Life Roots Tree A Living Organism Leaves Green Bark Chlorophyll Branches Photosynthesis Sapling Oak Autotroph Forests Angiosperm Useful College Students’ “Tree” Concept Map Giant Sequoia Wood Yew Christmas

  29. College Final

  30. Second Grade

  31. Second Grade Initial

  32. people boyfriend Holding hands xoxo girlfriend movies Crush on someone Friends (family and pets) Kissing grandma flirting Valentine’s Day Love Family hugging Jesus Mary Joseph cupid like cute Dog (care) God hamster “That’s not Love!” smooching cats married world romance Horses and ponies What do I love? nature Want to marry someone if you love them very much Are there any words that mean the same thing as love? divorce animals dates “If you saw a girl and they got a dress and it was pretty nice than hearts will go on your eyes and you’ll fall on the floor.” “You think a girl is hot.” “Caring and loving someone.” “Sometimes girls eyes get shiny and watery.” Second Grade “Love” Concept Map

  33. Second Grade Final

  34. Fifth Grade Initial

  35. Fifth Grade “Love” Concept Map A couple Beauty A moment in life you would like to capture Kissing Cupid Honeymoon Traveling A Date Dancing Romance Grandparents Hugs A Strong Feeling Roses Love Chocolate Hope & Joy Hearts Marriage Bonds Connection Family Moonlight Picnic Holding Hands Kids Puppy Love Liking something a lot Relationship Forgiving Friends Rejection Gift not a Privilege God Cuddling Crying & Sadness Devotion Divorce Handsomeness Through Sickness & in Health Cheese

  36. 1) A committed relationship 3) Two people joining together 2) A beautiful feeling you get in yourself 4) A gift from God 5) A strong felling between two people

  37. Fifth Grade Final

  38. College Initial

  39. Boys Family Community Marriage Commitment God Caritas College Students’ “Love” Concept Map Eros Love Mommy Friendship Unconditional Selfless Babies Hug Actions Sacrifice Crucifixion Idealism

  40. College Final

  41. Fear