Piaget, and Bruner
Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget, and Jerome Bruner have emphasized cognitive
development as being intimately linked to the brain's construction of knowledge
within a social context. Their work has been instrumental in providing
a foundation for multiage grouping
- Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky asserts that the most fruitful experience
in a child's education is his or her collaboration with more skilled partners.
Vygotsky explains that the more experienced partner provides help in the
way of an intellectual scaffold, which allows the less experienced learner
to accomplish more complex tasks than may be possible alone (Stone, 1995;
McClellan, 1994). Within a multiage setting, many opportunities exist for
interaction between children of different ages, experiences, and developmental
- Jean Piaget. Piaget considers the most critical factor in a
child's cognitive development to be interaction with peers. Interaction
lends opportunities for the child to have cognitive conflict, which results
in arguing or debating with peers. This type of interaction requires children
to decenter, or consider another person's point of view. Piaget
observes that children are most challenged in their thinking when they
are with peers, because they all are on an equal footing and are more free
to confront ideas than when interacting with adults. However, when children
are too similar in their thinking, there may be little to debate about,
resulting in fewer developmental gains (Stone, 1995; McClellan, 1994).
The multiage setting maximizes a child's opportunity for cognitive conflict
because it brings together children at a variety of developmental levels.
For further information, refer to Thinking
About Piaget in Relationship to the Mixed-Age Classroom (McClellan,
- Jerome Bruner. Bruner observes that the process of constructing
knowledge of the world is not done in isolation but rather within a social
context. The child is a social being and, through social life, acquires
a framework for interpreting experiences (Bruner & Haste, 1987). Bruner
(1966) also notes that "there is no unique sequence for all learners,
and the optimum in any particular case will depend upon a variety of factors,
including past learning, stage of development, nature of the material,
and individual differences" (p. 49). Effective curriculum then, must
provide many opportunities and choices for children (Anderson & Pavan,
1993). Within the multiage setting, opportunities exist for children to
make choices about their learning experiences. In addition, the variety
of teaching methods used in the multiage classroom provides opportunities
for children to construct knowledge in a multitude of ways.
Copyright © North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer and copyright information.