By D. G. Boyle (Auth.)
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Extra resources for A Students' Guide to Piaget
As an example of a preconcept, Piaget tells us how his young daughter saw a slug when she was on a walk with her father. A little further on she saw another slug and said "There's the slug again". When her father asked her if it were the same slug she replied that it was, but when he took her back a few yards to show her the first slug again, she continued to maintain that it was the same slug. " and she replied "Yes". Clearly the questions were meaningless to her. It seems that she was trying to express the fact that the second slug was not the same as the first, but was unable to express the idea of "another of the same type".
The young child at first has difficulty in employing words, for he finds it hard to understand that words must mean the same for everyone. The child's use of words is at first idiosyncratic, as we should expect from the egocentrism characteristic of this phase of development, 45 46 A Students' Guide to Piaget and only at about 6 or 7 years does the child develop a satisfactory efficiency in communication. Other signs include gestures, which for the most part are learned unconsciously, and more subtle actions, such as tone of voice, rate of breathing, direction of gaze, and so on, an (unconscious or conscious) understanding of which is vital for happy and effective social intercourse.
Furthermore, from any position a revolution of 360° will bring us back exactly to our starting position, so we may call a 360° turn an identity element. The successive positions attained by revolving a wheel are said to constitute an algebraic group, which has very important properties. Although we must defer discussion of these properties. till later, we can see already how an adult's solution of the problem of the order of the beads is related to the notions of inverse and of identity element.
A Students' Guide to Piaget by D. G. Boyle (Auth.)