Learning & Teaching Foreign Languages

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Assimilation-Accommodation

Read and Reflect

Leading developmental psychologist J H Flavell explains how Piaget's assimilation-accommodation model departs from earlier behaviourist models of learning.

1. Fit the following six terms into the text to make a coherent passage.


interpreted                 select                   copy


blank slates                         manufacturers                 environment


2. Explain the first and last sentences of the passage.

Children are clearly not a) ______________ that passively and unselectively b) ______________whatever the environment presents to them. Rather, the cognitive structures and processing strategies available to them at that point in their development lead them to c) ______________ from the input what is meaningful to them and to represent and transform what is selected in accordance with their cognitive structures. As Piaget correctly taught us, children's cognitive structures dictate both what they accommodate to (notice) in the environment and how that is assimilated ( (d) __________). The active nature of the their intellectual commerce with the  e) ______________makes them to a large degree the f) ___________ of their own development.

(Flavell, 1992)
 

ANSWERS

1. Children are clearly not (a) blank slates that passively and unselectively (b) copy whatever the environment presents to them. Rather, the cognitive structures and processing strategies available to them at that point in their development lead them to (c) select from the input what is meaningful to them and to represent and transform what is selected in accordance with their cognitive structures. As Piaget correctly taught us, children's cognitive structures dictate both what they accommodate to (notice) in the environment and how that is assimilated ((d) interpreted). The active nature of the their intellectual commerce with the (e) environment makes them to a large degree the (f) manufacturers of their own development (Flavell, 1992. p. 998)


2. Explain the first and last sentences of the passage.
First sentence: Piagetian theory is in contradiction with behaviorism, which takes the view that the learner comes to the learning task without prior knowledge or knowledge structures, and learns solely by imitation.

Last sentence: Piagetian theory claims that child development consists in active learning, where children engage with the environment in ways which affect their learning paths.
 

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