November 1967

On Understanding the Understanding of Children

Author Affiliations

Boulder, Colo
From the Elementary Science Advisory Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.

Am J Dis Child. 1967;114(5):513-520. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1967.02090260101007

IN WHAT I have to say today I shall be both reporting and theorizing; reporting on some recent innovative work in education, and theorizing to explicate the presuppositions of the work and the implications of its findings. The scientific study of childhood intellectual development is, of course, a very complicated and manysided affair which I cannot even summarize, characterized as it is by many different and even disparate approaches, as well as by large areas where there has been no approach at all.

The study of infancy and childhood belongs, in one very important phase, to that puzzling class of topics for which empirical information is an embarassment rather than an asset. Probably most of the essential behavioral phenomena in this field have long been known to adults, and some of them passed on in disguise without benefit of texts and treatises in the common culture. Mothers often, teachers sometimes,

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