The Study of thinking and its stages of development in children
Important role in the development of child psychology played a Swiss psychologist Eduard Cleared. He founded the Association of applied psychology and Pedagogical Institute. Rousseau in Geneva, which became the international center for experimental research in the field of child psychology.
Supporting the idea of the Hall about the need for an integrated science of child – of Pedology, he did not accept his interpretation of the biogenetic law. Cleared believed that the known similarity between the phylogenetic and ontogenetic development of the psyche exists not because the child’s mind laid the stage of development of the species and ancient instincts, which the child must come to an end (as it involves recapitulation theory), but because there is a General logic of the development of the psyche in the phylogeny and ontogeny. It is the General logic of development of the psyche and determines the similarity of these processes, but not their identity, so there is no fatal predetermination in the child’s development and external factors (including training) can accelerate its progress and even partially reverse the direction.
Cleared proposed to divide child psychology on applied and theoretical, since, in his opinion, they have different range of studied problems. The theoretical task of child psychology, he considered the study of the laws of mental life and the stages of mental development of children. At the same time applied child psychology has divided them on psychogenetic and psycho. Psychogenetic was for the purpose of diagnosis, measurement of mental development of children, and psychotechnics was aimed at developing methods of training and education, appropriate to a specific age.
Saying that the mental development does not need additional incentives or factors that pushed him, Cleared developed the idea of samorazvitiya those traits which exist in the child at birth. The mechanisms of this self-development he believed the game and imitation, through which it receives a certain direction and content. From his point of view, the game is more universal mechanism, as it is directed on development of various aspects of the psyche, both General and special mental functions. Cleared allocated games, educational individual characteristics of children, intellectual games (developing their cognitive abilities and affective (educational sense).
Imitation he connected mainly with the development of behavior, arbitrary activity of children, as it is based on the Association between the images of the movements (older shows) and by these movements, i.e. the traces of their muscular sensations. When you repeat a movement, the feel of it merges with the appearance of this movement, after which you can perform this task first with the appearance of his image, and then with a verbal command. Thus, Claparede spoke not only about the interiorization of voluntary movements, but also about the necessity of the transition from the motor to the imaginative and then to the internal plan.
Despite the wide range of issues of interest Claparede, in the center of his research interests was the study of thinking and its stages of development in children. He (and later his famous disciple of Jean piaget) actually identified thinking with mental development, and therefore the criterion of the division of childhood into periods for it served as a transition from one mode of thinking to another. He identified four stages in mental development:
1 . From birth to 2 years – at this stage in children the predominant interest in the outside things, but because intellectual development is mainly due to the development of perception.
2 . 2 to 3 years at this stage children develop speech and because of their cognitive interests focus on the words and their meanings.
3 . From 3 to 7 years – at this stage begins the actual intellectual development, i.e. the development of thinking in children and is dominated by common intellectual interests.
4 . From 7 to 12 years – at this stage begin to show individual characteristics and inclinations of the children, as their intellectual development is associated with the formation of a special objective interests.
Exploring the formation of the intellectual sphere of children, Cleared opened one of the fundamental properties of children’s thinking – syncretism i.e., the indivisibility, unity children’s ideas about the world with each other . He argued that mental development is moving from setting the appearance to the naming of the subject (verbal stage), and then to understand its purpose, which is a consequence of the development of logical thinking. About the same direction in the development of thinking of children – from unity to the broken spoke and later Vygotsky, challenging the approval of the stern that the child first understands the part (single object), and only then begins to connect separate parts into a unified image of the world.
Based on the fact that the development of abilities due to hereditary factors, Claparede allocated General and special endowments, and General talent was evident, from his point of view, in childhood and was associated with the overall high level of all mental properties of the child. Giftedness in a narrow sense, it refers to a Mature age and were associated with a person’s ability to solve new problems.
Thus, Cleared laid the foundations of an independent branch of psychology – developmental psychology . having a significant impact on the understanding of the scope of its problems and its challenges.