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learning and other skill development

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To revisit Vygotsky's sociocultural theory, children advance cognitively through social interactions with adults or children who's cognitive level is ahead of their own, a concept known as scaffolding. Therefore it appears that some guidance is necessary for children to learn. There is a fine line between a child "learning" and "imitating" however. I was a preschool teacher for several years and we would do some sort of art or craft everyday in the classroom. I was very careful not to model what the finished product should look like because if a child sees what you have done, their creation is limited by what they see you do - not by what they would create on their own.

I will use a turkey as an example. We would make turkeys out of our hand prints (I am sure that all of you have done this at some point in your lives!) You start out by tracing your hand and then using the fingers, children were instructed to create their own turkeys. If I provided an example of what the finished product should look like - all of the children's turkeys looked exactly like my model. In contrast, if I worked with the children by asking guiding questions such as "OK, where do you think the turkey's head should be? What about the feathers? What color would you like the feathers to be? Where do the feet need to go?" Their art was much more creative and original than it ever would have been if they had only imitated what had been shown to them.

Does learning take place either way? Probably, but the greatest amount of cognitive growth was clearly evident in their own creation.

What do you guys think?

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Dear Student,

Thanks for selecting OTAs at BrainMass to assist you. Below is my response to "Learning." Note that with exemption to the "quoted" text, this this posting was answered in my words only. Therefore, feel free to cite me as a reference in addition to others, if needed.

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Learning appears to take place either way because the ultimate goal is for such future-adults to become self-directed, competent, and critically-thinking on their ...

Solution Summary

Learning and other skill developments are noted.