Young Children’s Brains and Children Listening to Adults–it’s not how you might think!

This was provided to an audience of parents; however, teachers would benefit greatly from this research.  More complete version is al URL:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090324131554.htm

New View Of The Way Young Children Think

“The older kids found this sequence easy, because they can anticipate the answer before the object appears,” Chatham said. “But preschoolers fail to anticipate in this way. Instead, they slow down and exert mental effort after being presented with the watermelon, as if they’re thinking back to the character they had seen only after the fact.”

Using pupillometry to determine the time at which children exerted mental effort, the speed of their responses for each type of sequence and the relative accuracy of those responses, the researchers found that children neither plan for the future nor live completely in the present. Instead, they call up the past as they need it.

“If you just repeat something again and again that requires your young child to prepare for something in advance, that is not likely to be effective,” Munakata said. “What would be more effective would be to somehow try to trigger this reactive function. So don’t do something that requires them to plan ahead in their mind, but rather try to highlight the conflict that they are going to face. Perhaps you could say something like ‘I know you don’t want to take your coat now, but when you’re standing in the yard shivering later, remember that you can get your coat from your bedroom.”

“Further study could help people figure out why kids are doing poorly or well in different educational settings,” she said.

JW

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