Learning Theories for Mathematical Concepts

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Introduction The early acquisition of mathematical concepts in children is essential for their overall cognitive development. It is imperative that educators focus on theoretical views to guide and plan the development of mathematical concepts in the early years. Early math concepts involve learning skills such as matching, ordering, sorting, classifying, sequencing and patterning. The early environment offers the foundation for children to develop an interest in numbers and their concepts. Children develop and construct their own meaning of numbers through active learning rather than teacher directed instruction. Research has shown that ‘structured’ math lessons in early childhood are premature and can be detrimental to proper brain development for the young child, actually interfering with concept development (Gromicko, 2011). Children’s experiences in mathematics should reflect learning in a fun and natural way. The main focus of this essay is to show the effectiveness of applying learning theories by Piaget, Vygotsky and Bruner and their relation to the active learning of basic concepts in maths. The theories represent Piaget’s Cognitivism, Vygotsky’s Social Cognitive and Bruner’s Constructivism. Based on my research and analysis, comparisons will be made to the theories presented and their overall impact on promoting mathematical capabilities in children. (ECFS 2009: Unit 5) Piaget’s Cognitive theory represents concepts that children learn from interactions within the world around them. He believed that children think and reason at different stages in their development. His stages of cognitive development outline the importance of the process rather the final product. The main concept of this theory reflects the view th... ... middle of paper ... ...ettings Kirova, A., & Bhargava, A. (2002). Learning to guide preschool children's mathematical understanding: A teacher's professional growth. 4 (1), Retrieved from http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v4n1/kirova.html Lutz, S., & Huitt, W. (2004). Connecting cognitive development and constructivism: Implications from theory for instruction and assessment. Constructivism in the Human Sciences, 9(1), 67-90. Retreived from: http://www.teach.valdosta.edu/whuitt/brilstar/chapters/cogdev.doc‎ Mc Leod, S. (2007). Lev Vygotsky. Retrieved from: http://www.simplypsychology.org/vygotsky.html Takaya, K. (2008). Jerome Bruner’s theory of education: From early Bruner to later Bruner. 39(1), 1-19. doi: 10.1007/s10780-008-9039-2 Ozer, O. (2004, December). Constructivism in Piaget and Vygotsky. (48), Retrieved from http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/CONSTRUCTIVISM-in-Piaget-and-Vygotsky
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