Nelson, Katherine (2007). Young minds in social worlds, Chapter 1. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Competing Metaphors and Conceptions of the Developing Child
1. Piaget - "epistemic child":the child seeking knowl edge of how the world is structured and, in the process, constructing the structure of his own mind.
2. Vygotsky - "cultural historical child": this child, unlike the epistemic child, is thoroughly social, situated
in a specific historical context and within a culture that might or
might not nurture the mind through facilitative processes of
3. The very young are "little scientists" or "child as theorists": children are said to be born with theories that guide their knowledge
gathering but that the theories are subject to revision in light of new data
Problems with these models:
1. they do not account for biology or culture
2. doesn't acknowledge outside influences
3. children are not machines nor do they think like adults
Learning is viewed as ways in which the child comes to be conscious of more and more sources of meaning and to discriminate among them. Eventually, children accept things as meaningful that they would not have at an earlier point in development.
Memory is the conservation, organization and transformation of meaning. Children learn how conserve, organize and transform experiences that have meaning and significant in increasingly complex ways.
We are driven by two major motivations: to make sense and to make relationships. Gathering meaning from experience helps us with these two goals.
What we find as meaningful is affected by many things including our surroundings, culture, past experiences.
Nelson proposes a hybrid mind framework of different levels of consciousness. It differs from Piaget's stage theory in that all levels, once achieved, coexist. In stage theory, one doesn't revert to earlier levels once later levels are achieved.
One nice thing about Nelson's hybrid mind theory is that it easily incorporates other theories as mechanisms or process to explain what is going on at any given level.