One precious little girl, charming responses, and thirty well spent minutes adds up to a successful Piaget project. The time spent on interviewing a child for cognitive development was insightful, and gave me a first hand look at how a child’s mind matures with age.
N.G., 4 years, 11 months, embodied all I could ask for in a child to conduct such an interview on. Nearing her fifth birthday in the upcoming week, her age is central between ages three and seven, providing me with information that is certainly conducive to our study. Within moments upon entry into our interview it was apparent that my child fell into the preoperational stage of Piaget’s cognitive development. More specifically, N.G. fell into the second half of the preoperational stage. What initially tipped me off was her first response to my conduction of the conservation of length demonstration. Upon laying out two identical straws, her rational for why one straw was longer than the other was, “it’s not to the one’s bottom”. This is a perfect example of an intuitive guess, though showing a lack of logic in the statement. A crucial factor of the preoperational stage of development is that children cannot yet manipulate and transform information into logical ways which was plainly seen through the conservation of number demonstration. Though N.G. was able to correctly identify that each row still contained an equal number of pennies upon being spread out, it required her to count the number of pennies in each row. In the preoperational stage of development children do not yet understand logical mental operations such as mental math as presented in the demonstration. Another essential element that leads me to firmly support N.G.’s involvement in the preoperational stage of Piaget’s theory is her reasoning during the conservation of volume display. When asked if a tall, slender glass possessed more water than a short, fat glass or if an equal amount of water was present in both, N.G. stated that the tall glass held more water because, “it’s bigger!” This is a classic example validating no conservation; the ability to recognize the important properties of a substance or object that remain constant despite changes in its shape. A branch of conservation is the logical concept of complementarily, which better argues N.G.’s lack of conservation. Complementarily deals with one tall, narrow glass, and another short, wide glass which is a spitting image of our demonstration.
Entering part two of my interview I was observing for egocentric tendencies which were surprisingly nowhere to be found. I led into this section by telling N.G., “My birthday was yesterday!” Hoping to have a response of, “My birthday’s in six days!” was nonexistent, instead N.G.’s response was, “that’s cool”. Short and simple, N.G. neither showed signs of egocentrism or an understanding of how I should feel by responding with a neutral response.
Part three, the questioning section of my interview,...