Mel Levine's A Mind at a Time
Mel Levine’s book, A Mind at a Time, describes many aspects of cognitive psychology and attempts to apply them to the educational system for young children. This book also makes suggestions for parents that have children with cognitive difficulties. The chapters in this book are designated to various aspects of cognitive psychology as they pertain to children. This paper focuses on chapter six in A Mind at a Time, which is titled “Making Arrangements: Our Spatial and Sequential Ordering Systems.” This is a very interesting chapter because it incorporates many aspects of cognitive psychology. In this chapter, Levine focuses on how children organize their world in terms of learning, thinking, and remembering.
Levine states that children have two ways in which they organize the information they receive from the world around them. He refers to these methods as sequential ordering and spatial ordering. He defines spatial patterns as, “assembled parts that occupy space and settle on the doorsteps of our minds all at once” (Levine, p.151). Many examples are given of when spatial ordering is prevalent, for instance, when a student draws a map or recognizes the features of a person’s face. Levine defines sequential patterns as information gaining “admission to the minds one bit at a time and in an order that’s meant not to be missed” (Levine, p.151). He says that sequential ordering is used when students try to master a science project or learn a telephone number. Neurologically, Levine states that sequential ordering is carried out on the left side of the brain and spatial ordering is carried out on the right side of the brain. He also makes references to the possibility of children lacking in either system.
The main purpose of this chapter seems to be that Levine feels that children learn on distinct levels due to their spatial and sequential ordering systems. He states that there are five levels, starting with the most basic and finishing with the most intricate ways of learning and behaving. The levels are as follows: perceiving (level one), remembering (level two), creating (level three), organizing (level four), and thinking on a higher plane (level five). At the basic level, Levine states that the child must first be able to understand the relationships and the important characteristics of a spatial or sequential pattern. Once this is accomplished they can store this information for later use (remembering), which will help the child create output that is arranged spatially or sequentially (level three). Level four is where the child is expected to be good at “time management (sequential) and materials management (spatial)” (Levine, p.152). Finally the child is able to reason, solve problems, and form concepts using their spatial and sequential ordering systems.
In the first half of the chapter, Levine discusses sequential ordering in terms of the five levels described above....