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Chapter 23 Developmental Factors in the Sequence of Studies from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
 

Chapter 23 Developmental Factors in the Sequence of Studies from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

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Chapter 23 Developmental Factors in the Sequence of Studies from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD...

Chapter 23 Developmental Factors in the Sequence of Studies from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

Dr. William Allan Kritsonis earned his BA in 1969 from Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington. In 1971, he earned his M.Ed. from Seattle Pacific University. In 1976, he earned his PhD from the University of Iowa. In 1981, he was a Visiting Scholar at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, and in 1987 was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California.

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    Chapter 23 Developmental Factors in the Sequence of Studies from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Chapter 23 Developmental Factors in the Sequence of Studies from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Document Transcript

    • Copyright © 2011 by William Allan Kritsonis/All Rights Reserved 23 DEVELOPMENTAL FACTORS IN THE SEQUENCE OF STUDIES INSIGHTS1. Meanings grow in active, developing persons.2. If instruction is to be effective, consideration must be given to the patterns of human growth and development.3. Of all the animals man is the learner par excellence.4. A human being’s behavior patterns are only to a very minor degree instinctive.5. A human being is not solely a product of his environment.6. There are limits to how one can be molded by environmental in- fluences.7. Possibilities of learning depend on the maturation of the biolog- ical organism.8. All instructional efforts that are not consistent with the em- pirical facts of maturation are certain to fail.9. Maturation fixes the limit of expected achievement and to a considerable extent determines the speed of learning.10. The possibilities of learning are influenced by previous learning.11. The ideal order of studies is one in which each experience is in- troduced at the most propitious time in the person’s development.12. The best curriculum for any student is one that makes each learning experience available to him as soon as he is ready for it.13. How well a person learns is greatly affected by the factor of motivation.14. In planning the sequence of studies a basic developmental prin- ciple is that of continuity.15. The successive experiences in learning should be sufficiently dif- ferent to provide stimulus for growth but not so strange as to set up self-protecting reactions in the student. 1
    • 2 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATION16. The teacher should be aware of the cultural patterns influenc- ing his students, and he should take account of these patterns in planning the sequence of studies.17. The educator should use the facts of developmental psychology critically, ordering instruction so as not to expect the impossi- ble of students and choosing from among the possible learnings those that will lead most directly to the fulfillment of mean- ing.18. From the developmental standpoint the earliest and most fun- damental experiences are those of personal relations.19. The entire course of a person’s life may be analyzed in terms of the development of personal meanings.20. Teaching should be planned so as to take account of the partic- ular tasks confronting the person at the stage in life in which he is living.21. The educator needs to understand the sources of failure at any stage in the light of possible failures of achievement at earlier stages, and be prepared to make available such remedial reed- ucation as may be necessary to shore up the weak foundations.22. The stages of life are not separate and independent ways of functioning. They are continuous with each other, interrelated, and overlapping.23. The development of personal relations is intimately connected with the development of other kinds of meanings.24. Personal knowledge, ethics, morals, and integrative studies have pertinence to every stage of education, even if they may not come fully into their own until adult life.25. The unique role of personal knowledge in all the realms of meaning is of great importance both to the teacher and to the student.26. Since a meaning in any realm is a meaning to a person, the val- ue of that meaning depends on personal well-being.27. Intelligent and sensitive concern for persons is the one essen- tial ingredient in good education.28. Knowledge about language development can save the teacher both from starting a child to read before he is ready for it and from delaying reading instruction too long.29. Language development studies show the great importance of skill in communication for the general well-being of the child.30. When the normal patterns of cognitive growth are ignored and adult mathematical conceptions are introduced too early, the child may develop an aversion to mathematics that will handi- cap him throughout life.31. Scientific ideas, like those of language and mathematics, show a developmental progression.32. The teacher needs to know what can and what cannot usefully be introduced at any given level of maturity.33. It is the teacher’s function to provide a rich esthetic environ- ment and ample encouragement for creative expression in the manner appropriate to the child’s physical, emotional, and in- tellectual attainment, giving special consideration in this do- main to the particular interests and capabilities of the individu- al child rather than relying on standardized expectations.34. Social and moral values are acquired largely through partici- pation in the life of family, peer groups, and community.
    • DEVELOPMENTAL FACTORS IN THE 3SEQUENCE OF STUDIES35. If the teacher is aware of the source of moral values in the whole personal-social development process, he will be pre- pared to interpret students’ conduct intelligently and to intro- duce kinds of decision-making situations in which moral growth may occur.36. Premature introduction of certain religious ideas may cause permanent distortion of beliefs, and neglect of religious in- struction may deprive the person of needed resources for his personal growth.37. Both logical and developmental factors are relevant to deci- sions about the order of instruction. ____________________
    • 4 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONIn addition to logical factors, the findings of developmental psychol-ogy can be used to help decide the order of studies. The logic of se-quence is not a sufficient guide because education is not a process ofconstructing a complex of disembodied meanings, but of facilitatinglearning in real people. Meanings grow in active, developing persons.If instruction is to be effective, consideration must be given to thepatterns of human growth and development. MAN IS THE LEARNER PAR EXCELLENCE One elementary fact to be noted at the start is that of all theanimals man is the learner par excellence. In contrast with many ofthe lower animals, a human being’s behavior patterns are only to avery minor degree instinctive. They are learned through interactionwith the environment; they do not emerge simply from internal growthprocesses. Human nature is plastic. It is capable of being shaped byexternal influences so as to produce any of many different kinds ofbehavior. On the other hand, a human being is not solely a product of hisenvironment. There are limits to how one can be molded by environ-mental influences. A person is not simply a sum of the forces thathave acted upon him. If a person were entirely governed by instinct, education wouldhave no meaning and the order of personal development would bewholly dictated by genetic factors in the organism. If a person wereexclusively determined by his environment, then the sequence of learn-ing could be decided entirely on the basis of the logic of the subjectfields without regard to psychological factors. THE APPROPRIATENESS OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY The pertinence of developmental psychology arises from thefact that a person is neither purely a creature of instinct nor of en-vironment, but develops by a complicated series of interactions be-tween the growing self and various surrounding entities. At everystage of development the nature of the person affects what can andwhat cannot be learned, and how easily anything can be learned.Maturation In part, the possibilities of learning depend on the maturationof the biological organism. No behavior pattern can be learned unlessa suitable physical and neutral basis exists for it. All instructionalefforts that are not consistent with the empirical facts of matura-tion are certain to fail. Knowledge of maturational sequences pro-vides one type of clue to the sequence of studies. Maturation fixes thelimit of expected achievement and to a considerable extent determinesthe speed of learning.Readiness Besides maturation, the possibilities of learning are influencedby previous learning. The combination of maturation and earlierlearning determines what a person is capable of learning at any giv-en time. The developmental concept of readiness refers to the condi-tion of being optimally prepared for some particular learning experi-
    • DEVELOPMENTAL FACTORS IN THE 5SEQUENCE OF STUDIESence. The ideal order of studies is one in which each experience is intro-duced at the most propitious time in the person’s development. If someexperience comes too early, it cannot be grasped at all or only atthe price of excessive strain and frustration. If it comes too late, oth-er learning dependent upon it will be postponed and the whole devel-opment of the person will be retarded. The best curriculum for anystudent is one that makes each learning experience available to himas soon as he is ready for it.Human Beings are Made ReadyFor Learning and Maximum Economy The readiness concept, like any other idea applied mechanicallyor interpreted rigidly, can become a blinder, reflecting traditionalprejudices. Human beings are extraordinarily adaptable, and by ap-propriate preparation may be made ready for learning that does notfit any standard readiness schedule. The principle of readiness is real-ly an aspect of the more fundamental principle of maximum economyin learning.Motivation How well a person learns is also greatly affected by the fac-tor of motivation. If one has powerful needs to fill, one quicklylearns how to satisfy them. If one’s goals are clear and urgent, onelearns more readily how to reach them than he would if he had weakpurposes. A person is not really ready to learn anything unless hehas strong motivation in relation to it. Motives are often a result oftemporary conditions, and they may well be controlled to some degreeby external factors, such as rewards and punishments. More deeplyrooted in the personality are those motives that reflect the basic ori-entation of the developing person. These basic goals of the self are ofgreat importance to the teacher, for they determine the direction inwhich effective learning can occur in the student. They represent aninner hospitality to certain kinds of experience, making the person ripefor development in the indicated directions.Continuity In planning the sequence of studies a basic developmental prin-ciple is that of continuity. The growing person is an organism and notsimply an aggregation. This means that each step in development mustfit into previous steps so as to form a consistent whole. The organismis an “open system” seeking to maintain itself with stability amidchange. To ensure this, whatever new influences are brought to bearmust be such as not to threaten the continuing integrity of the person.The successive experiences in learning should be sufficiently differentto provide stimulus for growth but not so strange as to set up self-protecting reactions in the student. The experiences in learning shouldalso be such as to form a coherent succession rather than a miscella-neous and random collection. The experiences of the student should beconsistent both among themselves and with the basic orientation ofthe learner as revealed in his enduring motivations.
    • 6 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATION At some point a child appears ready to learn meaningful knowledge. At some point a person’s generativity causes him/her to decide that he/she must pass on the knowledge that he/she has acquired. What if father and son do not reach this point at the same time? What happens if the child has no interest in what the father does?
    • DEVELOPMENTAL FACTORS IN THE 7SEQUENCE OF STUDIESPicture
    • 8 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATION GENERALIZATIONS ABOUT PATTERNS OF GROWTH In planning curricula in the light of studies in human develop-ment, use may be made of certain generalizations about patterns ofgrowth. It is possible to predict in broad terms what kinds of experi-ence will be appropriate to children and young people at successiveperiods in their development. These generalizations are useful only asa first approximation, as an estimate of probable average conditionswithin a particular culture. In reality every person is different, andin principle a different curriculum is needed for every person to takeaccount of the way he uniquely develops. In practice, ways can befound to effect a reasonable compromise between a curriculum that isthe same for all within a given society and individual courses ofstudy. Examples of such compromises are the various systems ofgrouping students by age and ability and the methods of organizing in-struction to permit each individual student to proceed at his own pace,independently or with individual guidance, and to make his own specialcontributions to group efforts. Because environment is such a large factor in human develop-ment, the patterns of growth vary not only from person to person,but also from culture to culture. There is no single universal aver-age developmental sequence. Each social group exerts influences uponits members that they internalize and that become important factorsin learning. The teacher should be aware of the cultural patterns in-fluencing his students, and he should take account of these patterns inplanning the sequence of studies. PLANNING THE CURRICULUM: ACTUALITY, POSSIBILITY, AND IDEALITY In using knowledge from the field of human development forplanning the curriculum, a threefold distinction should be kept in mind,namely, the distinction between actuality, possibility, and ideality.Developmental inquiries yield knowledge of how certain persons haveactually developed. This knowledge is not necessarily an appropriatedirect basis for making curriculum decisions. The conditions of growthmay have been neither optimal nor comparable to the situation of thestudents for whom the curriculum is being planned. The inquiries mayshow that under certain conditions specified learnings are possible.But the demonstration of possibility is no guarantee of ideality, for itdoes not follow from the fact that a person can learn something ata given stage in his growth that he ought to learn it then. The educa-tor should use the facts of developmental psychology critically, or-dering instruction so as not to expect the impossible of students andchoosing from among the possible learnings those that will lead mostdirectly to the fulfillment of meaning. THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL EXPERIENCES ARE THOSE OF PERSONAL RELATIONS From the developmental standpoint the earliest and most fun-damental experiences are those of personal relations. From the mo-ment of birth, or even earlier, the child lives in relation, first to hismother, then to other persons in the family, and as he grows older, towider and wider circles of persons and things. The entire course of aperson’s life may be analyzed in terms of the development of personal
    • DEVELOPMENTAL FACTORS IN THE 9SEQUENCE OF STUDIESmeanings. For example, the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson in Childhoodand Society1 describes eight stages in the personal career. He saysthat in the first period the task is to establish a basic sense of trust,or confidence in the goodness of existence and in the reliability ofthose on whom one depends. The second stage is that of autonomy, inwhich the child learns to “stand on his own feet,” without shame ordoubt. The third stage, initiative, marks the ability to do and tomake, as the waxing powers of movement and manipulation appear.Fourth comes the period of industry and the use of tools, in which thechild discovers the wider world of things into which he sees he can en-ter as an active producer. In the fifth period, adolescence, the maintask is achieving a sense of identity, by internalizing and integratingthe various social roles in which one is cast. The sixth stage is thatof intimacy, in which the person learns to find fulfillment by losinghimself in loving others. The seventh period is that of generativity,where the person assumes responsibility for bringing into being andguiding the next generation, whether as a parent or otherwise. Final-ly, the eighth stage is that of achieving integrity, including an as-surance of order and meaning, a feeling of personal dignity, and ab-sence of the fear of death. THE SEQUENCE OF LEARNING EXPERIENCES This is only one scheme among many that have been devised tochart the general pattern of growth of the self-in-relation. It mayserve as the focus for discussing several important points about thesequence of learning experiences. The first point is that the appropri-ate lessons in the realm of personal relations vary according to thestage in life. One should not expect to teach a child industry when heis concentrating on autonomy or identity. Teaching should be plannedso as to take account of the particular tasks confronting the personat the stage in life in which he is living. Second, the several tasks of personal growth are hierarchi-cally ordered. Each stage presupposes the successful completion ofthe earlier stages. Until one has attained the initial capacity fortrust, he cannot enjoy a secure autonomy. Without autonomy he can-not well exercise initiative, and so on from stage to stage. The educa-tor needs to understand the sources of failure at any stage in thelight of possible failures of achievement at earlier stages, and beprepared to make available such remedial reeducation as may be nec-essary to shore up the weak foundations. Third, the stages of life are not separate and independentways of functioning. They are continuous with each other, interrelat-ed, and overlapping. At every stage all the ego goals of the otherstages are present to some degree. Even in the very young child theintegration of maturity is in some measure an aim, and in the mature1 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, 1950.
    • 10 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONadult the trust of the infant is still in need of perfecting. The stagesrepresent functional emphases in various periods of life rather thandiscrete lessons to be mastered once and for all. Fourth, the development of personal relations is intimatelyconnected with the development of other kinds of meanings. The firstappearance of language may be regarded as one evidence of growingautonomy, as the child feels the need to communicate with othersacross a separating difference. The stage of initiative may relate tothe beginnings of esthetic creativeness, and the period of industry maycorrespond to the exploration of rational and empirical meanings.Clearly the stages of identity and intimacy pertain most directly topersonal meanings. The stage of generativity, with its emphasis on re-sponsibility, is concerned with moral meanings, and the stage of inte-gration corresponds to the synoptic realm.Priority of Realms of meaning Based on Logic This developmental analysis, in some measure, confirms theearlier conclusions as to the relative priority of the realms based onlogical considerations. Developmentally, language clearly comesfirst (Symbolics) and integrative studies come last (Synoptics).Moral meanings (Ethics) appear relatively late, after a firm senseof oneself and of one’s relationships with others has been established(Synnoetics). As between science and art, the priority developmen-tally seems to rest with art (Esthetics), this being the more immediateand intuitive ground from which the rationalistic and generalizing sci-entific (Empirics) meanings subsequently develop.The Need For Continuing Education Throughout Life What a life-span sequence like Erikson’s suggests (discussedearlier) is that persons may not ordinarily be ready for mature un-derstanding of self and others, for moral insight, and for integrativeperspectives until they have passed beyond the usual period of formalgeneral education. Such a conclusion points to the need for continuinggeneral education throughout life, particularly in the fields of ap-plied psychology (especially guidance and counseling on an individualor group basis with an existential emphasis),
    • DEVELOPMENTAL FACTORS IN THE 11SEQUENCE OF STUDIES Not all children develop at the same rate. Not all children develop the same interest as others. Not all children have the same learning styles as others. People cannot look at children and decide that simply because they are at a certain age and in a certain grade that they are ready to or even be capable of learning at a certain level. How can a teacher determine the level of knowledge that a student can understand, and then teach twenty or more students the same lesson at the same time?
    • 12 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONPicture
    • DEVELOPMENTAL FACTORS IN THE 13SEQUENCE OF STUDIESmorals, history, religion, and philosophy. It may be that the aver-age person can profit most fully from such studies after as-suming adult roles. From a developmental standpoint, it canthen be argued that during the years of formal schoolingthrough adolescence the major emphasis in general educationshould be on the languages, arts, and sciences, (symbolics, es-thetics, empirics), all of which can be learned effectivelywithin the developmental framework of childhood and youth,and that the remaining three realms of meaning, (ethics, syn-noetics, and synoptics), should be the chief concerns of adultgeneral education. GENERAL EDUCATION CAN EXTEND BEYOND THE USUAL PERIOD Developmental considerations thus suggest that general educa-tion can profitably extend beyond the usual period of 12 to 16 yearsof formal schooling. If economic and social factors limit the period offormal education, then it is important to make provision for continuingeducation on an informal basis. The mass media of communication canplay a significant role in this respect. It is clear that in such infor-mation education special attention should be given to personal knowl-edge, ethics, and the synoptic disciplines, these being the domains inwhich adults can especially benefit from continuing opportunities tolearn. Opportunities for continuing education in the other realms ofmeaning should also be provided. THE PRINCIPLE OF UNITY AND INTERRELATIONS OF MEANING REQUIRES STUDY IN ALL SIX REALMS OF MEANING On the other hand, the principle of the unity and interrelationsof meanings in the education of a whole person argues for some studyof all of the six realms throughout education, as recommended inChapter 21. This fundamental principle should not be nullified by at-tending exclusively to the emphases indicated by developmental consid-erations. Personal knowledge, ethics, morals, and integrative studieshave pertinence to every stage of education, even if they may notcome fully into their own until adult life. These studies can be of par-ticular importance in providing a basis for the intelligent use of in-formal education resources in later years. On these grounds it is stillreasonable to affirm the position taken earlier that all six realms ofmeaning belong within the curriculum of formal general education andthat particular emphasis should be given in the latter years of thecurriculum to the ethical and synoptic realms—to which the realm ofpersonal knowledge may now be added as a further culminating em-phasis. MEANINGS IN PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE PLAY A PIVOTAL ROLE IN ALL OTHER MEANINGS
    • 14 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATION The consideration of education from a developmental standpointindicates that meanings in the fourth realm, personal knowledge,play a pivotal role in all the other meanings. As pointed out in Chap-ter 16, personal knowledge may be regarded as the primordial basisfor all understanding, prior even to language. “In the beginning wasthe relation.” At the same time, there is a distinctive logic of person-al meanings that allows them to be arranged alongside empirical, es-thetic, and ethical meanings as a relatively autonomous type. Thisdual role is evident in the developmental analysis, which is concernedwith the person at every stage in development, even though the char-acteristic synnoetic meanings (existential awareness of self and oth-ers) first appear fully in the period between adolescence and adult-hood. PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE IS OF GREAT IMPORTANCE TO THE TEACHER AND THE STUDENT This unique role of personal knowledge in all the realms ofmeaning is of great importance both to the teacher and to the stu-dent. Every linguistic attainment, every empirical insight, every es-thetic perception, every moral judgment, every integrative perspec-tive belongs to a developing person and is colored by the quality ofhis relations to himself and others. Since a meaning in any realm is ameaning to a person, the value of that meaning depends on personalwell-being. In more familiar terms, though one speak many tongues,know all the secrets of nature, create things of beauty, performdeeds of the highest virtue, and have the combined wisdom of Socratesand Solomon, if he has no love, these profit him nothing. INTELLIGENT AND SENSITIVE CONCERN FOR PEOPLE IS ESSENTIAL IN PROVIDING A GOOD EDUCATION This is not to say that love is the one thing needful and thatall education should be solely directed toward personal understand-ing. Love is not enough. Indeed, love cannot be fulfilled apart fromlanguage, science, creative activity, morality, and integrative vision.But these without love have no human worth. It is for this reasonthat intelligent and sensitive concern for persons is the one essentialingredient in good education. FINDINGS IN DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY INDICATE FIELDS OF STUDY THAT HELP LEARNERS OF VARIOUS LEVELS OF MATURITY The findings of developmental psychology are not only of val-ue in suggesting the general sequence of study emphases, as discussedabove, but also in indicating for particular fields of study the kindsof learning experiences that are likely to be appropriate to learnersof various levels of maturity.Knowledge of Language Development For example, knowledge about language development, of whichnumerous studies have been made, can save the teacher both fromstarting a child to read before he is ready for it and from delayingreading instruction too long. Such knowledge can also aid in selectingmaterials that fall within the vocabulary capability of the student,neither being so far beyond him as to frustrate understanding nor sofamiliar to him as to provide no challenge to new understanding. Lan-
    • DEVELOPMENTAL FACTORS IN THE 15SEQUENCE OF STUDIESguage development studies show the great importance of skill in com-munication for the general well-being of the child. They make clearthe close relation between the language habits, social environment,and emotional life of the child, and they suggest ways of diagnosingand correcting language deficiencies in individual children.
    • 16 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONGrowth of Mathematical Ideas The growth of mathematical ideas in children has also been in-tensively investigated. For example, some studies show that geomet-ric ideas develop prior to arithmetical concepts and that nonnumeri-cal concepts of quantity precede numerical ones. It is generallyagreed that the high abstraction and rigor of pure mathematics arebeyond the comprehension of young children and that they must beginwith simple instances, only gradually moving on to generalized con-cepts. When the normal patterns of cognitive growth are ignored andadult mathematical conceptions are introduced too early, the childmay develop an aversion to mathematics that will handicap himthroughout life. On the other hand, modern research in the teaching ofmathematics suggests that with proper methods of instruction manyimportant mathematical ideas can successfully be taught much earli-er than was once thought possible or desirable.Scientific Ideas Scientific ideas, like those of language and mathematics, show ascientific thought cannot be attained at once. As the child grows, hehas an increasing body of memories upon which to draw, providing abasis for generalization and discrimination, both of which are neces-sary for the formation of scientific abstractions. The leading investi-gator of the development of children’s concepts is Jean Piaget, whohas studied, among other things, the growth of the idea of physicalcausality.2 Piaget holds that conceptual growth occurs in discretestages. Up to the age of three, he says, the child believes things hap-pen by magic. From three to seven or eight he thinks in egocentric andanimistic terms, and from then on his thought becomes mechanistic andlogical. Other investigators disagree with Piaget’s results, holdingthat ideas of physical causation in space and time grow graduallyand are not necessarily preceded by magical and animistic stages. Re-gardless of how the matter is resolved, the point to be made here isthat since the meaningfulness of scientific ideas is affected by thechild’s development, the teacher needs to know what can and whatcannot usefully be introduced at any given level of maturity.Creative Expression In the esthetic realm, the same gradual maturing of under-standing occurs. The child begins with simple geometric forms, colors,melodies, rhythms, and tales, and step by step becomes capable of en-joying more complex designs in pictures, sounds, bodily movements, andwords. At each level of growth new expressive interests appear, to-gether with new skills in execution and perception. It is the teacher’sfunction to provide a rich esthetic environment and ample encourage-ment for creative expression in the manner appropriate to the child’sphysical, emotional, and intellectual attainment, giving special con-sideration in this domain to the particular interests and capabilitiesof the individual child rather than relying on standardized expecta-tions. This concern for the individual does not negate the value of es-thetic standards and of instruction in esthetic principles by demon-stration and critical evaluation when the student has reached a suf-ficiently advanced stage of esthetic maturity.2 Jean Piaget, The Child’s Conception of Physical Causality, tr. by M.Gabain, Harcourt Brace & World, Inc., New York, 1930.
    • DEVELOPMENTAL FACTORS IN THE 17SEQUENCE OF STUDIESSocial and Moral Values Social and moral values are acquired largely through partici-pation in the life of family, peer groups, and community. The youngchild tends to accept the value orientations of his parents and then ashis horizons widen he takes on values from other significant associa-tions. If the teacher is aware of the source of moral values in thewhole personal-social development process, he will be prepared to in-terpret students’ conduct intelligently and to introduce kinds of deci-sion-making situations in which moral growth may occur. It has beenamply demonstrated that mere verbal indoctrination of moral ideas isnot effective in the improvement of conduct and that a person is notripe for moral learning until he is confronted with situations in whichhe must make personal choices. The wise provision of such experiencesrequires an understanding of the personal maturity level of the stu-dents involved.Growth of Religious Consciousness Finally, inquiries into the growth of religious consciousness maybe of great value in determining the desirable sequence of studies inreligion. Advanced theological ideas are unintelligible to a child.Only gradually does he succeed in grasping the more profound mean-ings of faith. He begins with concepts derived from his experiences inthe home, where love, trust, and the goodness of existence, mediatedby human relationships, are first disclosed to him. Later, these mean-ings may be generalized and deepened to provide the basis for a ma-ture religious faith. Premature introduction of certain religious ideasmay cause permanent distortion of beliefs, and neglect of religious in-struction may deprive the person of needed resources for his personalgrowth. Here, as in all the other domains of meaning, developmentalfactors may be decisive in determining the order of instruction. PSYCHOLOGICALLY JUSTIFIABLE SEQUENCE PATTERNS HAVE BEEN DETERMINED FOR THE ORDERING OF INSTRUCTION The foregoing brief comments about the growth of ideas in lan-guage, mathematics, science, art, morals, and religion are intended toillustrate the significance of knowledge of human development for theordering of instruction. Some of the main subjects of school instruc-tion have been analyzed by scholars in relation to such problems asmaturation, readiness, and motivation. To some extent psychological-ly justifiable sequence patterns have been determined. Far too littleis known about developmental factors in learning, and in every fieldmuch further research remains to be done. Logical And Developmental Factors are Relevant to Decisions About the Sequencing Of Studies In this and the preceding chapters it has been shown that bothlogical and developmental factors are relevant to decisions aboutthe order of instruction. These factors do not wholly determine thecontent of what should be taught. They do, however, set certain lim-its to the selection of materials and provide one kind of pattern fortheir organization. WAYS OF KNOWING
    • 18 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATION1. How are human beings’ behavior patterns learned through in- teraction with the environment?2. How does every stage of development in the nature of the per- son affect what can and what cannot be learned?3. How does maturation limit expected achievement and, to a con- siderable extent, determine the speed of learning?4. Why is the best curriculum for any student one that makes each learning experience available to him as soon as he is ready for it?5. What does “made ready for learning mean?”6. What does the fundamental principle of maximum economy in learning mean?7. How is how well a person learns greatly affected by the fac- tor of motivation?8. Why are the basic goals of students of great importance to the teacher?9. Why is it important in learning for the teacher to remember that each step in development must fit into previous steps so as to form a consistent whole?10. In human development, what generalizations can be made about patterns of growth?11. Why must the teacher be aware of the cultural patterns influ- encing the students?12. Why must the teacher be aware of the cultural patterns influ- encing the students in planning the sequence of studies?13. In using knowledge from the field of human development for planning the curriculum, discuss the threefold distinction be- tween actuality, possibility, and ideality.14. Why are the earliest and most fundamental experiences in per- sonal relations important in life?15. Why should appropriate lessons in the realm of personal rela- tions vary according to the stage in life?16. Why should teaching be planned so as to take account of the particular tasks confronting the person at the stage in life in which he is living?17. Why does the educator need to understand the sources of fail- ure at any stage in the light of possible failures of achieve- ment at earlier stages?18. Why should the educator be prepared to make available such remedial reeducation as may be necessary to shore up the weak foundations?19. Why is it important for the educator to know what the stages in life are continuous with each other, interrelated, and over- lapping?20. How is the development of personal relations intimately con- nected with the development of other kinds of meanings?21. How does developmental analysis confirm conclusions as to the relative priority of the realms based on logical considerations?22. Why is there a need for continuing general education through- out one’s life?23. What specific studies can the average adult profit most fully from after assuming adult roles?24. Why should general education extend beyond the usual period of twelve to sixteen years of formal schooling?
    • DEVELOPMENTAL FACTORS IN THE 19SEQUENCE OF STUDIES25. Why should personal knowledge, ethics, morals, and integra- tive studies have pertinence to every stage of education, even if they may not come fully into their own until a adult life?26. Why do meanings in personal knowledge play a pivotal role?27. Why is the unique role of personal knowledge in all the realms of meaning of great importance both to the teacher and to the student?28. Why is it important that intelligent and sensitive concern for people is the one essential ingredient in providing a good educa- tion?29. What are some findings in developmental psychology that help learners of various levels of maturity?30. Why is it important for the teacher to know what can and what cannot usefully be introduced at any given age of matu- rity?31. Why is it important for the teacher to provide a rich environ- ment and ample encouragement for creative expression in the esthetic realm?32. Why must the teacher pay close attention to the child’s physi- cal, emotional, and intellectual attainment, rather than rely- ing on standardized expectations?33. Why should the teacher understand the personal maturity lev- el of students in trying to improve conduct where moral growth may occur?34. How can premature introduction of certain religious ideas cause permanent distortion of beliefs?35. How can neglect of religious instruction deprive the person of needed resources for his personal growth?36. Why are logical and developmental factors relevant to deci- sions about the sequence of studies?