Answers to Questions About Learning and School
Parents send their children to school and trust that the "magic" of learning happens. Parents often think they know about school because they went to school. People who have worked in school know it is quite different from what they remember from childhood.
When children have no problems in school, parents don't think to ask questions. When children have difficulties, parents often don't understand the situation and try to deal with the consequences of the problems. This page attempts to simply answer common questions that many parents have about school and how their children learn.
- Why don't my child's teachers teach what my child needs to know?
- Who decides what my child will learn?
- What is taught in each level of school?
- What does it mean that my child's school is in crisis?
- Is this a good system of grading schools?
- What are educators doing?
- What is the difference between remediation and intervention?
- School Safety
- Cognitive Development
- School Readiness
About cognitive development...
- What is cognitive development?
- How does cognitive development happen?
- How do children learn?
For purposes of children's learning levels, the types of learning are:
1. Experiential concrete – the actual object or experience (such as a young child's experiences with toys and events). Early childhood and preschool emphasize this level. Discussions about the experiences, attributes, functions, etc., help make children aware of the importance of qualities of objects or experiences so they can fit them into their personal mental structures. There is no original thought by the learner that happens at this phase.
2. Representational – realistic and graphic representations (such as photographs or drawings) and words (such as discussion about the object or experience). Currently this level encompasses kindergarten through third or fourth grades where teachers and texts presume the child has had experience with what is pictured or something similar. Learners deal with what is learned; they recite information about what had been learned. Information can be applied to different situations, but without original twists or understanding.
3. Abstract or conceptual – thoughts, ideas and applications of the object or experience. This learning relies on learners being able to hold concepts not experienced in mind, manipulating those concepts in applied or theoretical situations and get meaning from every application. This is when original thoughts and ideas emerge. Currently this level begins in middle school and becomes increasingly complex and abstract through high school and adulthood.
- What is a learning modality?
- Is my child "fast" or "slow" in developing?
Click here to listen to recordings of Dr. Jennifer Little discussing various topics relating to education.