Exploring Cognitive Development: The Child As Problem Solver / Edition 1

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This book uses the paradigm of the child as a problem solver to examine various theories of cognitive development.

  • Provides balanced coverage of a broad range of contemporary theories.
  • Focuses on collaborative tasks which are carried out with other children or adults.
  • Asks whether social interaction is the key to improvement in problem solving skills, or whether it is the skills and abilities that the child brings to the task that are paramount.
  • Draws on a wide range of research, including the author’s own research into dyadic problem solving.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is an exciting and provocative account of children’s intellectual activities. Alison Garton makes a persuasive case that, in order to understand intellectual development, we must study the social context in which it takes place." Professor Peter Bryant, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford

"With up-to-date coverage, excellent descriptions of research and a sociocultural approach to problem solving, this book fills an important niche." Robert S. Siegler, Teresa Heinz Professor of Cognitive Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University

"Well grounded in the work of Piaget and Vygotsky, Alison Garton’s wide-ranging account of children’s problem solving encompasses the latest cognitive developmental and social cognitive theories. As well as having conceptual depth, the book is enjoyable to read." Graeme Halford, Professor of Psychology, University of Queensland

"Alison Garton’s new book is an excellent, highly readable, examination of children as problem solvers. Garton provides a refreshing account of the social aspects of problem solving as she examines not only the effects of collaboration but also the processes whereby children’s learning is enhanced (bringing about cognitive change) and ultimately their longer-term cognitive development. Equally important, she nicely covers what it is that individual children bring to the collaborative experience—their personal characteristics (flexibility, motivation, sociability, friendship with the social partner, etc.) that can have a dramatic impact on the problem-solving experience and consequences. While acknowledging the influence of Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories, and highlighting some of the best research based on these theories, Garton persuades us of the importance of going beyond them. This book should find a home on the bookshelves of all who are interested in children’s cognitive development." Dr Jonathan Tudge, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

"A course book with the approach of the child as problem solver both in a social, collaborative sense and in relation to their own intrinsic skills. It explores in particular ways in which collaboration influences the cognitive outcome. It reviews the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky and proposes that a frutiful approach lies in examining characteristics of children that may lead them to benefit from collaboration." Scientific and Medical Network Review, Summer 2005

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631234586
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison F. Garton is Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. She is the author of Learning to be Literate (Blackwell Publishing, Second Edition, 1998) and Social Interaction and the Development of Language and Cognition (1992), and the editor of Systems of Representation in Children (1993).

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Table of Contents


1. Introduction:.

Problem Solving.

Social Explanations for Cognitive Change.

Change in the Context of Interactive/Collaborative Problem Solving.

Domain Specific Knowledge.

Children’s Potential to Change.

Theories of Mind.

The Way Forward.

2. Theoretical Overview:.

Piaget and Vygotsky: Is There Any Common Ground?.

Peer Interaction: Various Perspectives.

Implications for Piagetian and Vygotskian Theories.

Research on Collaboration: Beyond Social Interaction.

Sociocultural Theory.

Dynamic Systems.

Nature of the Problem to be Solved.

How Else Can Problem Solving be Described and Explained?.

3. Strategy Use And Learning In Problem Solving:.


Domains as Constraints on Cognitive Development.

Innateness and Domain-Specificity.

Domains and the Social Environment.

Strategy Choice.

Learning New Strategies.

4. Social Problem Solving:.

Peer Interaction and Problem Solving: A Theoretical Conundrum.

Peer Interaction In the Classroom.

Peer Interaction and Adult-Child Interaction.

Theory of Mind and Problem Solving.

Self-regulation In Problem Solving.

Help Seeking In Problem Solving.

The Role of Talk In Collaborative Problem Solving.


5. What The Child Brings To The Task:.

Readiness to Benefit From Interaction.

Cognitive Flexibility.

Friendship and Sociability.

Motivation to Collaborate.

6. Summary, Review And Implications:.

What and How Revisited.

Difficulties Yet to be Surmounted.



Author Index.

Subject Index

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