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Children's Minds

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  113 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Developmental psychologist Margaret Donaldson shows that much of the intellectual framework on which we base our teaching is misleading. We both underestimate the astonishing rational powers of young children and ignore the major stumbling block that children face when starting school.

Given a setting and a language that makes sense to them in human terms, very young childr
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 17th 1979 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1978)
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Lars Guthrie
Mar 15, 2009 Lars Guthrie rated it it was amazing
When I was in the teaching credential program at San Francisco State, I often thought it was odd and even wrong that I was never asked to read the foundational writers of educational theory and child psychology. Students read about Dewey, and Piaget, and Vygotsky, yet we never read the authors themselves.

As I have have forayed into this area of literature since those days, I have discovered one reason why: it's hard to read such work. But surely it's worth the effort. Conversancy with primary s
Aug 15, 2014 Aurelien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Although influenced by his work (she even started her career at his Institut pour les Sciences de l'Education in Geneva) Margaret Donaldson is here rejecting or, at least nuancing, some of Jean Piaget's theories.
Don't worry if you are unfamiliar with those theories! Not only does she explain them before criticising them but, there's also a welcomed Appendix where she outlines them in details, developing their key concepts. Thus, even if the whole deals with complicated quarrels relating from chi
Before I started my new job I wanted to try and get some idea of how children's minds work. This book was recommended to me - it's short and easy to read, and conveys a lot of information in language that is clear and easy to understand. Donaldson looks at the Piagetian theory of child development in terms of mental abilities and comprehension of concepts such as conservation, and uses examples from research to show what children are actually able to do in practice.

Despite not reading it that l
May 30, 2015 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although this is more or less 40 years old, Donaldson's work is still hugely relevant in education today. The points she makes are well researched, clear and sensible and she makes great pains to bridge the gaps for the reader between Piaget's perhaps unfamiliar and esoteric tenets and her own observations, beliefs and criticisms of his work. As a teacher in a deprived area of EAL children, it has been an affirming experience for me hearing how reading and language are vital skills, necessary st ...more
Feb 03, 2009 Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best accounts of how children "see" the world that I have read- and I used to teach developmental psychology at uni. The writing is a bit twisted for the lay reader, but I'd urge parents interested in how their children view their lives and learning, to take a brief look at the chapters on children's points of view. It's fascinating getting into the child's head via the clever experiments Donaldson and her pals dreamed up! I know my kindergarten teacher trainees used to be ama ...more
Oct 22, 2008 Andy rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I forgot almost everything that I read from this book almost immediately upon putting it down. It was for school and my heart (and mind) were not in it. It may be perfectly good. I have no way of knowing.
Jacqui Found
Jul 27, 2011 Jacqui Found rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting read although it seemed at times I was wading through treacle.
Keranjit Kaur
Oct 06, 2012 Keranjit Kaur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting insight into the minds of children and development of thinking.
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