Lars Guthrie's Reviews > The Psychology of the Child

The Psychology of the Child by Jean Piaget
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May 22, 09

Read in May, 2009

After reading Margaret Donaldson's wonderful 'Children's Minds,' I wanted more immersion in the source material covered second hand in my teaching credential program. Piaget was a god, but we never read him. Now, after struggling through this summary of his work produced for a broader audience, I can tell you Piaget is very, very challenging to read, even in 'dumbed-down' form. In the future, I might use excerpts from this as an example of dense prose requiring full engagement when I tell children that adults often have trouble understanding what they read, too. The effort sometimes rewarded me, but it was a real and serious effort.
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message 1: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Given your report, I know this is book is a must but for now it will go in the "someday" file. I'd like to see an example of one passage that required your full engagement.


Lars Guthrie Here you go Lynn:

'Affection alone could not suffice to produce obligation, and fear alone provokes only a physical or self-interested submission, but respect involves both affection and the fear associated with the position of the inferior in relation to the superior, and therefore suffices to determine the acceptance of orders and consequently the sense of obligation.

'The sentiment described…constitutes only one of two possible forms of respect. We shall call it "unilateral," since it binds an inferior to a superior who is regarded as such, and shall distinguish it from "mutual respect," which is based on reciprocity of esteem. Unilateral respect, if it is indeed the source of the sense of duty, begets in the young child a morality of obedience which is characterized primarily by a heteronomy that declines to make way, at least partially, for the autonomy of mutual respect.'

One of my goals is to help children move from 'a morality of obedience' and 'unilateral respect' to 'mutual respect.'



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