Supporting creative learning in history
Piaget’s theory that thinking develops through stages, which are qualitatively different, can be criticised but remains broadly relevant. It posits a sequence in the development of argument. Initially thinking is dominated by intuitive trial and error and by a child’s own experiences and feelings. At the next stage, concrete operations, a child is able to take in information from the tangible world, fit it into his or her own mental patterns – adjusting these sometimes to accommodate new information – and so store it, in order to use it selectively to address problems. The child is therefore able to form a reasoned premise and support it with a logical argument. At the third stage of formal operations the learner can think in abstract terms (if … then, either … or, when … is not, both … and … and), to weigh all the possible variables in an argument.