Does Pedagogy or Insight Constrain Tool Innovation in Young Children?

Schull, Ashleigh (2014). Does Pedagogy or Insight Constrain Tool Innovation in Young Children? Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Schull, Ashleigh
Thesis Title Does Pedagogy or Insight Constrain Tool Innovation in Young Children?
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-08
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Mark Nielsen
Total pages 72
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Despite young children’s remarkable capacity for tool use and manufacture, current research appears to suggest they are poor tool innovators. This thesis investigated two possible causes for children’s poor innovation. Until now, research has presented tool innovation tasks solely within heavily structured, pedagogical environments. Hence, my first objective was to investigate the potential constraining influence of pedagogy on children’s innovation. Second to this, I investigated whether providing children with more information about the affordances of task materials (i.e. malleability) would facilitate their innovative performance. Fifty-two children aged between 3.5- to 5.5-years were presented with innovation problems. These tasks were presented either within a pedagogical environment or a non-pedagogical environment. Moreover, prior to being given these tasks, half of the children watched a demonstration, which highlighted the affordances of task materials and their use. Children’s performance was then analysed according to whether they modified the task materials, innovated a tool, and/or achieved success on the task. Pedagogy did not constrain children’s performance. Rather, pedagogy was found to increase children’s success, and to a lesser degree, their frequency of innovation. No effect of pedagogy on children’s modification was evident. Secondly, as predicted, providing more information about the affordances of task materials improved children’s modification, success, and to a marginal extent, their frequency of innovation. These results are interpreted according to the theory of natural pedagogy and the argument that tool innovation is an inherently ill-structured problem.
Keyword Pedagogy

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Created: Mon, 27 Apr 2015, 09:28:22 EST by Anita Whybrow on behalf of School of Psychology