Q.1 Explain the system of Elementary education in Pakistan. Describe the steps taken by the government for compulsory education.
There has been much talk and debate regarding quality education in Pakistan. Ironically, they all revolve around mostly the types, sources and content of education instead of stages, particularly the most crucial and decisive stage i.e., elementary education.
There has been little progress in recent years in developing new and existing programmers for adolescent learners in government schools at elementary level.
Exploratory programmers, counseling programmers and health and physical education programmers are being cut back in government schools. The education has been narrowed down to teaching of rote-skills and transmission of knowledge. This mere imitation and content-centered elementary education has shortchanged the area of personnel development of the learners. This fact of failure of government elementary education has been put in the back burner in the face of doing what is easier and less costly, but the negation of various ongoing sustained social changes experienced by the emerging learners has become the practice of the day. These social changes are:
- The family pattern of a mother at home and a father working is increasingly
- The suicide rate in teenagers are increasing due to different
- It is estimated that pre and early adolescents spend one third of their waking hours in watching television, surfing social websites on internet and playing online
- 75 per cent of all advertising is aimed at promoting mobile brands, mobile networks and mobile packages.
- Lack of a stable home is a big contributor to
The elementary level is comprised of the students with most impressionable age group where various social changes make indelible prints on their minds. These years represent the last chance for the students to master basic skills, lasting attitude towards learning and assertion of self and individualistic differences. Success at elementary school, or the future life, can be determined and predicted for this age group.
The associations such as The National Middle School Association, Pakistan Montessori Council, and Pakistan Elementary Teachers Association are striving for a balanced elementary curriculum by organizing frequent conferences and workshops for the educators who are engaged in imparting basic education. However, the government should patronize the associations and educational organizations by allocating a large part of budget. Moreover, the government educationist and administrative authorities should make sure that the content is cognitive learning oriented.
It must be diversified and exploratory based on real life situations and indigenous experiences. Consequently, it could enhance the development of problem solving skills and reflective thinking process among the students. This would also help the students to acknowledge and appraise their own interests and talents.
Q.2 Explain information process model with reference to cognitive development in elementary school years.
Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development suggests that children move through four different stages of mental development. His theory focuses not only on understanding how children acquire knowledge, but also on understanding the nature of intelligence. Piaget’s stages are:
- Sensorimotor stage: birth to 2 years
- Preoperational stage: ages 2 to 7
- Concrete operational stage: ages 7 to 11
- Formal operational stage: ages 12 and up
Piaget believed that children take an active role in the learning process, acting much like little scientists as they perform experiments, make observations, and learn about the world. As kids interact with the world around them, they continually add new knowledge, build upon existing knowledge, and adapt previously held ideas to accommodate new information.
Piaget was born in Switzerland in the late 1800s and was a precocious student, publishing his first scientific paper when he was just 11 years old. His early exposure to the intellectual development of children came when he worked as an assistant to Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon as they worked to standardize their famous IQ test.
Much of Piaget’s interest in the cognitive development of children was inspired by his observations of his own nephew and daughter. These observations reinforced his budding hypothesis that children’s minds were not merely smaller versions of adult minds.
Up until this point in history, children were largely treated simply as smaller versions of adults. Piaget was one of the first to identify that the way that children think is different from the way adults think.
Instead, he proposed, intelligence is something that grows and develops through a series of stages. Older children do not just think more quickly than younger children, he suggested. Instead, there are both qualitative and quantitative differences between the thinking of young children versus older children.
Based on his observations, he concluded that children were not less intelligent than adults, they simply think differently. Albert Einstein called Piaget’s discovery “so simple only a genius could have thought of it.”
Piaget’s stage theory describes the cognitive development of children. Cognitive development involves changes in cognitive process and abilities. In Piaget’s view, early cognitive development involves processes based upon actions and later progresses to changes in mental operations.
The Sensorimotor Stage
Ages: Birth to 2 Years
Major Characteristics and Developmental Changes:
- The infant knows the world through their movements and sensations
- Children learn about the world through basic actions such as sucking, grasping, looking, and listening
- Infants learn that things continue to exist even though they cannot be seen
- They are separate beings from the people and objects around them
- They realize that their actions can cause things to happen in the world around them
During this earliest stage of cognitive development, infants and toddlers acquire knowledge through sensory experiences and manipulating objects. A child’s entire experience at the earliest period of this stage occurs through basic reflexes, senses, and motor responses.
It is during the sensorimotor stage that children go through a period of dramatic growth and learning. As kids interact with their environment, they are continually making new discoveries about how the world works.
The cognitive development that occurs during this period takes place over a relatively short period of time and involves a great deal of growth. Children not only learn how to perform physical actions such as crawling and walking; they also learn a great deal about language from the people with whom they interact. Piaget also broke this stage down into a number of different substages. It is during the final part of the sensorimotor stage that early representational thought emerges.
Piaget believed that developing object permanence or object constancy, the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, was an important element at this point of development.
By learning that objects are separate and distinct entities and that they have an existence of their own outside of individual perception, children are then able to begin to attach names and words to objects.
The Preoperational Stage
Ages: 2 to 7 Years
Major Characteristics and Developmental Changes:
- Children begin to think symbolically and learn to use words and pictures to represent objects.
- Children at this stage tend to be egocentric and struggle to see things from the perspective of others.
- While they are getting better with language and thinking, they still tend to think about things in very concrete terms.
The foundations of language development may have been laid during the previous stage, but it is the emergence of language that is one of the major hallmarks of the preoperational stage of development. Children become much more skilled at pretend play during this stage of development, yet continue to think very concretely about the world around them. At this stage, kids learn through pretend play but still struggle with logic and taking the point of view of other people. They also often struggle with understanding the idea of constancy.
For example, a researcher might take a lump of clay, divide it into two equal pieces, and then give a child the choice between two pieces of clay to play with. One piece of clay is rolled into a compact ball while the other is smashed into a flat pancake shape. Since the flat shape looks larger, the preoperational child will likely choose that piece even though the two pieces are exactly the same size.
The Concrete Operational Stage
Ages: 7 to 11 Years
Major Characteristics and Developmental Changes
- During this stage, children begin to thinking logically about concrete events
- They begin to understand the concept of conservation; that the amount of liquid in a short, wide cup is equal to that in a tall, skinny glass, for example
- Their thinking becomes more logical and organized, but still very concrete
- Children begin using inductive logic, or reasoning from specific information to a general principle
While children are still very concrete and literal in their thinking at this point in development, they become much more adept at using logic.2 The egocentrism of the previous stage begins to disappear as kids become better at thinking about how other people might view a situation.
While thinking becomes much more logical during the concrete operational state, it can also be very rigid. Kids at this point in development tend to struggle with abstract and hypothetical concepts.
During this stage, children also become less egocentric and begin to think about how other people might think and feel. Kids in the concrete operational stage also begin to understand that their thoughts are unique to them and that not everyone else necessarily shares their thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
The Formal Operational Stage
Ages: 12 and Up
Major Characteristics and Developmental Changes:
- At this stage, the adolescent or young adult begins to think abstractly and reason about hypothetical problems
- Abstract thought emerges
- Teens begin to think more about moral, philosophical, ethical, social, and political issues that require theoretical and abstract reasoning
- Begin to use deductive logic, or reasoning from a general principle to specific information
The final stage of Piaget’s theory involves an increase in logic, the ability to use deductive reasoning, and an understanding of abstract ideas.3 At this point, people become capable of seeing multiple potential solutions to problems and think more scientifically about the world around them.
The ability to thinking about abstract ideas and situations is the key hallmark of the formal operational stage of cognitive development. The ability to systematically plan for the future and reason about hypothetical situations are also critical abilities that emerge during this stage.
It is important to note that Piaget did not view children’s intellectual development as a quantitative process; that is, kids do not just add more information and knowledge to their existing knowledge as they get older. Instead, Piaget suggested that there is a qualitative change in how children think as they gradually process through these four stages.4 A child at age 7 doesn’t just have more information about the world than he did at age 2; there is a fundamental change in how he thinks about the world.
Q.3 Elucidate Piaget’s concept of reversibility and transitivity.
The concrete operational stage is the third stage in Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. This period lasts around seven to eleven years of age, and is characterized by the development of organized and rational thinking.
Piaget (1954a) considered the concrete stage a major turning point in the child’s cognitive development, because it marks the beginning of logical or operational thought. The child is now mature enough to use logical thought or operations (i.e. rules) but can only apply logic to physical objects (hence concrete operational).
Children gain the abilities of conservation (number, area, volume, orientation), reversibility, seriation, transitivity and class inclusion. However, although children can solve problems in a logical fashion, they are typically not able to think abstractly or hypothetically.
The child develops an ability to think abstractly and to make rational judgements about concrete or observable phenomena, which in the past he needed to manipulate physically to understand. Logic: Piaget determined that children in the concrete operational stage were able to incorporate inductive logic. On the other hand, children at this age have difficulty using deductive logic, which involves using a general principle to predict the outcome of a specific event. Reversibility: An example of this is being able to reverse the order of relationships between mental categories. For example, a child might be able to recognize that his or her dog is a Labrador, that a Labrador is a dog, and that a dog is an animal.
The concrete operational stage is the third of four stages of cognitive development in Piaget’s theory. This stage, which follows the preoperational stage, occurs between the ages of 7 and 11 years and is characterized by the appropriate use of logic. Important processes during this stage are:
Seriation—the ability to sort objects in an order according to size, shape, or any other characteristic. For example, if given different-shaded objects they may make a color gradient.
Transitivity– Transitivity, which refers to the ability to recognize relationships among various things in a serial order. For example, when told to put away his books according to height, the child recognizes that he starts with placing the tallest one on one end of the bookshelf and the shortest one ends up at the other end.
Classification—the ability to name and identify sets of objects according to appearance, size or other characteristic, including the idea that one set of objects can include another.
Decentering—where the child takes into account multiple aspects of a problem to solve it. For example, the child will no longer perceive an exceptionally wide but short cup to contain less than a normally-wide, taller cup.
Reversibility—the child understands that numbers or objects can be changed, then returned to their original state. For example, during this stage, a child understands that a favorite ball that deflates is not gone but can be filled with air again and put back into play.
Conservation—understanding that quantity, length or number of items is unrelated to the arrangement or appearance of the object or items.
Elimination of Egocentrism—the ability to view things from another’s perspective (even if they think incorrectly). For instance, show a child a comic in which Jane puts a doll under a box, leaves the room, and then Melissa moves the doll to a drawer, and Jane comes back. A child in the concrete operations stage will say that Jane will still think it’s under the box even though the child knows it is in the drawer.
At between about the ages of 4 and 7, children tend to become very curious and ask many questions, beginning the use of primitive reasoning. There is an emergence in the interest of reasoning and wanting to know why things are the way they are. Piaget called it the “intuitive substage” because children realize they have a vast amount of knowledge, but they are unaware of how they acquired it. Centration, conservation, irreversibility, class inclusion, and transitive inference are all characteristics of preoperative thought. Centration is the act of focusing all attention on one characteristic or dimension of a situation, whilst disregarding all others. Conservation is the awareness that altering a substance’s appearance does not change its basic properties. Children at this stage are unaware of conservation and exhibit centration. Both centration and conservation can be more easily understood once familiarized with Piaget’s most famous experimental task.
In this task, a child is presented with two identical beakers containing the same amount of liquid. The child usually notes that the beakers do contain the same amount of liquid. When one of the beakers is poured into a taller and thinner container, children who are younger than seven or eight years old typically say that the two beakers no longer contain the same amount of liquid, and that the taller container holds the larger quantity (centration), without taking into consideration the fact that both beakers were previously noted to contain the same amount of liquid. Due to superficial changes, the child was unable to comprehend that the properties of the substances continued to remain the same (conservation).
Irreversibility is a concept developed in this stage which is closely related to the ideas of centration and conservation. Irreversibility refers to when children are unable to mentally reverse a sequence of events. In the same beaker situation, the child does not realize that, if the sequence of events was reversed and the water from the tall beaker was poured back into its original beaker, then the same amount of water would exist. Another example of children’s reliance on visual representations is their misunderstanding of “less than” or “more than”. When two rows containing equal numbers of blocks are placed in front of a child, one row spread farther apart than the other, the child will think that the row spread farther contains more blocks.
Class inclusion refers to a kind of conceptual thinking that children in the preoperational stage cannot yet grasp. Children’s inability to focus on two aspects of a situation at once inhibits them from understanding the principle that one category or class can contain several different subcategories or classes. For example, a four-year-old girl may be shown a picture of eight dogs and three cats. The girl knows what cats and dogs are, and she is aware that they are both animals. However, when asked, “Are there more dogs or animals?” she is likely to answer “more dogs”. This is due to her difficulty focusing on the two subclasses and the larger class all at the same time. She may have been able to view the dogs as dogs or animals, but struggled when trying to classify them as both, simultaneously. Similar to this is concept relating to intuitive thought, known as “transitive inference”.
Transitive inference is using previous knowledge to determine the missing piece, using basic logic. Children in the preoperational stage lack this logic. An example of transitive inference would be when a child is presented with the information “A” is greater than “B” and “B” is greater than “C”. This child may have difficulty here understanding that “A” is also greater than “C”.
Q.4 Explain the concept of physical fitness, also state the purpose of physical and health education. Suggest ways to integrate health education with other subjects.
Physical education is an integral part of the total education of every child in Kindergarten through Grade 12.
Quality physical education programs are needed to increase the physical competence, health-related fitness, self-responsibility and enjoyment of physical activity for all students so that they can be physically active for a lifetime. Physical education programs can only provide these benefits if they are well-planned and well-implemented.
Improved Physical Fitness: Improves children’s muscular strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, body composition and cardiovascular endurance
Skill Development: Develops motor skills, which allow for safe, successful and satisfying participation in physical activities.
Regular, Healthful Physical Activity: Provides a wide-range of developmentally appropriate activities for all children.
Support of Other Subject Areas: Reinforces knowledge learned across the curriculum. Serves as a lab for application of content in science, math and social studies.
Self-Discipline: Facilitates development of student responsibility for health and fitness.
Improved Judgment: Quality physical education can influence moral development. Students have the opportunity to assume leadership, cooperate with others; question actions and regulations and accept responsibility for their own behavior.
Stress Reduction: Physical activity becomes an outlet for releasing tension and anxiety, and facilitates emotional stability and resilience.
Strengthened Peer Relationships: Physical education can be a major force in helping children socialize with others successfully and provides opportunities to learn positive people skills. Especially during late childhood and adolescence, being able to participate in dances, games and sports is an important part of peer culture.
Improved Self-confidence and Self-esteem: Physical education instills a stronger sense of self-worth in children based on their mastery of skills and concepts in physical activity. They can become more confident, assertive, independent and self-controlled.
Regular physical activity participation throughout childhood provides immediate health benefits, by positively effecting body composition and muscular-skeletal development, and reducing the presence of coronary heart disease risk factors. In recognition of these health benefits, physical activity guidelines for children and youth have been developed by the Health Education Authority. The primary recommendation advocates the accumulation of 1 hour’s physical activity per day of at least moderate intensity (i.e. the equivalent of brisk walking), through lifestyle, recreational and structured activity forms. A secondary recommendation is that children take part in activities that help develop and maintain muscular-skeletal health, on at least two occasions per week. This target may be addressed through weight-bearing activities that focus on developing muscular strength, endurance and flexibility, and bone health.
School physical education (PE) provides a context for regular and structured physical activity participation. To this end a common justification for PE’s place in the school curriculum is that it contributes to children’s health and fitness. The extent to which this rationale is accurate is arguable and has seldom been tested. However, there would appear to be some truth in the supposition because PE is commonly highlighted as a significant contributor to help young people achieve their daily volume of physical activity. The important role that PE has in promoting health-enhancing physical activity is exemplified in the US ‘Health of the Nation’ targets. These include three PE-associated objectives, two of which relate to increasing the number of schools providing and students participating in daily PE classes. The third objective is to improve the number of students who are engaged in beneficial physical activity for at least 50% of lesson time. However, research evidence suggests that this criterion is somewhat ambitious and, as a consequence, is rarely achieved during regular PE lessons.
The potential difficulties of achieving such a target are associated with the diverse aims of PE. These aims are commonly accepted by physical educators throughout the world, although their interpretation, emphasis and evaluation may differ between countries. According to Simons-Morton, PE’s overarching goals should be (1) for students to take part in appropriate amounts of physical activity during lessons, and (2) become educated with the knowledge and skills to be physically active outside school and throughout life. The emphasis of learning during PE might legitimately focus on motor, cognitive, social, spiritual, cultural or moral development. These aspects may help cultivate students’ behavioural and personal skills to enable them to become lifelong physical activity participants. However, to achieve this, these aspects should be delivered within a curriculum which provides a diverse range of physical activity experiences so students can make informed decisions about which ones they enjoy and feel competent at. However, evidence suggests that team sports dominate English PE curricula, yet bear limited relation to the activities that young people participate in, out of school and after compulsory education. In order to promote life-long physical activity a broader base of PE activities needs to be offered to reinforce the fact that it is not necessary for young people to be talented sportspeople to be active and healthy.
Physical Education (PE) develops students’ competence and confidence to take part in a range of physical activities that become a central part of their lives, both in and out of school.
A high-quality PE curriculum enables all students to enjoy and succeed in many kinds of physical activity. They develop a wide range of skills and the ability to use tactics, strategies and compositional ideas to perform successfully. When they are performing, they think about what they are doing, they analyse the situation and make decisions. They also reflect on their own and others’ performances and find ways to improve upon them. As a result, they develop the confidence to take part in different physical activities and learn about the value of healthy, active lifestyles.
Discovering what they like to do, what their aptitudes are at school, and how and where to get involved in physical activity helps them make informed choices about lifelong physical activity. PE helps students develop personally and socially. They work as individuals, in groups and in teams, developing concepts of fairness and of personal and social responsibility. They take on different roles and responsibilities, including leadership, coaching and officiating. Through the range of experiences that PE offers, they learn how to be effective in competitive, creative and challenging situations. Aims are:
- encourage a healthy and active lifestyle throughout the school body
- nurture sportsmanship in all aspects of competition
- widen each student’s sporting experience and enjoyment
- create a passion for active recreation and sport
- assist students in reaching their physical potential in a variety of sporting environments.
Q.5 Differentiate between lecture and demonstration method. Explain which one is suitable for teaching which subjects at elementary level in Pakistan?
Lecture-cum-demonstration includes the merits of the lecture as well as demonstration method. It attempts to filter out the disadvantages of both. Demonstration means ‘to show’. In Lecture method teacher just tells but in demonstration method teacher shows and illustrates certain fundamental phenomena.
Characteristics of good demonstration
- One major idea at a time
- Clear cut
- Supplemented with other teaching aids
- Asking relevant questions
- Neat, clean and tidiness
- Simple and speedy
- To write observation
- Teacher to act as performer
- Sufficient time
Steps in Lecture-cum-demonstration
Planning and Presentation: While planning a demonstration the following points should be kept in mind.
- Subject matter
- Lesson planning
- Rehearsal of experiment
- Collection and arrangement of apparatus
Introduction of lesson: The lesson may be introduced on the following basis
- Student’s personal experience
- Student’s environment
- Telling story
- A simple and interesting experiment
Presentation of the subject matter
The teacher must study the subject matter on broad basis taking into consideration the interest and experience of students. While demonstration is going on, question should also be asked which help the students to understand the principles.
The teacher should try to illustrate the facts and principles.
Language used by teacher should be simple and clear.
- Demonstration should be properly spaced and striking, clear and convincing
- The demonstration table should have only apparatus
- The experiment should be simple and speedy
- All the apparatus should not be displayed at once
A big blackboard behind the demonstration table is necessary in order to summarize the principles and other matters of demonstration and also to draw necessary diagrams and sketches.
Advantages of Lecture-cum-Demonstration Method
- Economical: This method is economical as it helps in economizing resources
- Psychological Method: Demonstration method psychological as the students are shown concrete things.
- This method is especially useful where
The apparatus is expensive
The experiment involves some danger
The apparatus is sensitive to break
The experiment involves some difficult and complex operation
- Student participation
- Save time and effort
- Helpful to promote useful discussion
- More efficient method
- Activity method
- Useful for all types of students
- Helpful for teacher
Disadvantages of Lecture-cum-demonstration Method
- Ignore maxim of education: The maxim of education, ‘Learning by Doing’ and the principles of psychology of learning has no place in this method.
- Visibility: Visibility is main problem for a teacher because all the students may not be able to see the details and results of a demonstration
- Speed of experiment: Either too fast or too slow speed of demonstration sometimes may create trouble
- Ignore individual difference: This method totally ignores the main principle of psychology.
- Hinder progress: This method somehow hinder the development of laboratory skills among the students
- Not useful for developing scientific attitude.