The Art and Science of How People Learn - Revised Edition
Edited By Greg S. Goodman
49. Once Upon a Theory: Using Picture Books to Help Students Understand Educational Psychology
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Once Upon a Theory
Using Picture Books to Help Students Understand Educational Psychology
Debby Zambo & Cory Cooper Hansen
Imagine a college instructor reading the picture book Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes (1996) to her class of 38 preservice teachers enrolled in an educational psychology course. As she reads, the students listen to the story and focus their attention on the story’s illustrations being projected on a screen at the front of the room. After reading each page and examining each illustration, the instructor poses questions to spark discussion about the main character, Lilly, and how her actions are typical of children in the preoperational stage of cognitive development (Piaget & Inhelder, 2000). The students’ replies indicate that they are connecting the story to experiences in their intern classrooms and their assigned textbook readings. For example, after reading the page where Lilly disrupts story time because she wants to share her purple plastic purse and movie star sunglasses, one student tells the class about a child in his mentor’s classroom who is just like Lilly. He talks about the thinking of preoperational children and the strategies his mentor uses with children this age. Another student connects Lilly’s behavior to the word egocentric, a term she read in the course text. She notes that preoperational children, like Lilly, can be egocentric in their thinking: they do not see the perspectives of others and believe...
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