Piaget for dance educators: A theoretical study

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan W. Stinson, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Most individuals who spend serious time with children recognize that children are not simply small versions of adults. Not only are their bodies different, but they also think differently. The dance educator, just like other educators, must attempt to see the world from the child's point of view if the teaching-learning process is to be successful. One framework for conceiving the world from the child's point of view comes from Jean Piaget, a scientist who was interested in the development of cognitive skills used in science — ordering, classifying, inferring, thinking in propositions, and hypothesizing. Such skills are important not only in science, but in any logical use of the intellect. Inasmuch as dance educators claim interest in the child's intellectual as well as emotional and physical self, an understanding of Piaget's theories may generate valuable insight. Yet neither Piaget nor his many followers who have applied his theories to specific areas of education have examined dance education through this lens. The major purpose of this paper is to “translate” Piaget's findings into situations encountered by the dance educator, and to demonstrate the usefulness of this framework in making sense of children's behavior in the dance setting. Sections I-III are designed as much for the practitioner as the researcher in dance education; I submit apologies to those for whom a review of Piaget's theory is tiresome. It will be noted that this is not an empirical study, but I hope it may direct empirically minded researchers into fruitful areas of study in dance education. It must also be noted that many of Piaget's conclusions have been questioned by more recent researchers using different kinds of situations for observation. My own concerns regarding Piagetian theory relate less to the validity of specific observations than to larger limitations of this framework in relation to dance education. A second purpose of this paper is to briefly explore those limitations.

Additional Information

Dance Research Journal, l7(1), 9-16
Language: English
Date: 1985
Dance education, Children, Jean Piaget

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