cal and biological concepts, causality, number, and language (Carey and Gelman, 1991).

  1. Strategies and metacognition Outside of these privileged domains children, like all learners, must depend on will, ingenuity, and effort to enhance their learning. It was previously thought that young children lacked the strategic competence and knowledge about learning (metacognition) to learn intentionally, but the last 30 years have witnessed a great deal of research that reveals hitherto unrecognized strategic and metacognitive competence in the young (Brown and DeLoache, 1978; DeLoache et al., 1998).

  2. Theories of mind As they mature, children develop theories of what it means to learn and understand that profoundly influence how they situate themselves in settings that demand effortful and intentional learning (Bereiter and Scardamalia, 1989). Children entertain various theories of mind and intelligence (Dweck and Legget, 1988). Indeed, not all learners in schools come ready to learn in exactly the same way. Some theorists argue that there is more than one way to learn, more than one way to be “intelligent.” Understanding that there are multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1983) may suggest ways of helping children learn by supporting their strengths and working with their weakenesses.

  3. Children and community Although a great deal of children’s learning is self-motivated and self-directed, other people play major roles as guides in fostering the development of learning in children. Such guides include other children as well as adults (caretakers, parents, teachers, coaches, etc.). But not only people can serve as guides; so, too, can powerful tools and cultural artifacts, notably television, books, videos, and technological devices of many kinds (Wright and Huston, 1995). A great deal of research on such assisted learning has been influenced by Vygotsky’s notion of zones of proximal development and the increasing popularity of the concept of “communities of learners,” be they face-to-face or through electronic media and technologies (see Chapters 8 and 9).

Methodological Advances

The large increase in the number of studies that address early learning came about as a result of methodological advances in the field of developmental psychology. Much of what is now known about the human mind comes from the study of how infants learn. This work demonstrates that the human mind is a biologically prepared organism (Carey and Gelman, 1991). In order to study what babies know and can learn about readily, researchers needed to develop techniques of “asking” infants, who cannot speak, what they know. Because infants are so limited physically, experimenters interested in finding out how babies think had to find methods suitable to an infant’s motor capabilities. New ways were developed for measuring what



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