Locating learning of toddlers in the individual/society and mind/body divides
In this paper, theories about learning are discussed in relationship to toddlers locating themselves in space. This is important given the current debate about the mathematics that very young children can or should learn. Regardless of whether learning is seen as an individual or a social activity, learning theories of Piaget and Vygotsky emphasise the cognitive nature of learning and the need for linguistic reflektion on that learning. In order not to situate toddlers as deficient or irrational because they do not express their reflections linguistically, I suggest that learning should be considered as problem solving that occurs both with the mind and the body. Using examples of toddlers engaging in spatial explorations, I illustrate how learning mathematics can be reconceptualised in this way.
Tamsin Meaney is professor of mathematics education at Bergen University College, having previously been professor at Malmö University. She has worked in teacher education in New Zealand, Australia, Sweden and Norway. Her research interests are varied but centre around the need for mathematics education to support social justice concerns. Whilst in Sweden she started the research group, Young children’s mathematics, with researchers from Norway, Sweden and USA.