The present study examined young children’s analogical performance and strategy use in both classical and problem analogies in an attempt to bridge the gap between children’s strategy use across both types of analogy. There were three studies in all; the classical analogy tasks monitored sixty-four, 3, 4 and 5-year-olds’ performance on two separate occasions, six months apart; study 2 monitored thirty-four, 3 and 4-year-olds’ strategy use on problem analogies, at week one and week 30; and the microgenetic study followed thirty, 4 and 5-year-olds strategy use over a 30 week period, at weekly intervals. The results revealed that children relied on a number of strategies and their choices varied over the 30 week period. The microgenetic methodology provided us with a chance to monitor intra- and inter-individual changes. The problem analogies raised awareness of a number of performance factors that affect children’s strategy choices. These included relational knowledge, relational difficulty, practice and transfer. Children’s ability to use analogy improved over time with practice, and some children showed consistency in their use of analogy over certain tasks, but often regressed to less effective strategies on subsequent tasks The use of individual case studies provided an in depth account of children’s patterns of behaviour over the observation period. This allowed us to explore children’s rate of change, path and breadth in strategy choices and what affected these changes. The case studies provided strong evidence for a gradual wave-like change in children’s analogical development. The theoretical and educational implications of this were discussed. It can be concluded that preschool children continue to find analogy difficult and the findings of strategic variability highlights the fact that 4- and 5-year-olds are in a period of transition in the development of analogical reasoning.
|Date of Award||2010|