Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lecture 5: Summaries


  1. The Little Bear is an integral component in connecting the vast expanse of Northern Ontario to the rest of the world. It runs year round, carrying both freight and passengers from the small Southern Ontario town of Cochrane 310 kilometres North of Moosonee, in the James Bay woodlands. The freight is carried on flat cars, which are loaded with heavy duty material such as construction equipment, and box cars which carry goods such as produce and mail. It makes stops anywhere people desire, making it one of the last remaining "flag stop" trains. The train will continue to provide transport to remote areas of Ontario for years to come.

  2. Alison Gopnik’s essay “Kiddy Thinks” (Guardian Weekly, February 3-9, 2000) lays the groundwork for explaining the “extremely powerful learning abilities” (p.269) of children, and explains how they are not what some have believed to be the opposite of adults, but scientists, involved in a systematic process of constant observance, trial, and error. Already distinguishing between facial expressions at nine months, and learning to accept what we accept by the age of one, she chronologically lists the ages at which babies are able do specific tasks. The “terrible twos” are when the obvious signs of explorative ideas are apparent. Gopnik says often toddlers will test the extent to which their desires and those of others may conflict. (p.271) “The terrible twos reflect a clash between children’s need to understand other people and their need to live happily with them”. (p.271) Though demonstrating a strong understanding of developmental skills by the age of two, she claims children still lack some common principles by the age of three. Gopnik provides us with the details of a classic experiment. You provide a child with a shut chocolate box, they open the box and see pencils inside, but when the child is asked what his friend will think is in the box, he says pencils. The three year old does not understand that his friend will probably make the same mistake he has. In contrast by the age of four, the child will recognize their friend may make the same mistake. (p.272)

    In “mistaken belief” experiments, children at the age of three demonstrated an ability to alter their decisions, once presented with counter-evidence. “Like scientists, children change their theories precisely because they make the wrong predictions”. (p.272) Not only does this demonstrate the capabilities of children and their ability to “change predictions in light of new evidence“(p.272), but it shows us the importance of human interactions and the effect they can have on a child’s way of understanding life. Her essay concludes with the notion that high quality child care, regardless of where it comes from, is vital in the process of development. “Humans have managed to learn so much because generations of adults put effort into caring for children”. (p.272)

  3. Bill Vaughn, a well known author with 32 books under his belt, was once quoted saying, " A three-year-old child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six dollar set of swings as it does out of finding a small green worm. " This quote, as well as the notorious essay, " Kiddy Thinks" by Alison Gopnik's, goes in extensive detail about a child's mental development and how the early stages are crutial for a child's intellectual growth. Scientists have studied these wide eyed creatures starting as early as 42 minutes old, and have discovered there mental engagement with other human life starts simply with the imitation of peoples faces. As the child begins to age, it's progress and interaction with human life grows in chronological order. Starting at nine months old, they can tell between different expressions such as happiness, and anger; and by one they can distinguish between people's reactions and how they should react in the same manner. Gopnik warns the reader that, " the two-year-olds seem deliberately bloody-minded. She doesn't even look at the lamp cord. Instead, her hand goes out to touch it as she looks, steadily, gravely, at you,"(Page 271) which explains how two year olds can now experiment and test desires and those that conflict them. Along with having the devil on their side, two year olds have a hard time with hiding objects, while three year olds understand the concept, and four year olds can comprehend that objects are not always what they seem to be.

    Alison explains that children are just like scientists, they change their theories because they often make the wrong predictions. That they must encounter the right answer without being told they are wrong. It is through her own research she was able to make such a profound discovery, pin pointing the root of child development is through their own predictions, experiments, and theories, but also through parents influence. Enforcing this belief in the quote, " Humans have managed to learn so much because generations of adults put effort into caring for children, " (Page 272) suggest that our parents and their grandparents have helped encourage intellectual development at the early stages of their childs life. She concludes her essay by reminding the reader that although a childs development progresses on it's own,they need caring and devoted parents to help them along. She goes on and encourages parents to focus their attention on their children, because their intelligence is the new tomorrow.

    Image: http://www.babydon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/baby-girl-hiding-in-towel-512x384-455.jpg

  4. Brian Lees -- English 102-185 Blog Comment#2

    Alison Gopnik explains in the text “Kiddy Thinks” (Guardian Weekly 3-9, 2000) that young children are constantly observing, learning, and formulating theories of their own behaviour and that of those around them. Although the thoughts of a baby are simple, they tend to seek an understanding of other people. As Gopnik puts it, “there are no mirrors in the womb,” (pg. 270) yet just after birth a newborn can alter its own visage in order to reflect emotion without any previous experience. By the time the same baby reaches nine months of age it has independently learned to differentiate expressions such as happiness and anger in other people. A child never ceases to absorb the he way in which humans interact around them.

    Once an infant grows enough to formulate a basic theory on people and their emotions, the begin to systematically explore it. Also know as the “terrible twos,” toddlers reach a stage where they purposefully cross the boundary between right and wrong in order to gauge the reaction of their guardians. Parents become the guinea pigs so to speak. This budding curiosity sparks a plethora of other experiments ranging from visual perception, such as hide and seek, to mistaken beliefs, such as pencils placed in a box labelled chocolate. Whether it be three minutes or three years after birth, a child’s mind is collecting information from everyone around it and developing a sense of how to interact with the environment presented.


  5. The Little Bear train is an important form of transportation that runs year round in Northern Ontario, Canada. Both residents of Northern Ontario and adventure seeking tourists can take advantage of this transportation route. Prior to the train’s existence, residents of this area were lacking accessibility to foods essential to an individual’s nutrition. Also, canoe lovers faced the challenge of transportation to major rivers. The train now enables necessary foods such as vegetables and meats to be transported to Northern Ontario. The Little Bear also enables tourists to travel to remote canoeing areas on major rivers. As a result, Northern Ontario residents are no longer faced with the problem of inaccessibility to these foods and canoers are able to go to majors rivers that were not available to them before. The train will likely continue to run, and may even extend its routes in the future to further benefit Northern Ontario residents.

  6. "Kiddy Thinks" (Guardian Weekly 3-9, 2000), by Alison Gopnik is an informative essay that explores the depth and detail of children’s perceptions and understandings. According to Gopnik, a child's perspective on the world may be more deep and detailed than we perceive. She explores the various ages in which infants can achieve certain tasks. One of which is mimicry, as young as newborns even without knowing what they, themselves, look like. As early as nine months they understand basic facial expressions and to a limited degree can conceptualize the emotions that cause these expressions. Gopnik distinguishes the "terrible twos" as the age in which infants not only venture into the realm of the forbidden, but do so knowingly in order to intice a reaction. Gopnik's various experiments, such as the "mistaken belief experiment", allow her to conclude that young children are naturally able to alter their predictions in the light of new evidence. In a very limited nature, they understand the idea of hiding things at age three.

    It is made clear by her that children's view on the world is under-rated when she states: "Today, scientists have only recently begun to appreciate just how much even the youngest babies know-and how much and how quickly they learn". She perceives children as scientists, themselves using very basic versions of the scientific method. Continuing the comparison, Gopnik states that understanding other people is a high priority in the "scientific agenda" of a child. Furthermore, she adds that babies resist ideas that oppose their views but have the potential to change the way they view the world if sufficient counter-evidence is provided. She finishes off by putting emphasis on parents opening up their schedule in order to permit these small minds free reign in this big world.

    Image: http://whywedoit.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/s-baby-genius-large.jpg

  7. Kamille Stead, Eng 102-185, Blog Comment #2September 23, 2009 at 7:16 PM

    “Kiddy Thinks”, an essay by Allison Gopnik, (Guardian Weekly, February 3-9, 2000) demonstrates the development of a child’s powerful ability to learn. It is an increasing awareness that infants are born with not only an immense amount of knowledge but also the capacity for many crucial learning and analyzing skills. Gopnik shows the different learning capabilities at various ages throughout a young child’s life. The author first explains that from the time a baby is born they have some understanding that they themselves are comparable to adults. Furthermore, in a short nine months newborns are able to react to the expressions of others. Between their first and second year young children are able to study and test the different reactions of parents. Gosnik examines, “Toddlers are testing the extent to which their desires and those of others may conflict.”(271) At age two these infants begin to develop their vision and the concept of hide and seek. Consequently, three year olds are shown to understand this however, were not able to correct mistaken identities where as four years olds were able to. She concludes by reminding readers of the importance of parent-child interaction and its effect on a child’s development.

    Through her work as a developmental psychologist as well as a parent Gopnik is able to capture the experiences and learning processes of a child’s first years. She successfully reflects upon the developing stages a child undergoes. Gopnik shares an interesting perspective of the thought process of a child as she analyzes, “..very young children use the same strategies as scientists. They think, observe, formulate theories, make predictions, and do experiments.”(270) The author uses real life situations such as a child’s choice over broccoli or a biscuit, hide and seek and pulling on a lamp chord as evidence of a child’s behaviour in relation with their cognitive skills. Through Gopnik’s data and real life support readers are able to see that babies are not just “blank states” but essentially share many of the critical thought processes we use as adults. They, like us, think rationally however often making mistakes in which are soon corrected and learnt from.


  8. Alison Gopnik's "kiddy thinks" changed some wrong adults' views about young children. They are not that simple as we see, although some of them are too young to walk, their learning abilities are much faster than adults and their brain develops area by area. Based on the reserch, even newborn babieshave the sense of belonging,they know the adults are the same race as themselves; nine months later, they figure out something about emotion, they act differently during different situations,"babies can tell the difference between expressions of happiness, sadness and anger."(p270); between fourteen months and eighteen months, babies understand that others would have different oppions and other's desires may conflictwith their own; parents start helping the babies to work out the correct answers when they turn two and they are still quite straightforward that they are not able to hide something; when they get one year older, they are pretty good at hiding something; four-year-olds' brains develope even more, they realize something is not always what they look like.
    Old theories which are created by psychologists and philosophers include some famous ones are totally negative, "John Locke said they were 'blank slates'."(p269) Alison proved that by her personal experience and some authentic experiments. All these facts about babies suggest that they figure something out by thinking, observing, formulating theories, making predictions and doing experiments; and the hardest thing is they abandon their old theory quickly when they have evidence to prove it is wrong and start all over again with strong passion. These are actually the best and purest ways to learn and most of the adults throw them away instead of cutting aross when they are learning. After all, Alison suggusts that these little scientists deserve more attentions from the society and better public supported, high-quality childcare at their best time to learn.

  9. Sara Wolbeck
    Blog Assignment 2

    “Kiddy Thinks”
    In the essay, “Kiddy Thinks”, Alison Gopnik explains the stages children experience and how quickly they learn from the moment they are born. 42 minutes after birth, a baby has already learned to imitate facial expressions, and at nine months is able to differentiate the meanings behind each expression and its emotion. Gopnik believes that the difficult behavior that is associated with, “the terrible twos” is rational. At two years old a child is able to understand differences in people’s tastes and “[is] testing the extent to which their desires and those of others may conflict” (271). This struggle between the need to understand people and getting along with them is the reason for the difficult stage. By age four children have developed amazing learning abilities and are able to comprehend that they “may alter their predictions in the light of new evidence” (272). These skills are learned through the care, interaction and attention of adults around them.
    Adult behavior naturally plays an influence on children and the way they learn. Kopnik exemplifies that singing indirectly helps children with their language skills. Kopnik suggests that although flashcards are not pointless, everyday play is just as much of a vital learning experience. She says that “everyday unremunerated, unremarkable work of caring for babies and young children is extremely important” (272). Adults play a vital role in a child’s learning progress. She suggests that if we really wanted our children to succeed we should focus less on the videotapes and flashcards but focus on spending more time with our children (273). Parents should not be penalized when trying to spend time with their children, such as working fewer hours, rather we should be encouraging them to do so.

    Work Cited

    Gopnik, Alison. "Kiddy Thinks." Essay Writing for Canadian Students with Readings. 6th ed. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada, 2008. 269-73. Print.

    Image: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/08/06/article-0-05E263EE000005DC-396_468x589.jpg

  10. Blog Comment #2

    “Kiddy Thinks” (Guardian Weekly, February 3-9, 2000), written by Alison Gopnik is about the different stages children develop certain cognitive skills. The first stage starts at birth, because babies are born knowing that everyone is special. At nine months babies can tell the distinction between different emotions; at 18 months they start to understand these differences; and at age two they start to understand the concept of visual perception, they become better at this at age three, when they can hide things properly. Alison’s last stage she describes is at age 4 when they recognize objects can be different than they appear.
    Alison stresses that children are smarter than many people assume. She thinks, “children know a great deal, literally from the moment they’re born” and “are born with extremely powerful learning abilities.” She also compares children to scientists since they both “resist counter evidence” and they also “think, observe, formulate theories, make predictions, and do experiments. To close her essay she talks about the parent’s role in a child’s early development. She concludes that while it is great for a parent to be around their child they don’t need to quit their job just has to have flexible work hours and to make sure your child is in a high-quality daycare.

    Image: http://msnbcmedia3.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Art/HEALTH/061103/VLRG_SmartBabe.widec.jpg

  11. Josh Taschuk
    Blog Assignment #2

    Throughout life, many skills are developed and much knowledge is attained. But when are the simplest of things learned? Well, these skills were probably gradually developed naturally over time, and you may not even have a recollection of doing so. This is the general idea discussed in "Kiddy Thinks"(Guardian Weekly 03/09, 2000) by Allison Gopnik. Mankind is rapidly learning more about children's thoughts and behaviors, learning that they are not just emotional and illogical, but they may "know a great deal from the moment they are born."(269) After birth, babies can almost immediately recognize that the humans they see around them are the same as them. At nine months, babies can understand multiple emotions; at age one and a half babies can comprehend that people may differ in opinion. By age two, they begin to explore the limits of things they have learned. Between ages three and four, children develop the knowledge that other people may make the same mistakes as them, as well as the need for counter-evidence to prove them wrong. For example a child wouldn’t believe there was “a yellow duck that looked green when put behind blue plastic”(272) until the duck was out of the bag.

    Gopnik goes on to discuss the vital role that the guardians of a baby have. Children learn consistently throughout the day in a natural process, however it is at the discretion of the adults or baby sitters around them. Whether or not they allow the child to run with scissors or stick their fingers in the socket on the wall, will determine if the child will learn that these things aren’t acceptable. Gopnik makes the comparison of a baby to a scientist, the baby, like a scientist, must go through trial and error on a daily basis to learn. She shares her two cents in conclusion by urging readers to support high-quality childcare.


  12. Jin Choi
    Blog comment 2

    In the past, most psychologists and philosophers thought that babies could not have logical thought. Somewhat differently, according to Gopnik, not only can little babies use logical thinking skills, they can also “think, observe, formulate theories, make predictions, and do experiments” (270). In order to support her idea, she reveals several examples and her experiments about little children’s behaviour related to rational thinking. In Gopnik’s experiment, her most appealing results are that babies can distinguish different faces and imitate facial expressions even when they are just born; start to develop a lot of emotion after 9 months; and realize different people with different attitudes. Gopnik continues that two-year-olds spend lots of time examining what they’ve learned so far; three-year-olds conceptualize hiding objects; and four-year-olds recognize that exception exists. Based on the results, Gopnik concludes that “like scientists, children change their theories precisely because they make the wrong predictions” (272).

    However, it isn’t only children that Gopnik is interested in. Gopnik emphasizes the important role of parents who influence their children in the early age. Babies can learn many things from the behaviour and attitude of their parents' or even other adults around them. Therefore, Gopnik suggests that parents should pay close attention to their children because the early age is very important to their children in terms of shaping developing logical and social skills.
    Link: http://mirandy.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/baby_studious.jpg

  13. Kalmy Wong
    Blog Assignment #2

    Professor Alison Gopnik writes an informative essay “Kiddy Thinks” telling us more about the development of children. She explains to us about how many people have been misinformed for centuries about children. According to Alison, “scientists have only just begun to appreciate just how much even the youngest babies know.” Newborns at just 42 minute old are already capable of imitating faces. At nine months they are able to tell the difference between emotions on faces. Reaching one and a half they start to understand differences between people. Then approaching two years old, they learn how visual perception works. She goes into more depth with each phase with personal experiences and tests.

    Alison suggests that, “Like scientists, children change their theories precisely because they make the wrong predictions.” It is very important that children have adult behavior to help work out their answers. It is through their guidance that children are able to extend more knowledge. She then concludes the essay with her view of how parents should leave aside videotapes and flashcards and arrange high-quality childcare by approaching things themselves.

    Related image: http://hetv.org/resources/childgrowth/cover_mgrs_whitesm.jpg

  14. Dan McDonald Blog Comment 2 (Summary)

    Alison Gopniks “Kiddy Thinks” (Guardian Weekly, February 3-9, 2000) is a comprehensive explanation of how children develop, and subsequently reveals how we should treat them to promote optimal growth. She repeatedly likens young children to scientists, and substantializes this seemingly outlandish comparison by citing that, like scientists, children learn through observing how outcomes respond to input. For example, Gopnik postulates that in a situation where a toddler is pulling on a lamp cord staring at her parent she is not actually interested in the cord itself, but instead the reaction that it evokes. In the author’s words “If the child is a budding scientist, we parents are the laboratory rats” (p. 271). The writing frequently reinforces the idea that kids learn primarily from watching other people, and even suggests that adults are “programmed to unconsciously teach babies and young children just the things they need to know” (p. 269). Throughout “Kiddy Thinks” we become informed about significant stages children reach, such as the ones in which they realize that people’s sentiments are not universal, or when they begin to comprehend the complexities of visual perception. Research is used to support the premise that kids do not necessarily have a critical window within which their entire maturation process is determined, but are instead shaped over time by seemingly minor events and encounters. According to Gopnik the best way to encourage proper development in children is not to surround them with the latest learning technology, but to stimulate them through regular personal interaction.

  15. Blog Comment: Summary

    Allison Gopnik's "Kiddy Thinks" (Guardian Weekly 3-9, 2000) is an informative essay in which she attempts to convey the idea that young developing minds aren't mere blank slates
    but instead, "...that very young children use the same strategies as scientists" (p.270). Gopnik, a professor of developmental psychology at Berkely, focuses her attention on the stages at which visible signs of cognitive development have taken place. "Children are born knowing that people are special," (p.270), according to Gopnik, and by the age of one "...know how they should feel about something by seeing how others feel" (p.270). Gopnik goes on to list several other important stages at which toddlers begin to understand the world around them. For instance, Gopnik talks in depth about the terrible twos explaining that "...the child is a budding scientist, [and] we the parents are the laboratory rats" (p.271). These two year olds, who seem fascinated with objects they've been told they may not play with, are simply testing the reactions of their parents and are more interested in the response they recieve than whatever it is they may have. By the age of three, these little monsters learn that they can see different things than other people, and by four realize that "...what we think about the world may be wrong" (p.271). For instance,
    Gopnik explains that a three year old who opens a chocolate box filled with pencils will likely expect someone else to reply 'pencils' when asked what is in the box.Four year olds, however, realize that the next person to open the box will likely mistakenly think the box has chocolate because of it's picture.

    Gopnik further elaborates on her idea that children are budding scientists by stating that, "like scientists, children change their theories precisely
    because they make the wrong predictions" (p.272). According to her, "...telling children the right answer makes no difference," that children must learn
    things on their own. Yet it is important to note that while children must experience things for themselves, "Humans have managed to learn so much because generations
    of adults put effort into caring for children" (p.272). Gopnik's research suggests that children need not necessarily a full time caregiver, but instead
    guidance in their everyday life to form the skills necessary to develop into a full fledged mind. It is highly suggested that, "If we really want babies to learn, we should
    ... work for paid leave, flexible work arrangements and publicly supported high-quality childcare" (p.272).

  16. IMAGE:

  17. Zheng fang said.....
    In the essay, “Kiddy Thinks”, Alison Gopnik explains how the children develop certain cognitive skills. A youngest child who was only 42 minutes old, a baby has already learned imitates facial expressions. Gopnik believes that the problematic behavior is 2-years-old. In the paragraph 13, “the grave look is directed at you because you and your reaction, rather than the lamp cord, are the interpreting thing.” At two years old child is able to understand in people, at three years old child can understand concept and four years old child can comprehend that objects.
    Alison explains that naturally grown-ups help children learn in their everyday lives. In the paragraph 21 “Humans have managed to learn so much because generations of adults put effort into caring for children.” suggest us to encourage intellectual development at the early stages of children’s life.

    Related image:

  18. As the years have passed, better technology and stronger research have led us to believe that children know more, and learn quicker than we ever believed. In the past thirty years of endless research we have uncovered more about the topic of children then we had in the previous two thousand and fifty years. These conclusions have lead to three elements that help describe how babies thinking skills develop. First is the fact that children are born knowing a great deal already, babies are born as scientists, the think, observe, formulate theories, make predictions and do experiments. It is at a very young age that babies have the realization that people think and feel differently, what makes them happy may not be the case with someone else. They also know that desires may conflict as well. Children are also born with powerful learning abilities. In a short nine months, a baby learns how to differentiate emotions; they learn that everyone has feelings and that there not just “bags of skin and cloth”. A two year old cannot yet comprehend the idea of hide and seek, however in a year the child will have experimented and learned the idea of it. All in all, children can be stuffed full of information but the most important is the things they learn themselves through trial and error.
    Despite the fact that children have such a powerful thinking and learning process and such a young age they still need to be presented with evidence from adults. It seems that “adults appear to be “programmed” to unconsciously teach babies and young children just the things they need to know.” Young children have the ability to alter their predictions when presented with new evidence. This is why adults shold try to be around their children as much as possible, to provide this evidence. Better daycare should be provided, and work leaves should be extended in order to provide this necessary care which contributes greatly to the overall development of children.


  19. Alison Gopnik’s “Kiddy Thinks” (Guardian Weekly, February 3-9, 2000) chronologically exposes the stages in which individuals from the moments of birth to the age of four attain the skills necessary for vital, yet practical thinking. In the earliest stages of life, babies have an understanding of facial expressions and that these “...children are born knowing that people are special” (p.270). In addition, babies at nine months can distinguish an array of human expressions, from happiness to sadness to anger. By the age of one, considerable progress has been made in which toddlers can now connect the idea that something significant is in the direction in which someone points to, and that they are beginning to understand behaviour in others based on their emotions, and by fourteen months, they have developed the understanding that “...other people’s desires may conflict with their own” (p.271). Furthermore, Gopnik categorizes child behaviour and understanding by the age of two years as the “terrible twos”, for this age has been the turning point to more experimental behaviour and a toddler’s misunderstanding for conflicting emotions with others. In concluding the ages of three and four, these young children begin to develop the idea that objects may not be what they’re set out to be, but while providing evidence to the contrary, are able to revise their thoughts on certain issues at hand.

    Gopnik’s approach to understanding the development of crucial thinking skills in the infant stages of life has shown this task is not complete without the help of parental interaction on the mental growth of an individual. Parents speaking to their children in a multi-tone voice have enabled them to distinguish the sounds of language. While flashcards are not entirely necessary for a child’s intellectual growth, everyday interactions with their surroundings and, “...through care and attention of adults around them.” (p.272) enables these young individuals to grasp the basic concepts of understanding the world they live in today. Furthermore, the time taken by parents to raise their children has in one way or another conflicted with their professional lives. Gopnik stresses that taking time off of work should be rewarded rather than penalized, and that “If we really want babies to learn, we should ditch the videotapes and flashcards and work for paid parental leave, flexible work arrangements and publically supported, high-quality healthcare” (p.273).


  20. Braden Thomson
    Summary Assignment

    Writing in the journal Guardian Weekly (February 3-9 2000), Alison Gopnik states that "In the past 30 years we have learned more about what young children know and how they learn than we did in the preceding 2,500 years" (269). She goes on to elucidate the steps in which children progress their learning skills from the moment they're born up until four years of age. Gopnik, a professor of developmental psychology, states that these learning phases come with age starting of coarse with age 0, birth. At birth children are able to recognize similarities between themselves and adults. At nine months of age they are capaable of understanding something of the emotions in others. At one year, children begin to imitate adults' emotions and read their body language when unsure of how to react, though it is not until children haver eached the age of 18 months do they realize that "other people's desires may conflict with their own" (271). When the toddler has aged into the terrible twos' they begin experimenting to test the extent to which their desires and those of others may conflict. By three years of age Gopnik believes a child has learned how visual perception works but it isn't for another year that the child understands that not everything in thier perception is what it looks to be.

    Through each suggested step in child learning Gopnik continues to stress her thesis that, just as adult scientists gain knowledge, young children learn through a sophisticated system of observation, imitation, and trail and error. As a proffessor in the field of developmental psychology, a researcher for the Institute of Human Development, and a parent, Gopnik not only calls upon her credentials but also upon personal experiences to create examples to support this thesis. Her friendly but serious tone permits readers of different levels to absorb her theory that babies are born with established knowledge and extremely powerful learnign abilities. In other words babies are computers that are already connected to the web and know how to log on, they just need guidance on which websites to download and which ones not to. Children aren't the only ones to acquire this 'natural knowledge' as Gopnik states that "adults appear to be 'programmed' to unconsciously teach babies and young children just the things they need to know" (269). She concludes by addressing the ever hot debate of young child care, advising parents to throw out the flashcards and learning aids and push for longer parental leave, enhanced child care, and plenty of time for these little tykes to socialize with people that care.

  21. Ivy Liong
    Blog Comment

    Alison Gopnik states that the experiments tested on children as young as 42 minutes old help psychologists understand children’s cognitive development. In each stage of their development researchers have been able to identify that “adults appear to be programmed to unconsciously teach babies and young children just the things they need to know”[pg.269]. For instance, babies at 9 months are able to not only differentiate the difference between expressions but they also have the understanding about the emotions that are attached to those expressions. It also states that while during the stages between 18 month old and the “terrible twos”, these young children have figured out that the people around may not have the same desires as them which causes them to act out and go against their desires so they could gauge their reaction.

    Gopnik also proves the fact that “children change their theories precisely because they make the wrong predictions.” [pg.272]. That when presented to children of 3 years of age, they have proven this fact because when giving them the counter-evidence, although resisting at first, they understood after several weeks that they can alter their predictions to work out the correct answer. Whereas, it makes no difference to the children when they are simply told the correct answer. This demonstrates the importance of guidance from other people for children, so they can help the growth of their developmental process.


  22. Blog 2 summary Mark Moodie
    "Kiddy Thinks" (Guardian Weekly 3-9, 2000), by Alison Gopnik is an article which begins to explain the ways in which babies learn. She concludes that throughout childhood they compare, use basic reason, and formulate theories on the evidence they gather. When new evidence shows their theory as false, they formulate new ones, usually reluctantly though. Through experiments and observations of children at different ages Gopnik begins to formulate how babies learn and the evolution of how they perceive the world. She states that the learning process begins as soon as we are born. That as a newborn child we are capable of distinguishing ourselves as human and are capable of imitating faces, even though we have no sense of self-image. Babies then learn a lot through facial expression, by nine months, newborns have quickly connected the concept of facial expression, and the emotions that trigger them. By a year and a half babies come to realize a difference between what they desire and what others may desire. The "terrible twos" as many parents refer to them as, is then an exploration of these desires and how others react to them. Gopnik expresses this idea when she says "The two-year-olds seem deliberately bloody-minded. She doesn't even look at the lamp cord. Instead, her hand goes out to touch it, as she looks steadily, gravely, at you,", meaning the lamp cord is not the interesting thing to the child but the other persons reaction to them touching it. At three, babies realize that each person has their own view of objects. Then around four they begin to realize what we think to be true may not always be the case.
    With this evidence showing the continual and vital evolution of a child's understanding and development Gopnik states "Humans have managed to learn so much because generations of adults put effort into caring for children,". She feels that the day-to-day care is extremely important to a child's development and that society should put more value in allowing, and helping parents provide high quality childcare.

  23. "Kiddy Thinks" Assignment
    Tasha Stevenson

    In the essay, Kiddy Thinks by Alison Gopnik (Guardian Weekly, Februrary 3-9, 2000), she analyzes the different strategies children use to learn. She finds out hat new born babies know how to imitate facial expressions, two-year olds test people's reactions by doing the wrong thing, and how three-year olds collect counter-evidence for the 'mistaken belief' theory. By creating experiments to testchildren's minds she can have a higher understanding of how they gather information to come up with conclusions. As Alsion Gopnik states, "They think, observe, formulate theories, make predictions, and do experiments" (page 270), which is the same strategies that scientists use.

    The idea that children aren't just blank slates opens up a new theory and many new experiments that have yet to be tested. The basic understanding children have that people have different ideas, "Pineapple: yucky for me but yummy for you" (page 269), is a profound realization. That is only one if the intelligent ideas that children have. Alison Gopnik believes that parents should be rewarded for staying at home to help their children expand on their ideas and theories.


  24. Alison Gopnik’s story “Kiddy Thinks” provides a brief introduction of early childhood development in the initial three years. These prime years are crucial for learning as the babies are introduced to various psychological events that determine and strengthen cognitive thinking. One example given in the text is how children can begin to perceive and rationalize thoughts at a very early stage. This of course is brought on by parental guidance and reoccurring events in which the baby learns to make decisions and understand that others may decide and react differently than he or she.

    The role and importance of strong parental guidance is also discussed in the essay. Much of who we are is based on the time we spent with our caregivers and the relationships that are achieved. Alison Gopnik says “Similarly, the way that parents talk about the mind seems to influence their children’s everyday psychology.” Furthermore, the research suggests that continual work, caring, and support for babies and young children is vitally significant in the development process. The evidence is crystal clear, we are the products of our own parent’s efforts and care, and the same care must be given to young babies to further their learning and improve their mental growth.


  25. Michael Garcia – English 102-185 Blog Comment #2

    Do we take children for granted as being “just children”? Can children, originating from birth be a lot more intelligent then we know? Alison Gopnik’s “Kiddy Thinks” gives an analysis of the crucial mind of a child from birth till the age of four. Gopnik expresses that “scientists have only recently begun to appreciate just how much even the youngest babies know and how much and how quickly they learn”(pg.269). To have a better understanding of what babies perceive researchers analyze the different phases of growth.
    Collections of observations from early stages of birth show their relation to humans and distinguishing expression as well as emotion. As children pass the age of one they are able to comprehend the clash of their wants to the wants of others, showcasing a more challenging behavior to assimilate their expression and the questioning of their own beliefs. In addition a mature child at the age four grasps the base of early childhood and the basic understanding of others.

    Alison Gopnik claims, “like scientists, children change their theories precisely because they make the wrong predictions”(pg.272) meaning that children are able to change their predictions by trial and error and our adult behavior “seeing is believing”. A lot of Alison’s observation are calculated by personal experience and her background as a development psychologist. Adults’ everyday lifestyle can affect the outcome of the children’s perception of their own surrounding. Gopnik’s question, “What are the consequences of this new view?” (pg.272) Makes the point that even babies use sophisticated and rational thinking; so the need to value parental attention to children is vitally important. In addition “Babies are already as bright as can be”(pg.272) states that children are born with the intellect they collect information as they play and as they are taught. In conclusion Alison summarizes that the care of a child is extremely important and that the placement of a more flexible work schedule, “high-quality childcare” be put into action to benefit both the child and the parents.


    Image: http://blog.newsok.com/ofinterest/files/2009/08/babygenius2.jpg

  26. Understanding the way kids and toddlers think can be complicated. Most of us understand that kids do grow at a fast pace, but Alison Gopsnik's essay "Kiddy Thinks" takes us to a deeper level of the growing stages. Most adults can underestimate the intelligence of newborns, but Gopnik tells us that, even from the early minutes of birth, babies can realize the relation between their features and the faces they see. She gives us reason for why two year olds and why they act as terrible as they do, and that three year olds seek out to the "mistaken belief" experiments. Adults and parents around the children are a crucial part of learning and that, "Of course, we're the developmental psychologists."

    Gopsnik encourages adults to teach children and to help them through their everyday learning experiences. For children to be the brightest they can be, on a day-to-day basis, includes a lot of discovering, playing and caring to realize important aspects of life. This is what helps create the little thinkers of the future. Many parents should be rewarded for the work they do at home and the high quality childcare programs because after all, "If the child is a budding scientist, we parents are the laboratory rats."


  27. Samantha Richards - Blog Comment 2

    “Kiddy Thinks” (Guardian Weekly 3-9, 2000), an essay by Alison Gopnik provides us with an introspective look into the developing minds of children. Gopnik introduces her topic with a personal encounter and then goes further to prove her knowledge of the topic by providing information about the book she co-authored How Babies Think. We are told “First, that children know a great deal, literally from the moment they are born. Second, that they are born with extremely powerful learning abilities. And, finally, that adults appear to be “programmed” to unconsciously teach babies and young children just the things they need to know.” (pg 269) She goes on to explain the different stages and ages and what types of mental development takes place at each stage of development.

    The author brings up the idea that babies, like scientists make observations and create predictions due to these observations. Where they differ is that a baby is making predictions on the things taking place around them in their day to day life. Resembling scientists, children also test their predictions. The growing stage known to all parents as the terrible twos is a time when these predictions are being constantly tested. If “the child is a budding scientist, we the parents are the laboratory rats” (pg 271). And, also just like scientists when a predication has been proven wrong – children can and often do change their hypothesis to match their test results. Gopnik close’s by saying that parents should be allowed to devote more time and effort to our children without being penalized for it.

  28. “Kiddy Thinks” is an essay written by developmental psychologist Alison Gipnik referring to the developmental stages of young children, and how the development of a child’s perception of the world happens through growth and experience. Alison heavily outlines stages in child development; these stages in the development of a child’s perception have a strong connection to age and the influence of the child’s carer. Alison puts forward a strong example and states: “Suppose I put a child on one side of the table, and sit on the other. Then I put a screen and a toy on the table and ask the child to hide the toy from me. At 24 months, the toddler will put the toy on my side of the screen, so that it is actually hidden from them, but not from me. But at 36-month-olds get this right.” This is one of many experiments in which Alison conducted and presented in her essay, and also distinguishes a major difference in the cognitive thinking between a 24-month-old child and a 36-month-old child. There’s no doubting the fact that a child sees the world very differently than an adult; thus, this leads to the fact that just because a child’s understanding of the world around them can’t compare to an adults, doesn’t necessarily make a child less intelligent than an adult. Since children grow and learn through their experience, and have the ability to exhibit change in their perception of the world, they very well define intelligence. More-over, the application of knowledge can directly be stated as intelligence.
    Early in Alison Gipniks essay she mentions the age old idea of how it’s been thought that a child is born unintelligent, a clean slate, and that intelligence develops. It’s so clearly demonstrated through multiple examples that this is not true. The perceptive ability of a child develops, not the child’s intelligence. A child is born with a large capacity to gather knowledge, and a ripe ability to intake as much information as possible. Alison Gopnik so firmly states, “Today, scientists have only recently begun to appreciate just how much even the youngest babies know—and how much and how quickly they learn.” Furthermore, Alison Gopnik places down hard facts from her studies in order to demonstrate firsthand how a child’s psyche develops based on their surrounding influences. Essentially these influences are mainly contributed by the one who’s taking care of the child. Alison thoroughly explains the steps in which the perception of a child develops in stages; these stages happen to work in correlation to the age of the child, and the guidance of an adult. Since a child requires the need to ascertain their behaviour, an appropriate teacher is the one taking care of the child. Hence, a parent or qualified childcare worker should be the one watching over a child’s development, which is so clearly stated in Alison’s thesis.


  29. In her article “Kiddy Thinks” (Guardian Weekly, February 3-9, 2009), Alison Gopnik describes the crucial stages in life in which a babies grow and develop mentally. She put to rest the statement made by John Locke, that babies are “blank slates” (p.269). Babies begin growing and learning from the earliest stages of life, as they are “born with extremely powerful learning abilities” (pg. 269). Gopnik argues that “very young children use the same strategies as scientists. They think, observe, formulate theories, make predicitons, and do experiments” (pg. 270). Within nine months of birth, they can relate external human expressions to internal feelings. By the age of twelve months they learn to do things by observing others, which leads to the acceptance of differences at 18 months. At this stage babies can make choices based on personal preference. Gopnik warns the reader of the “terrible twos”, when children seem “ deliberately blood-minded” (pg. 271). Gopnik explains that the reason behind the demonic behavior is due to the child “testing the extent to which their desires and those of others may conflict.

    Gopnik performs several tests on different ages of infants that help support here theory that babies conduct life just like scientists do. Gopik tells us that through these experiments, the children “change their theories precisely because they make the wrong predictions” (p.272). Gopnik calls these “mistaken belief experiments” (pg.272) because children learn from counter evidence. Babies use this strategy to understand both people and the environment.

    Gopnik ends by expressing the importance of proper adult presence, as she states “everyday, unremunerated, unremarkable work of caring for babies is extremely important” (pg.273).

    Image: http://gallery.hd.org/_exhibits/baby/_more2006/_more01/baby-girl-5-five-weeks-old-active-on-playmat-playgym-baby-gym-colourful-mat-and-toys-closeup-8-JR.jpg

  30. The essay "Kiddy Thinks" was written by Alison Gopnik in attempt to prove how intelligent children are, not only as they progress, but as early as their birth. In this essay, Gopnik explains that babies are not the opposite of adults, and they share many of the same learning characteristics. This statement can be supported through Gopnik's words, "Scientists have only recently begun to appreciate how much even the youngest babies know-how much and how quickly they learn." Throughout this essay, Gopnik explains how much children do know, explains their powerful learning abilities and even goes as far to explain how adults are "programmed" to teach their children things that are essential to their intelligence. "Kiddy Thinks" goes into great detail about the progression children experience in their early years. To start off, Gopnik explains "By the time they are nine months old, babies can tell the difference between expressions of happiness, sadness and anger, and understand something about the emotions that produce those expressions." The essay continues on to explain that at eighteen months old, babies begin to realize that other peoples wants and desires may not agree with what they want. To finish off the stages of progression, Gopnik explains that by four years old, children have already developed the concept that objects are not always what they appear to be.

    All of the stages and examples that are provided in "Kiddy Thinks" are backed by the personal experience Gopnik had with her son while he was growing up. Along with writing this essay, Gopnik wrote "How Babies Think", which is another essay attempting to explain the intelligence of children. Throughout this entire essay, the authors tone remained welcoming, but not too warm, as she was determined to prove her point about how children have the ability to think at the same level as adults. Whether or not you choose to believe that children are born very intelligent human beings, you should take the time to read Alison Gopnik's essay, "Kiddy Thinks". Gopnik is able to successfully tie her psychology knowledge and her hands on experience parenting, to create an easy to read essay, and logical explanation of the progression of knowledge a children experiences in their early years.


  31. Harjot Malhi

    In Alison Gopnik's "Kiddy Things", the essay is informing us about the different stages in how children learn to develop their skills as soon as they’re born “the youngest tested was only 42 minutes old” (p. 270). Children are not born with a blank state. They come to the world with enormous learning abilities that make them predict and observe situations which then they like to test as evidence. The author talks about various phases on how they learn such as a nine months old baby can understand different emotions expressed by people. At age one; they learn how they should feel about things by seeing how others react to them. At the age of one and a half they start to acknowledge that people are different and have different reactions to their surroundings. By the age of two they like to test this theory. Children tend to make experiments on what they have observed. The essay states that “simply telling children the right answer makes no difference” (p.272) instead they test the theory to build evidence and make predictions.

    This essay enlightens us with the knowledge that children act and learn according to their surroundings. Parents can be a huge influence on a child’s everyday psychology. Alison Gopnik gives many examples about the theories she mentions, which gives us a better understanding of the impact we make on children at such an early stage. The essayist claims “the research does suggest that the everyday, unremunerated, unremarkable work of caring for babies and young children is extremely important” (p. 272). The author tries to encourage the reader that taking care of children doesn’t mean one has to completely give up their careers. But balance out both of them for a better quality care.

    Link: http://img.actressarchives.com/features/braingasm/Baby-lemon-face.png (Baby eats a lemon for the first time)

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