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4.3 out of 5 stars
49
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 28 May 2017
Great book
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on 24 July 2009
This is a very cheap paperback that is easily worth ten times the other HUGE rather expensive hardbacks I have read regarding child development. I bought this (new) amongst other titles for a university course and this is without a doubt the only book I found remotely interesting or relevant. Donaldson's writing is concise and still very accurate, even now some thirty years later. I recommend this under-priced and under-rated paperback over anything else you may consider buying regarding child development/pyschology etc. This lady researched for Piaget and had great respect for him (very apparent throughout)yet she recognised, and indeed has written about some of the flaws in his methodology that he himself did not consider. Chomsky's theory of language development is also covered 'uniquely' in my opinion.

Fantastic read, an absolute must have if you're remotely interested in child development or Piaget himself.
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on 15 January 2000
Donaldson's ground breaking book is much more than a mere 'introduction' to child development. Dondaldson's work turned long held notions about the nature of the chid upside down! The book is a critical examination of the work of Piaget and whilst showing the importance of Piaget's work to the disipline she teases out some of the problems with his work. She asks the questions: are children really egocentric? Was Piaget's methodology all it should have been? Are children individials first who become social beings? Or is it (As Vygotsky thought) the other way around? She clearly demonstrates by experiments of her own and those of others on the Edinburgh cognition project that children are capable of much more than Piaget ever gave them credit for! The book also clearly sets out Piagetian theory and stages. This book should be mandoratory reading for everyone involved in the education of the very young. Discard your outdated notions of 'dicovery' learning read this book. If you only ever read one psychology book it should be this one!
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on 28 January 2007
This book has helped immensely when writing essays for uni. My course is 'Education, Culture & Society', and this book blends the 3 elements perfectly! Good evidence referred to throughout, as well as references to clear and varied opinions.
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on 26 February 2013
Margaret Donaldson seems to find a nice middle ground between those who see a Childs development as needing to be highly structured and those (perhaps more deluded, lazy sort) who believe a child develops the same way no matter what, almost as if it were magic. Her theory is based on her discovery of flaws in Jean Piaget's work. The main errors that she points out are from the results of Piaget's experiments which you suddenly realise when reading this book how unscientific they were, mainly due to their ignorance of the variables. The fact is that if a child has not being taught to do something they will quite obviously fail when they are put on the spot and asked to do something.

Donaldson reasons that an excess of freedom or an excess of instruction can cause severe problems for a child's development and their future ability, however from reading this book it seems that it would always be better to err on the side of too much instruction rather than too much freedom as when looking at experimental data she finds that better instruction improves children's grasp of concepts and enables them to perform much better at any given task.

One of the main realisations that Donaldson makes and for which she must be highly commended, is the idea that error and failure are a natural and vital part of learning. It is a message that is of vital importance because in today's world failure is taboo.

One thing that is slightly disappointing is that Margaret Donaldson presents intellectual ability as a `cold' thing which I think is a real shame and something that should be dealt with.

A book well worth reading, especially for parents and teachers or anybody who comes into contact with children. There are occasional flaws in reason, but this is a solid book with much to praise.
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on 22 December 2008
This book was recommended to compliment the O.U course in child psychology that I am about to embark on. This is a great book which condenses the works of Piaget's Theories whilst pointing out that there MAY be room for improvement! This book is consise and really interesting.
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on 7 September 2014
I bought this book for pre course reading required for my PGCE. It's a captivating read with evidence to support her views. Highly recommend this book if you need a greater understanding of child development theories.
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on 7 May 2013
I really enjoyed reading this book Margaret Donaldson provides a great way of explained how a childs mind works showing that a young child has a fair amount of intelligence.
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on 21 February 2017
I'm aware this is a classic but I found it an unstimulating read, often discussing findings which can seem frustratingly 'obvious' from a modern day perspective. At times I found myself wondering how much time Donaldson had spent with children, as to my eyes many of the 'findings' or 'steps forward' are very apparent if you have worked with / spent considerable time with children.

Clearly an important work in the field.
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on 4 December 2000
I really have to agree with the other reviews displayed here. This book is fantastic; it is clearly written, a beautiful length (!) and well supported with much experimental evidence. Donaldson's theories about the importance of reading in a child's development of his/her self awareness, the importance of pupil error in education, and how, as educators, we should try and encourage recognition of error should be taken note of. Digestable Developmental Psychology .
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