You are here

Looking Up

Anne B. Smith

Children of around six have rather different perceptions of people's roles than do older children and adults. They tend to focus on one aspect or characteristic of a situation instead of scanning all the information available. They have a strong tendency to see other people through their own reactions and how they are affected by them. (This is called centration.) Six- to sevenyear- olds have particular difficulty in understanding psychological qualities or complex motives and instead focus on the immediate and the concrete. Older children see their teachers more as someone doing a teacher's job whereas younger children see them more as individuals. Older children think of teachers as having to be authoritarian, making all the decisions and imposing order and structure in the classroom. Children's views can be a conservative force. They often react to those 'progressive' teachers who do not fit their stereotypes, with hostility and rejection.

Journal issue: 

Purchase the full text of this article