Trowbridge, Leslie W.
University of Northern Colorado
Type of Resources
Place of Publication
University of Northern Colorado
ProbIems - The problems are three: What are children’s analogical abilities? How do they vary with age and sex? And, how do they relate one to another? These interrelated problems cannot be separately studied. Procedures - An instrument of seven activities was developed and presented in individual tape recorded interviews of twenty to thirty minute duration to 140 children. Ten children of each age from two through fifteen years were interviewed. To randomize the sample, only those children having birthdays during the month of the interview were interviewed. This procedure gave agespecificity for data analysis. The tapes were transcribed onto data forms according to prescribed evaluation procedures. Instrument activities include: a. interpreting verbal analogy problems, b. interpreting figurative analogy problems, c. stating the reasoning leading to the solution to verbal analogy problems, d. stating the reasoning leading to the solution to figurative analogy problems, e. selecting pictures of analogous events for a story concept, f. speaking and writing with analogies, and g. recognizing analogies in context while listening or reading. An interrater reliability check on the survey instrument gave an 85% level of agreement for all tasks. Statistical reliability for activities a - d was 0.894 as determined using the Kuder Richardson (formula 20) procedure. Data analysis techniques employed were: performance averages and ranges by age for the activities, significant score patterns, mean and standard deviation based on three year age spans, correI at ions, and analysis of variance. ResuIts - There is no significant relationship between: 1. age and performance on individual analogy activities. Accepted for activities e and f. Rejected foractivities a - d, and g. 2. the sex of the child and performance on individual analogy activities. Accepted for activities a - d, and g. Rejected for activities e and f. 3. performance on verbal and figurativeactivities. Accepted. 4. performance on different analogy activities. Accepted. 5. identification and use of analogies in speech and writing. Accepted for both types of analogies (personal, direct, symbolic, and fantasy) and grammatical classes (simile and metaphor). Conelusions - Based on these results, the outstanding data in figures and tables, the phenomena reported on activities f and g, and with respect to the limitations inherent in this study, the following conclusions are warranted: 1. Many abilities comprise children’s analogical thought. Their analogical abilities include at leastthose exhibited in the seven activities in this survey. 2. Children develop the abilities of interpreting both verbal and figurative analogy problems and of speaking and writing using analogies gradually.3. Children develop the abilities inherent in activities c, d, e, and g immediately upon concept awareness. 4. Children as early as four years old exhibit analogical abilities inherent in activities b, e, and f.5. By the intermediate grades, children exhibit all analogical abilities identified in this study. 6. C h i l d r e n s abilities to write and speak with analogies differ from their abilities to recognizeanalogies as they listen or read. 7. Children speak and write with analogies freely when analogy use is acceptable and encouraged. 8. During pre-adolescence, children’s abilities on activities a and b are greater than on activities c and d. Adolescents perform verbal activities (a and c) with equal ability; for figurative problems, their ability to state the reasoning leading to the solution exceeds their ability to interpret the problems. 9. The expressive activities (e and f) are not age dependent. 10. Sex is related to abilities for the expressive (e and f). Girls exhibit greater ability on activity e. Boys exhibit greater abilities speaking with analogies during preschool years; girls exhibit greater abilities during elementary years; and both sexes exhibit equal abilities during adolescence.Recommendations - How these ability patterns relate to J. Piaget’s model of learning, L. S. Vygotsky’s stages, and change with W. J. J. Gordon’s synectics activities needs investigation.
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