By Mônica Etes
Jean Piaget took an early interest in knowing everything he had access to. Demonstrating extraordinary commitment in everything he did, at the age of ten he published his first scientific work, about an albino sparrow.
After graduating in biology in 1918, he went to Zurich.
In this period he investigated child intelligence in depth. He applied reading tests, created by himself, on school-age children, being especially interested in the kind of mistakes the children made, noting down in detail their reasoning process. He noticed that a child’s logic and way of thinking is completely different from that of adults.
This information is very important in Spiritist education and we must take it into consideration when putting together a lesson plan.
Very young children have a very rudimentary sense of justice, and have to be led very slowly into more adjusted reflections regarding the rules of life (moral concepts). As teenagers, the self is naturally more inhibited and more questioning as well. These characteristics are important and must be remembered at the time of planning
But Piaget’s contributions don’t stop there. Let’s look at one of his brilliant theories: the theory of imbalance.
“Learning refers to the acquisition of a particular response, learned as a result of experiencing.” MACEDO (1994)
After we learn a certain thing, we create, in our mind, a mental structure to respond to similar problems. With this, we experience a mental accommodation, which only lasts for a short time, because, when faced with a new problem situation, we will try to use this mental structure to solve it. When this doesn’t work, we get out of balance, creating tension, which makes us more active and focused, eager to find the solution. This tension finds great relief, a sense of relief, in finishing the question in a complete way. Then the mind tends to return to its balanced state.
All this mental movement is important to understand our nature. As we were created to learn, challenges are important, and when these do not occur, over time disinterest, boredom, a mental detachment and, consequently, a lack of evolution, emerge. Biologically and spiritually we thirst for development, for learning, and for creativity.
The spiritist educator needs to work with these natural interests, to perceive on the little ones’ faces the anxiety to discover the answer, and to participate in the pleasure at the exact moment when the child/youth challenges the old repertoire, discovering a new world of information. It is an updating of the self, which aims to change its behavior on a daily basis.
Regarding young people, even though many already know the Spiritist Philosophy by participating since childhood, our work in promoting the unbalance in the knowledge they already bring becomes even more essential. Young people need to find new elements in Spiritism in order to leave the accommodation of ideas and have awakened in themselves the longing for new answers, which will flow into the pleasure of learning.
However, you must do this with great caution. In the desire to bring novelty to the Spiritist youth, it is often sought to invent things that do not exist in Spiritism or to bring the actuality in which they live in a manner inconsistent with the Spiritist Philosophy. To awaken the curiosity, the work is much more complex, since it is necessary to know the Philosophy thoroughly, studying its details to extract the messages that will truly resonate in these hearts, no longer talking to the young man in front of us, but to his immortal soul, which aspires to high flights and demands answers to great questions.
An interesting way to engage them is to make associations with spiritist science, highlighting topics that they have not yet explored in more detail, and provoking reflections that help them see the applicability of these learnings in their daily lives. The youth Spiritist educator needs, therefore, to spend more time studying spiritist works in order to find the elements that will awaken the youth’s attention.
The young person’s moral development depends on how much they are affected by these elements; therefore, it is also not enough just to bring the information, but the rhythm, repetition, awareness, and ambience created will lead them to look at moral issues in a deeper and more beautiful way.
MACEDO, L. Ensaios construtivistas. São Paulo: Casa do Psicólogo, 1994.
Translated by Juliana Lazzari