Define the moderate-discrepancy hypothesis.
Identify and describe the types of educational materials the moderate-discrepancy hypothesis predicts are most likely to hold children's attention?
Discuss whether or not this prediction is consistent with the type of instruction that research in the sociocultural tradition has shown to be effective.
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The modest-discrepancy hypothesis, in simple terms, means that anything that is slightly diverse from what we are very familiar with tends to get our attention more than when we encounter something that is greatly diverse or extremely similar to what we are very familiar with.
When it comes to educational materials, the hypothesis argues that students will become more attracted and focused using manipulatives or playing games that come as alternative versions of things that they see every day. One example of these things is realia. Realia comes in the form of plastic foods, or pretend machines such as cash registers for kids, and even building toys. Students are already familiar with these objects in their everyday lives, however, the realia provides an additional dimension and a degree of attainability that makes the educational material moderately different from the stuff they see in real life. That is why small children tend to get so excited when they see replicas of real-life things, such as doll houses, household appliances, and so forth.
Other types of educational materials that the moderate-discrepancy hypothesis may argue to hold children's attention also include hands-on learning materials such as sand tables, smartboard activities with interactive exercises, hands-on formation materials such as clay and dough, and the realia that is taught in most second language settings, where everyday things are brought into smaller versions that can represent what they are in the target language.
When objects are too complex or deviate entirely from what they know, the tendency is to reject or refuse the manipulative or new material because there is no schema to which they can relate the use and point of the object. Therefore, educational material companies all over the world keep very simple versions of everyday objects as their focal production points rather than provide students with exaggerated or grotesque versions of what they are familiar with.
The premise of sociocultural tradition is that, as we teach and learn, we re-create who we are, what we are about, the things that we know, and the things that we exist for. In other words, that we recreate our culture each time we teach about it. This being said, it is more than true that moderate-discrepancies hypotheses fit with the premise that by recreating society and life, as we know it, we re-learn from it. Manipulatives that grab the essence of reality as it is also help students learn more about it by allowing them to take charge of what they usually cannot. Hence, when a special education student, for example, is able to perform tasks using realia instead of real things, he or she is still going through the process of learning, albeit learning at a lower but just as much effective scale.
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