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Eleanor Duckworth

Wonderful Ideas

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     Duckworth's "Wonderful Ideas" have their foundation in her work with Piaget who believed that children acquire knowledge in different ways as they progress through different stages of their lives.  In order to maximize a student's potential it is important for a teacher to use Piaget's method of critical exploration: determining what the child has learned and asking the questions that will guide the student to a deeper understanding of the subject.
     A wonderful idea happens when the child has a revelation or an insight that occurs when an individual's previous knowledge combines with the intellectual alertness to ask new questions and look at things in new ways.  As a follower of Piaget, Duckworth states that wonderful ideas are connected with the developmental stage of the individual.  A wonderful idea leads to a new stage.
     In her book "The Having of Wonderful Ideas and Other Essays" Duckworth explains that "the right question at the right time can move children to peaks in their thinking that result in significant steps forward and real intellectual excitement.  Although it is almost impossible for an adult to know exactly the right time to ask a specific child - expecially for a teacher who is concerned with 30 or more children - children can raise the right question for themselves if the setting is right.  Once the right question is raised they are moved to tax themselves to the fullest to find an answer.  The answers do not come easily but the children are prepared to work them through." (Duckworth, E.R., 2006)