STABILITY OF LOGICAL THINKING AMONG PUPILS AT ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

V. Chytrý, R. Kroufek, J. Janovec, L. Zilcher

J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem (CZECH REPUBLIC)
The central motive for writing the article was verification of Piaget’s statement (1997) which highlights the fact that a pupil of primary school age, more precisely around twelve years of age, is able to perform logical operations and is able to reason correctly in terms of logical laws as independent mathematical discipline but only in connection with specific objects, phenomena and content that can be imagined illustratively.

The aim of the research described in this article is to introduce the reader to the extent to which a pupil of third to fifth grade of elementary school is able to work with basic logical conjunctions and how this ability changes in the interval of one year.

Given the fact that this age is a borderline age in terms of cognitive development in connection with the stage of formal operations (Říčan, 2004) that is often called the period of logical thinking (Vágnerová, 2002) the main emphasis is on pupils attending the third to fifth grade at elementary schools in the Czech Republic. There were more than 200 respondents: 64 were pupils of third grade, 71 of fourth grade, and 65 of fifth grade.

Pupils of these classes were given a didactic test focused on basic logical connections every three months for one year. The main emphasis was directed at the description of basic differences in the performance of the respondents in various time periods. Also, the influence of possible determinants, such as the effect of the teacher, or gender of the respondent, was observed.

Due to the nature of the research it was necessary to first elaborate the concept of logical thinking and define it clearly. Subsequently, it was necessary to assemble four analogous didactic tests and check them on a pilot sample. It turns out that the progression of the ability to work with basic logical operators is found particularly among pupils of third grade. In later ages, this ability stabilizes. However, performances in abstraction, which is considered one of the most important attributes of logical thinking, changes. It is interesting that a pupil’s ability to work with basic logical connections does not increase gradually but fluctuates.