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A wealth of literature suggests that the ways in which parents structure joint and/or reminiscing conversations with their children have important implications for the development of autobiographical memory skills in children. It has also been suggested that the types of details that children remember about shared parent–child experiences may serve a socializing function. The details that children recall may shape their interpretation of the past and form expectations for the future, thereby reinforcing values and attitudes expressed by parents and internalized by children. It is through this mechanism that we believe that parent–child conversations about past shared experiences may socialize not only the development of memory in children but also the development of other outcomes as well, including socio-emotional outcomes such as gratitude. This chapter highlights an extension of the socialization of memory research by examining the extent to which both the structure and content of conversations between parents and children about previous gratitude-related events shape what children remember about those experiences.
Cognitive developmental research continues to shift from a mechanistic paradigm toward a more contextualized approach, especially in the search to uncover contextual factors that may play a role in cognitive development (see Rogoff, Dahl, & Callahan, 2018). This is certainly the case in the memory literature, where there exists rich documentation of children’s memory skills, but less research on the origins of mnemonic strategies and how they are supported by contextual aspects of children’s everyday lives. This chapter builds on the existing literature on children’s deliberate memory and strategy use and highlights one exemplar of this shift, namely the evolution of a program of research by Ornstein, Coffman and colleagues, the Classroom Memory Study. This collaborative work began as an effort to characterize children’s changing skills over time while simultaneously working to identify mechanisms in the elementary classroom context that may underlie children’s developing strategies for remembering – and has now evolved to include an examination of other cognitive outcomes as well as the development of experimental manipulations that can lead to teacher interventions that may facilitate children’s cognitive growth.
In this introduction to The Development of Children’s Memory: The Scientific Contributions of Peter A. Ornstein, we provide biographical information for Professor Ornstein and identify some contextual influences on his work. We then examine the four distinct but interrelated programs of research he conducted that form the structure for this volume. Next, we briefly describe the chapters that are included in the review of each research program and introduce the authors. Ornstein’s scientific development over his 50 years in research is depicted as moving from the study of age-related changes in memory performance to an increasing emphasis on the developmental processes that result in skilled remembering in children. This transition both reflected and contributed to the emergence of a developmental science of memory.
This chapter builds on the original findings of the Classroom Memory Study and outlines the ways in which children’s academic skills are also influenced by the types of language that (1) parents use during the course of conversations about the past, and (2) teachers use during classroom instruction. We present findings from a number of studies to illustrate that kindergarten students’ accuracy and strategy use in the context of mathematics is influenced by exposure to metacognitive language at home and at school. In addition, we explore the impact of kindergarten teachers’ metacognitive language on children’s mathematics accuracy and strategy use across the first two years of formal school for those children who enter school with relatively low mathematical knowledge. Finally, we emphasize that a commitment to examining instructional approaches and methods of assessment that focus on students’ metacognitive understanding will be critical to the evolution of the Classroom Memory Study and to studying the socialization of children’s cognition more broadly.
This book provides an understanding of memory development through an examination of the scientific contributions of eminent developmental scientist Peter A. Ornstein. His fifty-year career not only coincided with but also contributed to a period of extraordinary progress in the understanding of children's memory. The volume describes this historical context, constructs a theoretical structure for understanding memory development, and emphasizes research applications for educational and forensic practice. Organized around Ornstein's four influential research programs in children's memory strategies, children's event memory, family socialization of memory, and classroom socialization of memory, the chapters examine contemporary directions in each area, with commentaries addressing each program provided by internationally renowned developmental psychologists. The book presents a comprehensive overview of memory development for psychologists and educators at all levels of training and practice, and also provides a model of a generative life in science.