Question: information about how non-scientists’ assumptions about intelligence influence their behaviour towards others
– Non- scientists’ assumptions = parents’ implicit theories
– Influence = determine
– Their behaviour towards others = at what ages they believe their children are ready to perform various cognitive tasks.
Explain: People’s behavior towards others’ intelligence is mentioned in the first sentence of paragraph B: “implicit theories of intelligence drive the way in which people perceive and evaluate their own intelligence and that of others”. Non-scientists refer to normal people, and implicit theories refer to assumptions (about intelligence). The way people evaluate the intelligence of other people influences their behavior towards others.
Question: a reference to lack of clarity over the definition of intelligence
Keywords: Lack of clarity over the definition of intelligence = unconscious notions – known as ‘implicit theories’ of intelligence
Explain: In the first sentence of the passage, the author claims that “no one knows for certain what it (intelligence) actually is”. Thus, it can be said that there is a lack of clarity over the definition of intelligence. The answer is paragraph A.
Question: the point that a researcher’s implicit and explicit theories may be very different
Keywords: A researcher = an investigator, Different = little correspondence
Explain: The relation between implicit and explicit theories is mentioned in paragraph D: “if an investigation…reveals little correspondence between the extant implicit and explicit theories, the implicit theories may be wrong”. This suggests that it is possible that these two types of theories may be different.
4. NOT GIVEN
Question: Slow language development in children is likely to prove disappointing to their parents.
Keywords: slow, language, development, children, disappointing, parents
Explain: The information about parents and their children’s language development can be found in paragraph B. While the author mentions parents making “corrections” to the children’s speech at certain ages, there is nothing said about how parents feel towards slow language development. This statement is therefore NOT GIVEN.
Question: People’s expectations of what children should gain from education are universal.
– People’s expectations = people have expectations
– Of what children should gain from education = for intellectual performances
– Are universal # differ
Explain: Paragraph E suggests that people’s “expectations for intellectual performances differ for children of different ages” and of different cultures. Therefore, these expectations are not universal (universal = common in the world). The statement contradicts the author’s claims, so the answer is NO.
Question: Scholars may discuss theories without fully understanding each other.
Keywords: Without fully understanding each other = are likely to miss the point of what others are saying
Explain: The last sentence of paragraph J states that: “Until scholars are able to discuss their implicit theories and thus their assumptions, they are likely to miss the point of what others are saying”. The expression “miss the point” here has a similar meaning to “not fully understand”, so this sentence means that scholars usually discuss their own theories without fully understanding other scholars. The answer is therefore YES.
Question: It is desirable for the same possibilities to be open to everyone.
Keywords: Same possibilities to be open to everyone = should have equal opportunities
Explain: The first sentence of paragraph H includes the statement: “the Jeffersonian view is that people should have equal opportunities.” Later in the paragraph, we find: “In the Jeffersonian view, the goal of education is not to favor or foster an elite…” Thus, the idea that “It is desirable for the same possibilities to be open to everyone” belongs to Jeffersonian view. The answer is B.
Question: No section of society should have preferential treatment at the expense of another.
Keywords: No section of society should have preferential treatment = all people are equal = one person would serve as well as another in…
Explain: In paragraph I, the Jacksonian view is that “we do not need or want any institutions that might lead to favouring one group over another”. The answer is C
Question: People should only gain benefits on the basis of what they actually achieve.
– Gain benefits = are rewarded
– On the basis of what they actually achieve = for what they accomplish
Explain: According to Jeffersonian view in paragraph H, “people are rewarded for what they accomplish”. The answer is B
Question: Variation in intelligence begins at birth.
– Variation in intelligence = with different levels of intelligence
– Begins at birth = people are born
Explain: According to paragraph G, the Hamiltonian view is that “people are born with different levels of intelligence”, which means variation in intelligence begins at birth. So the answer is A.
Question: The more intelligent people should be in positions of power.
– The more intelligent people = a cognitive (high-IQ) elite
– Be in position of power = have to take responsibility
Explain: The Hamiltonian view, still in paragraph G, suggests that the more intelligent should keep the less intelligent “in line”, which means they should be in control. They hold the positions of power like government officials or philosopher-kings. Thus, the answer is A.
Question: took many trips along eastern rivers in a 12………….
– Took many trips = often travelled
– Along eastern rivers = …and other noted eastern rivers
Explain: We can use the first point in “travelling as a professional photographer” as a cue: it is stated in the first sentence of paragraph 7. Subsequently, “eastern rivers” are mentioned, as Henderson “often travelled by canoe” on these rivers. Thus, the answer is “canoe”.
Question: People of low intelligence are likely to lead uncontrolled lives.
– People of low intelligence = non-elite (low-IQ) people = the unintelligent
– Lead uncontrolled lives = always have created a kind of chaos
Explain: According to Hamiltonian theory in paragraph G, the unintelligent would create chaos if left to themselves. This means that their lives are uncontrolled.
The concept of intelligence
Looked at in one way, everyone knows what intelligence is; looked at in another way, no one does. In other words, people all have unconscious notions – known as ‘implicit theories’ – of intelligence, but no one knows for certain what it actually is (Q2). This chapter addresses how people conceptualize intelligence, whatever it may actually be.
But why should we even care what people think intelligence is, as opposed only to valuing whatever it actually is? There are at least four seasons people’s conceptions of intelligence matter.
First, implicit theories of intelligence drive the way in which people perceive and evaluate their own intelligence and that of others. To better understand the judgments people make about their own and others’ abilities, it is useful to learn about people’s implicit theories. For example, parents’ implicit theories of their children’s language development will determine at what ages they will be willing to make various corrections in their children’s speech. More generally, parents’ implicit theories of intelligence will determine at what ages they believe their children are ready to perform various cognitive tasks (Q1). Job interviewers will make hiring decisions on the basis of their implicit theories of intelligence. People will decide who to be friends with on the basis of such theories. In sum, knowledge about implicit theories of intelligence is important because this knowledge is so often used by people to make judgments in the course of their everyday lives.
Second, the implicit theories of scientific investigators ultimately give rise to their explicit theories. Thus it is useful to find out what these implicit theories are. Implicit theories provide a framework that is useful in defining the general scope of a phenomenon – especially a not-well-understood phenomenon. These implicit theories can suggest what aspects of the phenomenon have been more or less attended to in previous investigations.
Third, implicit theories can be useful when an investigator suspects that existing explicit theories are wrong or misleading (Q3). If an investigation of implicit theories reveals little correspondence between the extant implicit and explicit theories, the implicit theories may be wrong. But the possibility also needs to be taken into account that the explicit theories are wrong and in need of correction or supplementation. For example, some implicit theories of intelligence suggest the need for expansion of some of our explicit theories of the construct.
Finally, understanding implicit theories of intelligence can help elucidate developmental and cross-cultural differences. As mentioned earlier, people have expectations for intellectual performances that differ for children of different ages. How these expectations differ is in part a function of culture (Q5). For example, expectations for children who participate in Western-style schooling are almost certain to be different from those for children who do not participate in such schooling.
I have suggested that there are three major implicit theories of how intelligence relates to society as a whole (Sternberg, 1997). These might be called Hamiltonian, Jeffersonian, and Jacksonian. These views are not based strictly, but rather, loosely, on the philosophies of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson, three great statesmen in the history of the United States.
The Hamiltonian view, which is similar to the Platonic view, is that people are born with different levels of intelligence and that those who are less intelligent need the good offices of the more intelligent to keep them in line, whether they are called government officials or, in Plato’s term, philosopher-kings (Q10). Herrnstein and Murray (1994) seem to have shared this belief when they wrote about the emergence of a cognitive (high-IQ) elite, which eventually would have to take responsibility for the largely irresponsible masses of non-elite (low-IQ) people who cannot take care of themselves (Q11). Left to themselves, the unintelligent would create, as they always have created, a kind of chaos (Q13).
The Jeffersonian view is that people should have equal opportunities (Q7), but they do not necessarily avail themselves equally of these opportunities and are not necessarily equally rewarded for their accomplishments. People are rewarded for what they accomplish, if given equal opportunity (Q9). Low achievers are not rewarded to the same extent as high achievers. In the Jeffersonian view, the goal of education is not to favor or foster an elite, as in the Hamiltonian tradition, but rather to allow children the opportunities to make full use of the skills they have. My own views are similar to these (Sternberg, 1997).
The Jacksonian view is that all people are equal, not only as human beings but in terms of their competencies – that one person would serve as well as another in government or on a jury or in almost any position of responsibility (Q8). In this view of democracy, people are essentially intersubstitutable except for specialized skills, all of which can be learned (Q12). In this view, we do not need or want any institutions that might lead to favoring one group over another.
Implicit theories of intelligence and of the relationship of intelligence to society perhaps need to be considered more carefully than they have been because they often serve as underlying presuppositions for explicit theories and even experimental designs that are then taken as scientific contributions. Until scholars are able to discuss their implicit theories and thus their assumptions, they are likely to miss the point of what others are saying when discussing their explicit theories and their data (Q6).
Question: mention of factors driving a renewed interest in natural medicinal compounds
Keywords: Renewed = back on the map, Drive = prompt
Explain: The first sentence of paragraph C states that laboratory-based drug discovery has now “prompted the development of new approaches focusing once again on natural products”. The phrase “once again” implies that this interest in natural medicine had existed before, and now it is “renewed”. So, this is one factor behind the renewed interest in natural products. Paragraph C then mentions another factor: “This realisation, together with several looming health crises, such as antibiotic resistance, has put bioprospecting – the search for useful compounds in nature – firmly back on the map”. The expression “back on the map” also refers to “a renewed interest”.
Question: how recent technological advances have made insect research easier
Keywords: recent, technological, advances, insect, research, easier
Explain: The only paragraph which concerns technological advances is paragraph H: it is now possible to snip out insects’ DNA and insert them into other cells that can produce larger quantities. The phrase “now possible” suggests that it wasn’t possible in the past, implying a great development in technology and science. The answer is H.
Question: examples of animals which use medicinal substances from nature.
– examples of animals: capuchin monkeys; the chimpanzees
– medicinal substances from nature: toxin-oozing millipedes, noxious forest plants
Explain: Paragraph A gives examples of primates which use natural substances like toxin-oozing millipedes or noxious forest plants as medicine.
Question: reasons why it is challenging to use insects in drug research
– Why it is challenging = a daunting task
– Drug research = bioprospecting
Explain: Paragraph F discusses 3 reasons why it is very difficult, or challenging, to use insects in bioprospecting (which is the search for plant and animal species from which medicinal drugs and other commercially valuable compounds can be obtained).
Question: reference to how interest in drug research may benefit wildlife
– interest in drug = As much as I’d love to help develop a groundbreaking insect-derived medicine
– Benefit wildlife = conservation
Explain: The relation between insect research and wildlife (wilderness) can be found in paragraph I. The author claims that his main motivation for insect research is actually wildlife conservation, because “all species, however small and seemingly insignificant, have a right to exist for their own sake”. Thus, by showing the practical value of insect research, people would appreciate nature more, and wildlife in general will benefit.
Question: a reason why nature-based medicines fell out of favour for a period
– Fell out of favour = moved its focus away
– for a period = for a while
– A reason why = the main cause of this shift
– Medicine = pharmaceutical science
Explain: According to paragraph B: “for a while, modern pharmaceutical science moved its focus away from nature”. The term “moved its focus away” means that natural medicine was no longer the focus of pharmaceutical science. Attention „shifted‟ to the design of chemical compounds in the laboratory. In other words, it fell out of favour.
Question: an example of an insect-derived medicine in use at the moment
Keywords: example, insect-derived, medicine
Explain: Paragraph E mentions several promising compounds derived from insects, such as alloferon, which is used in Russia and South Korea. Hence, paragraph E gives an example of an insect-derived medicine in use at the moment.
21-22. B, C
Question: Which TWO of the following make insects interesting for drug research?
B the variety of substances insects have developed to protect themselves
C the potential to extract and make use of insects’ genetic codes
– The variety of = an enormous range of
– Substances = compounds
– Protect themselves = for defensive and offensive purposes
– The potential = their potential
– Insects’ genetic codes = sources of therapeutic compounds
Explain: Although using insects for drug research is challenging, it is also interesting and potentially useful. In paragraph G, the author mentions that many insects can release compounds to subdue their prey or to deal with pathogenic bacteria and fungi. This means that humans can make use of these compounds to produce antibiotics. Thus, B is one correct answer. Another benefit from insect research is that we can extract useful compounds by snipping out insect DNAs and inserting them into particular cells to allow larger production. Therefore, C is correct.
Question: Ross Piper and fellow zoologists at Aberystwyth University are using their expertise in 23………….. when undertaking bioprospecting with insects.
– Ross Piper and fellow zoologists = my colleagues and I
– are using = we use
– expertise in = our knowledge of
Explain: Using the skim and scan skill, we can find information about Aberystwyth University scientists in paragraph G. There, Piper and his colleagues use their knowledge in ecology to target certain insects for bioprospecting.
Question: They are especially interested in the compounds that insects produce to overpower and preserve their 24……………..
– are especially interested in = that particularly interest us
– compounds that insects produce = secrete powerful poison for
– Overpower = subduing
– preserve = keeping it fresh for future consumption
Explain: The creatures that particularly interest the scientists are those that product substances to subdue their prey and to keep it fresh. Thus, it is clear that the answer is “prey”.
Question: They are also interested in compounds which insects use to protect themselves from pathogenic bacteria and fungi found in their 25…………….
Keywords: compounds which insects use to protect themselves = many antimicrobial compounds for dealing with
Explain: The insects that have to product compounds to fight against pathogenic bacteria and fungi, as well as other micro-organisms, usually live in filthy habitats. Thus, it can be understood that pathogenic bacteria and fungi are found in these insects‟ habitats. Note that we cannot use “filthy habitats” because only one word is allowed.
Question: Piper hopes that these substances will be useful in the development of drugs such as 26……………
– Many compounds = these substances
– will be useful = there is certainly potential
– in the development of = inspire new
Explain: Piper (the author) states that “there is certainly potential to find many compounds that can serve as or inspire new antibiotics”. This means he hopes that these compounds and substances will be used to develop antibiotics (a type of drug). The answer is “antibiotics”.
Saving bugs to find new drugs
Zoologist Ross Piper looks at the potential of insects in pharmaceutical research
More drugs than you might think are derived from, or inspired by, compounds found in living things. Looking to nature for the soothing and curing of our ailments is nothing new – we have been doing it for tens of thousands of years. You only have to look at other primates – such as the capuchin monkeys who rub themselves with toxin-oozing millipedes to deter mosquitoes, or the chimpanzees who use noxious forest plants to rid themselves of intestinal parasites (Q16) – to realise that our ancient ancestors too probably had a basic grasp of medicine.
Pharmaceutical science and chemistry built on these ancient foundations and perfected the extraction, characterization, modification and testing of these natural products. Then, for a while, modern pharmaceutical science moved its focus away from nature and into the laboratory, designing chemical compounds from scratch. The main cause of this shift is that although there are plenty of promising chemical compounds in nature, finding them is far from easy (Q19). Securing sufficient numbers of the organism in question, isolating and characterizing the compounds of interest, and producing large quantities of these compounds are all significant hurdles.
Laboratory-based drug discovery has achieved varying levels of success, something which has now prompted the development of new approaches focusing once again on natural products. With the ability to mine genomes for useful compounds, it is now evident that we have barely scratched the surface of nature’s molecular diversity. This realisation, together with several looming health crises, such as antibiotic resistance, has put bioprospecting – the search for useful compounds in nature – firmly back on the map (Q14).
Insects are the undisputed masters of the terrestrial domain, where the occupy every possible niche. Consequently, they have a bewildering array of interactions with other organisms, something which has driven the evolution of an enormous range of very interesting compounds for defensive and offensive purposes (Q21 Q22). Their remarkable diversity exceeds that of every other group of animals on the planet combined. Yet even though insects are far and away the most diverse animals in existence, their potential as sources of therapeutic compounds is yet to be realised (Q21 Q22).
From the tiny proportion of insects that have been investigated, several promising compounds have been identified. For example, alloferon, an antimicrobial compound produced by blow fly larvae, is used as an antiviral and antitumor agent in South Korea and Russia (Q20). The larvae of a few other insect species are being investigated for the potent antimicrobial compounds they produce. Meanwhile, a compound from the venom of the wasp Polybia paulista has potential in cancer treatment.
Why is it that insects have received relatively little attention in bioprospecting? Firstly, there are so many insects that, without some manner of targeted approach, investigating this huge variety of species is a daunting task. Secondly, insects are generally very small, and the glands inside them that secrete potentially useful compounds are smaller still. This can make it difficult to obtain sufficient quantities of the compound for subsequent testing. Thirdly, although we consider insects to be everywhere, the reality of this ubiquity is vast numbers of a few extremely common species. Many insect species are infrequently encountered and very difficult (Q17) to rear in captivity, which, again, can leave us with insufficient material to work with.
My colleagues and I at Aberystwyth University in the UK have developed an approach in which we use our knowledge of ecology as a guide to target our efforts (Q23). The creatures that particularly interest us are the many insects that secrete powerful poison for subduing prey and keeping it fresh for future consumption (Q24). There are even more insects that are masters of exploiting filthy habitats, such as faeces and carcasses, where they are regularly challenged by thousands of micro-organisms. These insects have many antimicrobial compounds for dealing with pathogenic bacteria and fungi (Q25), suggesting that there is certainly potential to find many compounds that can serve as or inspire new antibiotics (Q26).
Although natural history knowledge points us in the right direction, it doesn’t solve the problems associated with obtaining useful compounds from insects. Fortunately, it is now possible to snip out the stretches of the insect’s DNA that carry the codes for the interesting compounds and insert them into cell lines that allow larger quantities to be produced (Q15). And although the road from isolating and characterizing compounds with desirable qualities to developing a commercial product is very long and full of pitfalls, the variety of successful animal-derived pharmaceuticals on the market demonstrates there is a precedent here that is worth exploring.
With every bit of wilderness that disappears, we deprive ourselves of potential medicines. As much as I’d love to help develop a groundbreaking insect-derived medicine, my main motivation for looking at insects in this way is conservation (Q18). I sincerely believe that all species, however small and seemingly insignificant, have a right to exist for their own sake. If we can shine a light on the darker recesses of nature’s medicine cabinet, exploring the useful chemistry of the most diverse animals on the planet, I believe we can make people think differently about the value of nature.
Question: Play can be divided into a number of separate categories.
– can be divided into = range from
– a number of categories = various types of play
– separate = discrete
Explain: According to Miller & Almon (paragraph 4), there are “discrete descriptions of various types of play such as physical, construction, language or symbolic play”. This means that play can be divided into various types or categories. The answer is B.
Question: Adults’ intended goals affect how they play with children.
– Adults’ intended goals = their educational goals
– how they play with children = The adult’s role in play
– affect = varies
Explain: Hirsch-Pasek et al (paragraph 8) state that the adult’s role in play varies according to their educational goals. In other words, adults‟ goals affect how they play with children (by taking different roles). The answer is G.
Question: Combining work with play may be the best way for children to learn.
– Combining work with play = this mid-point between play and work
– be the best way for children to learn = create robust opportunities for playful learning.
Explain: Joan Goodman (paragraph 7) suggested that “hybrid forms of work and play can provide optimal contexts for learning”. This means that such hybrid, or combination, could be the best way for children to learn.
Question: Certain elements of play are more significant than others.
– Certain elements of play = aspects of play (process orientation and a lack of obvious functional purpose)
– are more significant than others = may be the most important
Explain: While Rubin et al (paragraph 5 and 6) considered all aspects, or dimensions, of play along a continuum from less playful to more playful, they did not state that certain elements of play are more important than others: “Rubin and colleagues did not assign greater weight to any one dimension in determining playfulness”. However, Pellegrini (paragraph 6) suggested that two aspects are “the most important”, namely “process orientation” and “a lack of obvious functional purpose”. It can be inferred that Pellegrini considered these two aspects more important (more significant) than others.
Question: Activities can be classified on a scale of playfulness
– Activities = children’s playful behaviors
– can be classified = can range
– on a scale of playfulness = in degree from 0% to 100% playful.
Explain: Rubin and colleagues (paragraph 5) claim that play is defined as more or less playful according to a set of criteria. In other words, there is a scale of playfulness for play. Thus, the matching researchers are Rubin et al.
Question: Children need toys in order to play.
Keywords: children, toys, play
Explain: In the second sentence of the passage, the author states that children will play in any circumstances, even when they have no real toys. Thus, it is incorrect to say that children need toys to play.
Question: It is a mistake to treat play and learning as separate types of activities.
– It is a mistake = false
– separate types of activities = dichotomy between play and learning.
Explain: The distinction between learning and play can be found in the last sentence of paragraph 2: “our society has created a false dichotomy between play and learning”. The word “dichotomy” means division, distinction between opposite things. Thus, it is false to treat play and learning as separate activities.
34. NOT GIVEN
Question: Play helps children to develop their artistic talents.
Keywords: play, children, develop, artistic, talents
Explain: Paragraph 3 gives some examples of benefits of play for children, including benefits in their behavior, science, maths, problem-solving skills, etc. Although the word “creative” is mentioned, this is only used to refer to problem-solving skills. However, there is no mention of “artistic talents”.
Question: Researchers have agreed on a definition of play.
– have agreed on = Full consensus on
– a definition of play = definition of play
Explain: It is stated in paragraph 4 that “full consensus on a formal definition of play continues to elude the researchers and theorists who study it”. “Full consensus” means “full agreement”. The word “elude” suggests that the definition is hard to be grasped by researchers. Thus, it is clear that they have not agreed on a definition of play yet. So the statement contradicts the author’s claims.
Question: Work and play differ in terms of whether or not they have a target.
– differ = Unlike
– is goal oriented = have a target
Explain: The difference between work and play is stated in the following sentence in paragraph 7: “Unlike play, work is typically not viewed as enjoyable and it is extrinsically motivated (i.e. it is goal oriented”. To have a goal is the same as to have a target. Work has a target, and in that way it is different from play.
Question: Alternatively, an adult can play with a child and develop the play, for instance by 37…………… the child to investigate different aspects of their game.
– Alternatively = In the more direct form of guided play
– an adult = parents or other adults
– can play with a child = joining in the fun as a coplayer
– Investigate = further exploration
– of their game = to the child’s activity
Explain: The answer can be found in paragraph 9, which is about guided play. The author mentions that there are two forms of guided play, and we need to focus on the second, more direct form. In this form, the adult can encourage “further exploration or new facets” by asking questions or making comments while joining in the play.
Question: Adults can help children to learn through play, and may make the activity rather structured, but it should still be based on the child’s 38…………. to play.
– and may make the activity rather structured = playful learning can be somewhat structured
– based on = stem from
Explain: According to Nicolopolou et al in paragraph 9, while play can be somewhat structured (with the help of adults), it must also be child-centred and “stem from the child’s own desire”. In other words, the play should be based on the child and his/her desire to play.
Question: Play without the intervention of adults gives children real 39………….
– Play without the intervention of adults = Intrinsically motivated free play
– gives children = provides the child with
– real = true
Explain: It is stated (in paragraph 10) that “free play provides the child with true autonomy”.
Question: With adults, play can be 40……………. at particular goals. However, all forms of play should be an opportunity for children to have fun.
– all forms of play = In either case
– have fun = must be fun
Explain: In paragraph 10, it is stated that “guided play…can provide more targeted learning experiences”. We already know (from question 36), that “targets” and “goals‟ have a similar meaning. Guided play refers to play with the intervention of adults, so the blank should be filled with “targeted”.
The power of play
Virtually every child, the world over, plays. The drive to play is so intense that children will do so in any circumstances, for instance when they have no real toys, or when parents do not actively encourage the behavior (Q32). In the eyes of a young child, running, pretending, and building are fun. Researchers and educators know that these playful activities benefit the development of the whole child across social, cognitive, physical, and emotional domains. Indeed, play is such an instrumental component to healthy child development that the United Nation High Commission on Human Rights (1989) recognized play as a fundamental right of every child.
Yet, while experts continue to expound a powerful argument for the importance of play in children’s lives, the actual time children spend playing continues to decrease. Today, children play eight hours less each week than their counterparts did two decades ago (Elkind 2008). Under pressure of rising academic standards, play is being replaced by test preparation in kindergartens and grade schools, and parents who aim to give their preschoolers a leg up are led to believe that flashcards and educational ‘toys’ are the path to success. Our society has created a false dichotomy between play and learning (Q33).
Through play, children learn to regulate their behavior, lay the foundations for later learning in science and mathematics, figure out the complex negotiations of social relationships, build a repertoire of creative problem-solving skills, and so much more (Q34). There is also an important role for adults in guiding children through playful learning opportunities.
Full consensus on a formal definition of play continues to elude the researchers and theorists who study it (Q35). Definitions range from discrete descriptions of various types of play such as physical, construction, language, or symbolic play (Miler & Almon 2009) (Q27), to lists of broad criteria, based on observations and attitudes, that are meant to capture the essence of all play behaviors (e.g. Rubin et al. 1983).
A majority of the contemporary definitions of play focus on several key criteria. The founder of the National Institute for Play, Stuart Brown, has described play as ‘anything that spontaneously is done for its own sake’. More specifically, he says it ‘appears purposeless, produces pleasure and joy, [and] leads one to the next stage of mastery’ (as quoted in Tippett 2008). Similarly, Miller and Almon (2009) say that play includes ‘activities that are freely chosen and directed by children and arise from intrinsic motivation’. Often, play is defined along a continuum as more or less playful using the following set of behavioral and dispositional criteria (e.g. Rubin et al. 1983).
Play is pleasurable: Children must enjoy the activity or it is not play. It is intrinsically motivated: Children engage in play simply for the satisfaction the behavior itself brings. It has no extrinsically motivated function or goal. Play is process oriented: When children play, the means are more important than the ends. It is freely chosen, spontaneous and voluntary. If a child is pressured, they will likely not think of the activity as play. Play is actively engaged: Players must be physically and/or mentally involved in the activity. Play is non-literal. It involves make-believe.
According to this view, children’s playful behaviors can range in degree from 0% to 100% playful. Rubin and colleagues did not assign greater weight to any one dimension in determining playfulness (Q31); however, other researchers have suggested that process orientation and a lack of obvious functional purpose may be the most important aspects of play (e.g. Pellegrini 2009) (Q30).
From the perspective of a continuum, play can thus blend with other motives and attitudes that are less playful, such as work. Unlike play, work is typically not viewed as enjoyable and it is extrinsically motivated (i.e. it is goal oriented) (Q36). Researcher Joan Goodman (1994) suggested that hybrid forms of work and play are not a detriment to learning; rather, they can provide optimal contexts for learning (Q29). For example, a child may be engaged in a difficult, goal-directed activity set up by their teacher, but they may still be actively engaged and intrinsically motivated. At this mid-point between play and work, the child’s motivation, coupled with guidance from an adult, can create robust opportunities for playful learning.
Critically, recent research supports the idea that adults can facilitate children’s learning while maintaining a playful approach in interactions known as ‘guided play’ (Fisher et al. 2011). The adult’s role in play varies as a function of their educational goals and the child’s developmental level (Hirsch-Pasek et al. 2009) (Q28).
Guided play takes two forms. At a very basic level, adults can enrich the child’s environment by providing objects or experiences that promote aspects of a curriculum. In the more direct form of guided play, parents or other adults can support children’s play by joining in the fun as a co-player, raising thoughtful questions, commenting on children’s discoveries, or encouraging further exploration or new facets to the child’s activity (Q37). Although playful learning can be somewhat structured, it must also be child-centered (Nicolopolou et al. 2006). Play should stem from the child’s own desire (Q38).
Both free and guided play are essential elements in a child-centered approach to playful learning. Intrinsically motivated free play provides the child with true autonomy (Q39), while guided play is an avenue through which parents and educators can provide more targeted learning experiences. In either case, play should be actively engaged, it should be predominantly child-directed, and it must be fun (Q40).