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The students we are discussing are not stupid or lazy. Perhaps they are not "reasoning", in our logical sense of the term, but we need to consider the possibility that this is due to gaps in the development of their mental structure rather than to inherent lack of growth potential. If we channel our impatience toward providing concrete, "hands-on" learning environments, I believe we may teach more effectively in the long run.
Therefore I encourage you to take Piaget's work seriously--if not for its specifics, at least for its metaphorical value--for it presents a very compelling model for describing the growth of our students. "Mess around" with the theory, be sensitive to the grain of students' mental structures, and experiment with some concrete teaching materials.