In our presentation we talked about the two learning theorists Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, who are two different psychologists of cognitive constructivism. In my seminar paper I will talk about Jean Piaget and his theory.
Jean Piaget developed his theory of cognitive development. When we think about the nature of children’s learning and thinking, it is mainly dominated by the ideas of Jean Piaget. Piaget’s theory was neglected for many years by psychologists. Is work was not took seriously until the mid 1960’s (D,Wood.1988). Jean Piaget is ‘concerned with the changes which take place in a person’s mental make-up between birth and maturity’ (J, Turner. 1975).
Piaget’s View of Learning was a ‘process where an individual constructs his or her own meaning through cognitive processes’ (Sonia, D. 2010). Piaget said before his theories to education could be discussed, he must define intelligence. He defines intelligence as “a form of equilibration, or forms of equilibration, towards which all cognitive functions lead” (Piaget 1962).
Piaget says there are fixed stages which every child goes through which is Piaget’s stages of cognitive development. He believes there are four stages of children’s development or learning and that the stages provide a guide and a view of learning. Piaget’s stages offer a detailed set of ‘Universal stages’ in human development (D,Wood.1988). The stages provide an explanation in to how and when a child is ready to develop or learn. At each stage a child develops a certain amount of knowledge and understanding
Piaget believed that everyone passed through these stages and that a child cannot skip these stages or re-order them. However there is some variability in the ages at which children attain each stage. He believes that for a child to understand the world, they cannot undertake certain takes until they are psychologically mature enough to do so (http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/piaget.htm).
The first stage of Piaget is the Sensori-motor stage which occurs from Birth to the age of two. At this stage children learn through experience and they learn about their environment in which they live in. Here the development of ‘Object Permanence’ is one of the main characteristics of this stage. This means the realisation that objects continue to exist even when they are not visible. The child has no awareness of objects or people that are not immediately present at a given moment and so Piaget called this a ‘lack of object permanence’ (http://www.essortment.com/all/jeanpiagettheo_rnrn.htm).During this stage once a child has reached as little as eight months old, they develop awareness and they actively search for an item. However at this stage children have no distinction between ‘a thing’ and ‘acting in response’ to something (J, Turner. 1975). “Thus the sensory aspects of experience are ‘classified’ in terms of actions.” The child begins to act intentionally e.g. shakes a rattle to make a noise (http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/piaget.htm).
The next stage is the Pre-operational stage which occurs from two to seven years old. Here a Child can make ‘mental representations of unseen objects’ and children can begin to think. The child is able to distinguish between himself and objects. For example the child can classify objects, by grouping all the red blocks together regarding the shape. The child can be easily mislead, by observing people. Pre-operational thinking ‘is things are as they seem to be rather than as they must be’ (J, Turner. 1975). Children in this stage are characterized by what Piaget called ‘egocentric thoughts’ (http://www.essortment.com/all/jeanpiagettheo_rnrn.htm). This means that the child as one point of view and finds it difficult to accept other people’s views. At this stage the child as difficulty conserving, for example the conservation of liquid volume or the conservation of amount of substance...
References: D,Wood. (1988) How Children, Think and Learn. ‘Images of Childhood’.PP6-27.Basil Blackwell LTD.
Sonia, D. (2010). Lecture 5. Piaget.
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