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Piaget (1896 - 1980). Piaget’s theory of development is the most widely known theory of cognitive development. He was intrigued by children’s thoughts and behavior and worked to understand their cognitive development. . Some background on Piaget. Young Piaget was incredibly precocious

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piaget 1896 1980
Piaget (1896 - 1980)
  • Piaget’s theory of development is the most widely known theory of cognitive development.
  • He was intrigued by children’s thoughts and behavior and worked to understand their cognitive development.
some background on piaget
Some background on Piaget
  • Young Piaget was incredibly precocious
    • Published his first paper at age 10
    • Was interested in and wrote on mollusks, based on these writings was asked to be the curator of mollusks at a museum in Geneva (he declined in order to finish secondary school)
    • Earned his doctorate in natural sciences at 21
    • Began to study psychology, applying intelligence tests to school children

Piaget and Learning

  • Learning happens through a process of assimilation and accommodation.
  • Assimilation is a process of matching external reality to an existing cognitive structure.
  • When there is an inconsistency between the learner’s cognitive structure and the thing being learned, the child will reorganize her thoughts, this is accommodation.
  • We adjust our ideas to make sense of reality.
piaget s genetic epistemology
Piaget’s Genetic Epistemology
  • Piaget referred to himself as a genetic epistemologist, one who studies how knowledge begins and develops in individuals.
  • Piaget’s developmental theory was heavily influenced by his science background, he saw children as “little scientists”.
  • He argued that a child’s capacity to understand certain concepts is based on the child’s developmental stage.
piaget s four stages
Piaget’s Four Stages
  • Piaget believed that all children develop according to four stages based on how they see the world. He felt that the age may vary some, but that all children go through the stages in the same order.
  • The stages:

1. Sensorimotor (birth –2 years)

2. Preoperational (2-7)

3. Concrete operational (7-11)

4. Formal operations (12-15)

sensorimotor stage
Sensorimotor Stage
  • From birth to about 2 years, rapid change is seen throughout this stage.
  • The child will:
    • Explore the world through senses and motor activity
    • In the early stages can’t tell difference between themselves and the environment
    • If they can’t see something then it doesn’t exist
    • Begin to understand cause and effect
    • Can follow something with their eyes
preoperational stage
Preoperational stage
  • From about 2 to about 7
  • The child will:
    • Communicate better through speech
    • Can imagine the future and reflect on the past
    • Develop basic numerical abilities
    • Still pretty egocentric, but learning to be able to delay gratification
    • Can’t understand conservation of matter
    • Have difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality (ex: cartoon characters are real people).
more preoperational
…more preoperational
  • Conservation of matter – understanding that something doesn’t change even though it looks different, shape is not related to quantity
  • Ex: Are ten coins set in a long line more than ten coins in a pile?
  • Ex: Is there less water if it is poured into a bigger container?
concrete operational stage
Concrete Operational Stage
  • From about 7 – to about 11
  • The child will:
    • The ability to generalize from the concrete increases, but abstract thinking is not yet possible (don’t teach algebra…wastes your time, and annoys the child)
    • Understands conservation of matter
formal operations
Formal Operations
  • From about 12 to about 15
  • The child can:
    • Be able to think about hypothetical situations
    • Form and test hypotheses
    • Organize information
    • Reason scientifically
Development happens from one stage to another through interaction with the environment.
  • Changes from one stage to stage may occur abruptly and kids will differ in how long they are in each stage.
  • Cognitive development can only happen after genetically controlled biological growth occurs.
  • Development leads to learning
    • The child can only learn certain things when she is at the right developmental stage.
Piaget did not think it was possible to hurry along or skip stages through education.
  • Development would happen naturally through regular interaction with social environment.
  • Drive for development is internal
  • Environmental factors can influence but not direct development
problems with piaget s theory
Problems with Piaget’s theory
  • Children often grasp ideas earlier than what Piaget found.
  • Cognitive development across domains is inconsistent (e.g. better at reading than math)
  • Studies have shown that development can to some degree be accelerated.
erik erikson s theory
Erik Erikson’s Theory
  • Like Piaget’s theory, Erikson’s theory is also built on stages.
  • His theory is a life-span theory.
  • Erikson came up with 8 stages, from birth to death.
  • Each stage is based on a basic human conflict.
erickson s first 4 stages
Erickson’s First 4 Stages
  • Oral-Sensory: Birth to 12-18 months
      • -Issue: Trust vs. Mistrust, Event: Feeding
  • Muscular-Anal: 18 months to 3 years
      • Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt, Event: Toilet training
  • Locomotor: 3 to 6 years
      • Initiative vs. Guilt, Event: Independence
  • Latency: 6 to 12 years
      • Industry vs. Inferiority, Event: School
erickson s second 4 stages
Erickson’s Second 4 Stages
  • 5. Adolescence: 12 to 18 years
      • Issue: Identity vs. Role Confusion, Event: Peer Relationships
  • 6. Young Adulthood: 19-40 years
      • Issue: Intimacy vs. Isolation, Event: Love Relationships

7. Middle Adulthood: 40-65 years

      • Issue: Generatitvity vs. Stagnation, Event: Parenting

8. Maturity: 65 to Death

- Issue: Ego Integrity vs. Despair, Event: Reflection on and acceptance of one’s life

problems with erikson
Problems with Erikson
  • Erikson got much of his research for creating the stages from reading biographies on famous men like MLK and Gandhi.
  • Identity formation issues: What about adults who reform their identity, rediscover who they are? Is it possible for an individual to change throughout life?
  • Critics argue that his theory is more applicable to boys than girls.
vygotsky s take on development
Vygotsky’s take on Development
  • Unlike Piaget’s image of the individual constructing understanding alone, Vygotsky saw cognitive development as depending more on interactions with the people and tools in the child’s world.
    • Tools are real: pens, paper, computers; or symbols: language, math systems, signs

...and more Vygotsky

  • Vygotsky developed the theory of the Zone of proximal development (zoped)
    • The zoped is the distance between where a learner is at developmentally on their own and where a learner could be with the help of a more knowledgeable other.
    • A more knowledgeable othercan be an adult or a peer, helping a learner in this way is to scaffold their learning.