The theory of cognitive development is defined as the development of the ability to think and reason. There are many theorists who have studied cognitive theories and the most famous is Jean Piaget. Cognitive development covers the physical and emotional stages of a child. The basic premise for cognitive development is to show the different stages of the development of a child so you can understand where the child might be in their development. Understanding cognitive development will better prepare the teacher when it comes to dealing with children and how to handle situations.
The way children learn and mentally grow plays a central role in their learning process and abilities. When the teacher knows about the development of children then they can help with the development of each individual child on both the physical and emotional level. It will also allow the teacher to better relate to the child and understand what they are thinking. The two theorists I will be discussing are Jean Piaget and Lev Semionovich Vygotsky. Both Piaget and Vygotsky were regarded as constructivist. On the web site www. fundstanding. om is says that “Constructivism is a philosophy of learning that states by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in. Each of us generates our own “rules” and “mental models,” which we use to make sense of our experiences. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences”. Theories of learning are based on ideas that are called constructivist theories of learning. This theory states that students learn by fitting new information together with what they already know.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
Both of them also believed that the boundaries of cognitive growth were established by societal influences and that egocentric speech is an important part of their cognitive development. The key ideas of Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theory differ. Piaget believed that intelligence comes from action. He held that children learn through interacting with their surroundings and that learning takes place after development. Piaget also believed that intellectual growth involves three fundamental processes, assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration.
On the other hand, Vygotsky felt that learning happens before development can occur and that children learn because of history, symbolism, and environment. Vygotsky also believed that children value input from their surroundings and from others. Piaget did not place importance on the input of others. Piaget and Vygotsky’s theories on cognitive development also have differing opinions. Piaget believed that development precedes learning and Vygotsky’s suggests that learning precedes development. Piaget is famous for his stages of development from birth through adolescence.
Piaget divided this development into four stages. His first stage is the Sensorimotor Stage (Birth to age 2), second stage is the Preoperational Stage (Ages 2 to 7), third stage is the Concrete Operational Stage (Ages 7 to 11), and the forth stage is the Formal Operational Stage (Ages 11 to adulthood). o Sensorimotor Stage: Babies and young children will explore their world by using their senses and motor skill that they are developing. They also use their reflexes. o Preoperational Stage: They develop the ability to use symbols in the world. They will also develop at an incredible rate.
Children also think they are egocentric meaning everyone thinks as they do. o Concrete Operational: Improvement in the ability to think logically. They are also learning the ability to solve problems. o Formal Operational: Starts to think abstractly and learns to deal with potential or hypothetical situations. Piaget has for distinct stages for development but Vygotsky does not have any set stages. The first phase of Vygotsky’s theory is Private Speech. “Private speech is a mechanism the Vygotsky emphasized for turning shared knowledge into personal knowledge” (Slavin, 2009, p. 43).
Private speech is easy to see in young children because they will talk to themselves and latter that speech does not disappear but it becomes silent. The second aspect of his cognitive development is the Zone of Proximal Development. Vygotsky’s idea of a zone of proximal development is the second aspect of his cognitive theory. A zone of proximal development describes tasks that children have not learned but are capable of learning. The zone of proximal development contains things that children may not be able to do alone at the time, but are on the verge of achieving with some assistance.
He believes that learning takes place during the Zone of Proximal Development. Vygotsky felt it was important to work within the zone proximal development to achieve maximum learning. Another aspect is Scaffolding, which means providing a child with a great deal of support during the early stages of development. Scaffolding involves the final piece of Vygotsky’s cognitive development theory. Teachers will be applying both Piaget’s and Vugptsky’s theories on cognitive development. When it comes to Piaget’s theory a kindergarten teacher would focus more on how the children are developing and not how the final outcome will be.
If the children are given a finger painting assignment you will want to see how they handle paints and what they are doing. Teachers will also need to provide learning opportunities that will help them development in each stage. When you are teaching about shapes you need to use items that they are familiar with. The teachers will also need to see the world as they do and help them understand different shapes and forms. With Vygotsky’s theory the kindergarten teacher will what to work with a child on an independently and group level. They will want to plan activities that children already know and that will challenge them.
The teacher must keep instructions within the bounds of the zone of proximal development. A good way of teaching a child to read is to work in groups and on an individual level and to also give hints that will help the child. Remember each child is at a different level and Vygotsky believes that learning follows development. Both theorists have made major contributions to the teaching profession. As a teacher you will apply what both of them taught. You will work with them and understand their surroundings so you could help them develop.
With using Vygotsky’s theory the child will learn more with the assistance of an older person or an adult and they must stay within the bounds of the Zone of Proximity. With Piaget he taught that there are four major stages of development and he show how the children develop at every stage. It is important that teachers use these theories and develop learning environments for the children. Reference Constructivism, retrieved on November, 13, 2008 from http://www. funderstanding. com/constructivism. cfm Slavin, R. E. (2009). Educational Psychology: Theory and practice (9th ed. ). Boston: Pearson Education.