Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky's Ideas on Cognitive Development

According to Meece (2002), Piaget and Vygotsky were two prominent scholars of cognitive development theories. Piaget was a biology, psychology and viewpoint scholar while Vygotsky first received a degree in law, a degree in mindset. Even with two very different backgrounds, both scholars had taken a constructivist approach to their research in cognitive development as they assumed, "children must construct their own understandings of the world where they live" (p. 121). This idea has been debated and talked about for years. Piaget and Vygotsky were two visible scholars within the world of cognitive development. Their ideas of cognitive development have been influential in the introduction of theories of education.

In Jean Piaget's research, his definitive goal was to answer the question, "How can knowledge increase?" (Silverthorn, 1999). He have this through hereditary epistemology which is the analysis of cognitive development in children. Relating to Meece (2002), there are four major cognitive phases in a child's cognitive development: sensorimotor, preoperations, concrete functions and formal businesses. A child's thought process differs from other developmental levels and each of the stages has its own importance. Piaget presumed a child could not skip a level because each is necessary along the way of cognitive development. Relative to Meece (2002) and funderstanding. com (2006) the four phases are described as such

Sensorimotor level (delivery - 2 years old)--The child, through physical connection with his or her environment, develops a set of concepts about certainty and how it operates. This is actually the stage where a child will not know that physical items remain in lifestyle even when out of view (object permanence).

Preoperational level (ages 2-7)--The child is not yet in a position to conceptualize abstractly and needs concrete physical situations.

Concrete operations (age groups 7-11)--As physical experience accumulates, the kid begins to conceptualize, creating reasonable structures that clarify his / her physical experience. Abstract problem solving is also possible at this stage. For instance, arithmetic equations can be resolved with numbers, not only with objects.

Formal businesses (start at ages 11-15)--By this aspect, the child's cognitive buildings are like those of an adult and include conceptual reasoning. (p. 1)

In Piaget's research, these four phases are rather concrete. But, many current research workers do not completely buy into the exactitude and universality of these stages.

Piaget also refers to three different types of knowledge. Physical knowledge is "knowing the capabilities of items such as their quantity, color, decoration" (Meece, 2002, p. 122). Logio-mathematical knowledge "involves the mental structure of relationships" (p. 122). Social knowledge "comes from partly through connections with others" (p. 123).

Piaget centered on classification and relationships, spatial interactions, time, movements, chance, quantity, conservation and dimension in concrete levels (Genetic Epistemology, 2006). Lev Vygotsky was more worried about what sort of child interacts along with his culture and contemporary society (Meece, 2002). Piaget looked at knowledge as "individually designed" while Vygotsky looked at cognitive development as "socially co-constructed between people as they socialize" (p. 155).

Vygotsky presumed that "children are born with elementary mental talents such as notion, attention and memory space" (Meece, p. 156). As children develop and interact socially using their culture and world, these innate characteristics are further developed. Relating to Vygotsky, one of the most crucial elements of cognitive development is language. Within this theory, vocabulary occurs in three phases: social speech, egocentric conversation and inner talk. Social speech is merely that: speech for the purposes of communicating. Egocentric speech is more intellectual and children utilize this by speaking aloud to themselves. Inner speech is utilized by children to think in their heads about the challenge or task accessible, instead of verbalizing their thoughts in order to decide what to do next.

According to the web site funderstanding. com, the area of proximal development talks about that, "a notable difference is available between what [a] child can do on [his or] her own and what the kid can do with help [from experienced peers or individuals]" (p. 1). For instance, a young child may not have the ability to come up with a complicated puzzle by himself, but by using a mature child or another adult, the youngster could come up with the puzzle appropriately.

Both Piaget's and Vygotsky's theories of cognitive development provide foundations for constructivist methods to teaching and learning (Meece, 2002). Each of the theories matter qualitative changes in just a child's cognitive process. There is also the same goal within the classroom, creating for students a community of learning.

Even though both theories have one common goal, each of them has a new approach when interacting with children and education. For instance, Piaget's theory can help educators know how children react and find out according to their age while Vygotsky's theory can help understand the role of society in children's education.

Piaget was a scholar of natural research who happened to find a way to explain how children acquire knowledge as they develop in age. Piaget's theory can be directly related to his traditional backdrop as he attempts to explain the major transformations that children go through while acquiring knowledge. Piaget strongly presumed that each generation mixed significantly not only in the average person and group aspect, but also in the cultural aspect as well. The levels that he created are the following: Sensorimotor, Preoperations, Concrete Businesses, and Formal Procedures. All of these stages are fulfilled when children change items. This manipulation allows the creation of mental representation of the world and it allows two-way discussion with the environment. Essentially, the goal is to allow a child the capability to create and understand his world in a reasonable way.

All of these stages derive from the children's manipulation of objects that allows them produce a mental representation of the world and action on and influence the environment they are in (and vice versa), so that learners little by little forego illogical means of thinking.

Piaget's theory is about including spontaneous experimentation within a and group basis, so that students can build their own understanding predicated on the experiences that they have. By establishing this system, the kids aren't only limited by the classroom environment, but they tend to be alert of their surroundings. This technique leads these to learn about self-correction, self-instruction, and self-motivation because of its "hand on experience" way. Corresponding to Piaget, the expansion of knowledge is a progressive construction. Children's reasoning and settings of thinking are at first entirely not the same as those of men and women (Jean Piaget Modern culture, 2006), thinking that the acquisition of knowledge is a process of ongoing self-construction (Silverthorn, 1999).

In order to adopt the cognitive development pursuing Piaget's theory, the educator should organize the class time with spontaneous mental activities to let learners develop their own ideas also to construct a healthy learning environment. To achieve this, Piaget encourages instructors to give a role for social discussion and communication by presenting appropriate materials, drills, so that children can actively learn how to confront their physical and cultural world by living their own experience.

According to Marcy Driscoll (1994), there are three basic instructional concepts which Piagetian theorists generally acknowledge

Principle 1: The training environment should support the experience of the kid (i. e. , an active, discovery-oriented environment)

Principle 2: Children's interactions with the peers are an important source of cognitive development (i. e. , peer teaching and public negotiation) (Driscoll, 1994).

Principle 3: Take up instructional strategies that make children alert to conflicts and inconsistencies in their thinking (i. e. , turmoil teaching and Socratic dialog)

All of the principles are designed to be used in such a way that children can connect and continue to build upon previously acquired knowledge. It's important and necessary that educators play the role of facilitators and encourage dialog among students about things that they have found out themselves, so that learning become an computerized and exciting process.

Piaget has influenced major curriculum reforms, some of his major contributions to education are (Meece, 2002)

Knowledge must be actively constructed by the child.

Educators should help children learn how to learn.

Learning activities should be matched up to the child's level of conceptual development.

Peer relationships play an important role in the child's cognitive development (p. 169).

Although this technique seems beneficial, the financial cost and time-consumption that is engaged during the set-up cause this method to be less influential.

When weighed against Piaget's theory, Vygotsky's theory places a stronger emphasis on interpersonal interactions. Matching to Vygotsky, knowledge is not individually produced, but co -produced between people. For Vygotsky, dialect and communication play the most important role of cognitive development - his primary concern dealing with nature, analysis and the transmission of individuals culture.

Vygotsky determined three phases in children's use of language

Language is generally used for communication (interpersonal speech).

Children begin to utilize egocentric or private talk to modify their own thinking.

Children use inner talk or verbal thoughts to guide their wondering and actions.

For Piaget's theory, vocabulary did not play such an important role in children's development; but also for Vygotsky's theory talk is an extremely important developmental occurrence as he assumed that "children learn through conversations with parents as the necessity to talk to them presses the kid to seek for the adult meanings of things that are said" (Mason Timothy, 2006). So learning becomes due to older thinking and tendencies due to socio-cultural encounters. For instance, Vygotsky induces collaborative procedure for learning between professors and students in the going of social events in the school room.

Vygotsky's term Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) was used to refer the difference between what children can do independently, and what they could do with the help of others (Meece, 2002). The ZPD reveals just what a child's degree of mental development reaches a particular time (Galant, 2006). Vygotsky assumed that relationships with adults and peers in the zone of proximal development help children move to higher levels of mental working (Meece, 2002).

Vygotsky presumed that relationships with men and women and peers in this area helped children move to higher levels of mental working within the school room. Vygotsky's approach issues traditional coaching methods, as he emphasizes the importance of cooperative convinced that happen in your choice making process. This calls for having students combined collectively or in small teams where the teacher's job is to concentrate on maintaining student's determination in order to go after the instructional goal.

Vygotsky's theory is about guided finding by having the educator offer, "intriguing questions to students and having them uncover the answers through assessment hypotheses. The students are involved in the discovery process; however, they remain receiving the help of a more knowledgeable source" (Test, 2006).

According to Meece (2002), some of the major Educational Efforts of Vygotsky's ideas are

Role of private conversation in cognitive development.

The need for guided involvement and scaffolding.

The role of peer connections in cognitive development (p. 159-161).

This method is effective because it promotes frequent peer review. However, if not completed properly, it may bring up a common problem that students and educators frequently face. This drawback would be when groups rely on one member to do all the work.

Meece (2002) clarifies that Piaget's cognitive development theory is based on a child's innate ability to productively think on their own. This cognitive capability allows them to go to another cognitive level as they mature biologically and adjust to their environment. Children assimilate and allow for their current schema, or mental constructs, to match the new information provided in the class. Cognitive development and sociable connection feeds intellectual activity and learning. The school room methods of teaching should match the amount of cognitive development, facilitating the growth to another level of cognitive development.

The level of cognitive development for early on child years learners (2-7 years) is explained by Piaget as the preoperational stage (Meece, 2002). At this stage intuition and words develop. Examples of instructional tools Piaget would recommend to describe objects they are simply experiencing include: concrete props, symbols, and visual helps such as drawings, use of models or instances, lessons about the children's world and their encounters, less paper-and-pencil duties and even more "hands on" learning, back-and-forth conversations with peers to develop skills for another stage, and field travels.

According to Piaget, logical and mental businesses are part of the cognitive development of children in the elementary university years (7-11 years). A child's thinking becomes less rigid and even more dynamic in this level. Piaget called this stage the concrete procedures level (Meece, 2002). Huitt (1997) mentions these instructional tools that follow this theory: concrete props such as 3d science models, laboratory work with nominal steps, quick and well organized lectures, connect existing training into previously learned material, term problems in math, and problems which require logic and analysis to solve. The Math Community forum at Drexel College or university (2006) explained math education by using a Piagetian theory

Students need to create their own understanding of each mathematical principle, so that the primary role of teaching is not to lecture, explain, or elsewhere attempt to 'copy' mathematical knowledge, but to create situations for students that will foster their making the required mental constructions. A critical aspect of the way is a decomposition of every mathematical notion into developmental steps following a Piagetian theory of knowledge predicated on observation of, and interviews with, students as they attempt to learn a concept (para. 1).

Piaget's final stage in his theory of cognitive development covers the 12 yr old or more group. This stage is called the formal operations level. Huitt & Hummel (2003) identify this level as seen as a a change in pondering from the true to the participation of abstractions and reflections. With this stage, intelligence is shown through the rational use of icons related to abstract concepts. Early in the period there's a go back to egocentric thought. "Only 35% of senior high school graduates in industrialized countries obtain formal functions; many people do not think formally during adulthood" (site 1). Huitt (1997) advises classroom practices such as these to best use Piaget's theory: concrete operations stage type graphs on a far more complicated scale, ask students to explore hypotheticals as they explore other worlds or complicated issues, encourage students to spell it out opposing viewpoints, have students express how the solved the problem, coach wide-ranging but curriculum related principles, and use materials and ideas relevant to the students to broaden their perspectives.

Meece (2002) clarifies that Vygotsky didn't believe an individual's thinking framework as innate, but ethnical and social in origins and influence. Public and cultural relationships with competent peers and men and women gasoline cognitive development while bettering the elementary thinking skills of the kid (conception, attention, storage) to an increased level. Vygotsky might suggest Reciprocal Teaching in the school room. This involves led participation by an educated adult; with the students eventually taking over the training activity.

Egocentric talk was favored by Vygotsky. This is the "thinking aloud" speech children sometimes use to work through a problem. Vygotsky would not only encourage students to utilize this speech, but would demonstrate its utilization in practical settings. Collaborative learning activities would also be emphasized in the Vygotsky class room. Learning is facilitated with important conversations among students in a collaborative learning environment. Especially valuable are discussions with educated peers. Educated peers and educators elevate students beyond the student's current features, a place the student wouldn't normally have achieved normally.

It is absolutely possible to include parts of both Piaget and Vygotsky's ideas in the school room. Both theorists take a constructivist viewpoint and also assume that students aren't passive in their knowledge (Meece, 2002). It's important for the educator to be "important organizers, stimulators, tutorials, and supporters of learning" (p. 168). Piaget's theory suggests that students need a curriculum that helps their cognitive development by learning principles and reasonable steps. He also shows that children are only with the capacity of learning specific material in specific periods of cognitive development. Vygotsky would suggest more peer and ethnical relationships in the class (funderstanding. com, 2006). He also feels that knowledgeable men and women can help children learn even if they are not at the specific stage as Piaget advises (Meece 2002). It's possible that while children are studying concepts and logic, they can also interact with their peers and other people by focusing on projects that relate the two collectively. It seems as if children may show some signs of specific development at specific times, but with help they can also master tasks they may well not have the ability to do without help of others. Piaget and Vygotsky have differing views on cognitive development, but it is possible to incorporate elements of both ideas when thinking about teaching strategies. Teachers must take into consideration the social and cultural background of the university student before planning the lessons plan. Using Piaget's theory, the college student must be at the correct stage of development in order use and understand the data at hand. But, Vygotsky says that even if the kid is not at the correct stage of development then a competent adult or teacher could influence the child and help him get to a level beyond what his level would often indicate.

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