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Classroom Concepts: Piaget, Vygotsky, Skinner & Bandura

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Natalie Gaudreau

on 5 August 2013

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Transcript of Classroom Concepts: Piaget, Vygotsky, Skinner & Bandura

Classroom Concepts:
Piaget, Vygotsky, Bandura & Skinner

Jean Piaget
(1896 - 1980)
Cognitive-Development Theory
Piaget was the first psychologist to make a systematic study of cognitive development.

According to Piaget, children are born with a very basic mental structure (genetically inherited and evolved) on which all subsequent learning and knowledge is based.

It focuses on development, rather than learning so it does not address learning of information or specific behaviors.

To Piaget, cognitive development was a discontinuous yet progressive reorganization of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience. Children construct an understanding of the world around them, then experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment. Children learn from having to adapt to these discrepancies.

There Are Three Basic Components To Piaget's Cognitive Theory:

1.Schemas (building blocks of knowledge)
2.Processes that enable the transition from one stage to another (equilibrium, assimilation, accommodation)
3.Stages of Development:
•concrete operational
•formal operational
Lev Vygotsky
Social Development Theory
Vygotsky's theories stress the fundamental role of social interaction in the development of cognition (similar to Piaget).

Community plays a central role in the process of making meaning.

Unlike Piaget's notion that children's' development must necessarily precede their learning, Vygotsky argued that social learning tends to precede development.

Like Piaget, Vygotsky claimed that infants are born with the basic materials/abilities for intellectual development; Piaget focuses on motor reflexes and sensory abilities and Vygotsky refers to Elementary Mental Functions such as attention, sensations, perception and memory.

Eventually, through interaction within the socio-cultural environment, these are developed into more sophisticated and effective mental processes/strategies which he refers to as Higher Mental Functions.

Vygotsky beliveved that much important learning by the child occurs through social interaction with a skillful tutor, whereas Piaget emphasized self-initiated discovery. The tutor may model behaviors and/or provide verbal instructions for the child. Vygotsky refers to this as co-operative or collaborative dialogue.

B.F. Skinner
Operant Conditioning
Skinner is a behaviorist who based his theory on the work of Thorndike and Watson.

Skinner coined the term operant conditioning which means the changing of behavior by the use of reinforcement which is given after the desired response.

Skinner identified three types of responses or operant that can follow behavior:
• Neutral operants: responses from the environment that neither increase nor decrease the probability of a behavior being repeated.

• Reinforcers: Responses from the environment that increase the probability of a behavior being repeated. Reinforcers can be either positive or negative.

• Punishers: Response from the environment that decrease the likelihood of a behavior being repeated. Punishment weakens behavior.

Behaviorism is primarily concerned with observable behavior, as opposed to internal events like thinking and emotion. (i.e., Rats did not learn, they behaved.)

Skinner believed the major influence on human behavior is learning from our environment.
Albert Bandura
Social Learning Theory
In social learning theory Albert Bandura states that behavior is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning.

Children observe the people around them behaving in various ways and the child is more likely to attend to and imitate those people it perceives as similar to itself. Consequently, it is more likely to imitate behavior modeled by people the same sex as it is.

The people around the child will respond to the behavior it imitates with either reinforcement or punishment. If a child imitates a model’s behavior and the consequences are rewarding, the child is likely to continue performing the behavior.

Then the child will also take into account of what happens to other people when deciding whether or not to copy someone’s actions. This is known as vicarious reinforcement.

Identification occurs with another person (the model) and involves taking on (or adopting) observed behaviors, values, beliefs and attitudes of the person with whom you are identifying.

Identification is different to imitation as it may involve a number of behaviors being adopted whereas imitation usually involves copying a single behavior.

Bandura eventually revised his theory after realizing that cognition is also important in regards to shaping behavior. For instance, Bandura discovered that children have differing abilities to listen, observe, and remember complex behaviors which in turn affect their ability to imitate and learn.
•Assimilation: using an existing schema to deal with a new object or situation.

•Accommodation: takes place when the existing schema (knowledge) does not work, and needs to be changed to deal with a new object or situation.

•Equilibration: occurs when new information cannot be fitted into existing schemas (assimilation) therefore providing an unpleasant state of disequilibrium which drives the learning process since we seek to restore balance by mastering the new challenge (accommodation).
Sensorimotor Stage: birth to about age 2
-Object permanence means knowing that an object still exists, even if it is hidden.

Preoperational Stage: ranges from about ages 2 to 7
-Egocentrism means where the child has no understanding of the world other than her own, current point of view.

Concrete Operational Stage: typically ages 7 to 11
-Conservation is the ability to understand that redistributing material does not affect its mass, number or volume.

Formal Operational Stage: begins at about age 11
-Inferential reasoning is the ability to think about and draw conclusions from things that have not actually been experienced.

The More Knowledgeable Other (MKO): refers to someone who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. The MKO is not always an adult or teacher, in fact, a child's peers may be the individuals with more knowledge or experience.

The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD): an important concept that relates what a child can achieve independently to what a child can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled partner or MKO. The ZPD is the area where the most sensitive instruction or guidance should be given, allowing the child to develop skills they will then use on their own, in turn developing higher mental functions.

Important Terms to Understand Vygotsky
Vygotsky and Language
According to Vygotsky language plays 2 critical roles in cognitive development:
1: It is the main means by which adults transmit info to children.
2: Language itself becomes a very powerful tool of intellectual adaptation.

Private speech, also called internal speech, refers to occasions when people talk aloud to themselves. This is particulary prevalent amongst children.

Vygotsky sees "private speech" as a means for children to plan activities and strategies and therefore aid their development. Language is therefore an accelerator to thinking/understanding.

Vygotsky believed that language develops from social interactions, for communication purposes. Later language ability becomes internalized as thought and “inner speech”. Thought is the result of language.

In the 4th Grade Classroom
Despite vast differences, the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky can be integrated together in order to create a level of instruction that is not only effective for the teacher, but is also meaningful and stimulating for the student.

Looking at a classroom designed in Piagetian style one would find a classroom that focuses on how a child thinks, not just the final product of the material taught. In other words rather than just knowing a student answered a problem correctly, having an understanding of how the child came up with their answer.

A Piagetian classroom does not focus on standardized goals, it would instead recognize that students learn and develop at their own rate. Instead of trying to force children to develop and learn quicker, the Piagetian classroom teacher would take extra time to create lessons that are for either individuals or for groups of like developed students rather than one lesson for the whole class. A student’s self-initiated and active involvement would be a key and crucial role in a Piagetian classroom.

A Vygtosky classroom is one where the teacher recognizes that it is insufficient for a student’s mental development to simply engage a student in a challenging task, instead the teacher would show and explain how to break down a challenge into tasks and gradually the students would gain the required knowledge.

Ideally, in a 4th grade classroom a teacher could use both of these theories through individual learning assignments, as well as by using cooperative learning centers, labs and group projects.
The focus on behavior through the theories of Skinner and Bandura provide a template for an efficient classroom management plan.

By using modeling, student's will effectively understand what is expected of them by the teacher and ideally learn to imitate that behavior. Modeling lessons is also essential for learning as previously mentioned in regards to Vygotsky's classroom.

Through observational learning, students will also understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior through their peers.

Reinforcers and punishments are necessary in the classroom in order to maintain consistency and order.

Positive reinforcers may include trips to a "treasure box" or earning "starbucks" while negative reinforcers may be "moving the clip" to the struggling areas. Punishment may include loss of recess, a trip to the principal's office or a note/call home, etc.
Berk, L. E. (2013). Child development. (9 ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Gredler, M. E. (2011). Understanding Vygotsky for the classroom: Is it too late? Educational Psychology Review, 24(1), 113-131.

Hutcheon, P. D. (1996). Seeking common ground: Piaget and skinner on the nature of learning. Retrieved from http://humanists.net/pdhutcheon/Papers and Presentations/Seeking Common Ground.htm

Marchand, H. (2012). Contributions of piagetian and post-piagetian theories to education. Educational Research Review, 7(3), 165-176. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.lib.usf.edu/10.1016/j.edurev.2012.04.002

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