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Cognitive Development Theory

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Ernesto Ylasco

on 26 June 2014

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Transcript of Cognitive Development Theory

It used to be that the most effective tool an individual could have was a good memory. Can we say the same nowadays?
Cognitive Development Theory
(Jean Piaget)
Consider this:

One Saturday morning, a daddy took his little girl over to a neighbor's house. As they were standing on the door, the girl said, "Daddy, get behind me so they won't see you."

Why did the girl think that her daddy will be concealed if he stood behind her?
Children's thinking have been a fascinating wonder for many psychologists. Exactly in what manner do they arrive at reasoning perfectly reasonable to them but illogical to us?

Cognition is one of the most important subject for most psychologists. And one of the most eminent theorists in this study is Jean Piaget.
Jean Piaget is a Swiss psychologist that pioneered the study in child's cognition. He was a pioneer that chartered what he (and the others) believed to be a
universal
pattern of intellectual growth.

Piaget was so inclined with genetic epistemology that he started observing his own children in understanding how intelligence unfolds.
Definition of terms:

1. What is cognition?

2. What is cognitive development?

3. What is genetic epistemology?

4. What is intelligence?
Constructivism
Cognition - the activity of knowing and the processes through which knowledge is acquired.

Cognitive Development - changes that occur in mental activities such as attending, perceiving, learning, thinking and remembering.

Genetic Epistemology - experimental study of development of knowledge, according to Piaget.

Intelligence - a basic life function that enables an organism to adapt to its environment.
There is a very important assumption that underlie Piaget's view of intelligence: If children are to know something, they must construct that knowledge themselves. Piaget described a child as constructivist.
Constructivism - a learning theory based on the notion that students actively construct knowledge. They act on objects and events thereby gaining some knowledge of their essential features. But how does one construct the world in their minds? By physically acting on them, enabling them to acquire schemes or schema.
Definition of terms:

1. What is schema?

2. What is assimilation?

3. What is accommodation?

4. What is equilibration?
Schema - a pattern of thought or action that one constructs to interpret some aspects of one's experience; an abstract representation of an object or an event.

Assimilation - the process of incorporating new experiences / information into an existing schema.

Accommodation - the process of modifying existing schemes in order to incorporate or adapt to new experiences.

Equilibration - the process by which balance is restored to the cognitive structures
Piaget had been an observer in the field of child's cognitive development that he began observing his own children. He took note of his every observation and he found out that at each stage of development, children had a certain characteristic way of acting and thinking. He grouped these stages into four major periods, giving rough approximations of the age levels of each.
Sensorimotor Stage (Birth to 2 years)

The stage in which infants rely on behavioral schemes as means in understanding and exploring the environment. They primarily use their senses to make sense of the world.
Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development
The greatest achievement in this period is the development of the
object permanence
, the idea that objects continue to exist even when they are no longer visible or detectable through the other senses.
Consider this:

Gerard, a little boy thirteen months old was playing with a ball, dropping it on the floor. When it rolled under an armchair, he looked under the chair and grab it. The next time, it rolled under a sofa. He tried to reach the ball but the sofa was too big and it blocked his view. So he went to the chair and searched under it.
Playing peekaboo is a good activity in acquiring object permanence.
Preoperational Stage (2 to 7 years)

By operations, Piaget means complex mental acts that children in this stage are not yet capable of - hence the "pre". This stage is also marked by the appearance of symbolic function. This stage is the most thoroughly researched by Piaget.
Children at this age often display animism - the willingness to attribute life and lifelike qualities to inanimate objects.
Another distinctive characteristics of the preoperational stage is
egocentrism
. Children have trouble understanding that people can see and understand things differently than they do.
Consider this:

Take the telephone conversation of 4-year old Kelly and her Uncle Dave:
Uncle Dave: So you are going to a party today, great! What are you wearing?
Kelly: This.
Kelly probably pointed to her new dress while talking into the phone, seemingly unaware that her uncle do not know what she is talking about.
Piaget's three mountain problem. Egocentric children cannot assume other person's perspective and often say that another person viewing the mountain sees the same as what he sees from his position.
Piaget also described preschool children's thinking as intuitive because their understanding of objects and events is still largely based, or
centered
on their single most perceptual feature - the way things appear to be - rather than rational or logical thought process.
Consider this:
Centration - the tendency of preoperational children to attend to one aspect of a situation to the exclusion of others.

Conservation - the recognition that properties of an object or substance do not change when its appearance is altered.

Reversibility - the ability to do or negate an action; for every action there exists another action that undoes it.
Mastery of Inclusion Relationship

Just as children tend to center their attention on one characteristic at a time (such as length and appearance) overlooking the others, they also can't think of the whole and its parts. To them, the whole is destroyed when it is split into parts.
Consider this:

A tray of wooden beads was shown to a child. The tray has 10,000 pieces of beads. 9,000 of it was colored brown while the rest is white.

Question: Which will be longer - a necklace made of wooden beads or a necklace made of brown beads?
In this stage, thought is now not only symbolic but logical. Children also possess the rule of logical reversibility. They are also able to reason out rationally.
Concrete Operational Stage (7 - 11 years)
Its main feature is the addition of abstract reasoning to concrete operational abilities, permitting adolescents to comprehend such complex concepts as infinity or variables.
Formal Operational Stage (11 - 16 years)
1. Piaget founded the discipline we know today as cognitive development.
2. Piaget convinced us that children are curious, active explorers who play an important role in their own development.
3. Piaget’s theory was one of the first to try to explain, and not just describe, the process of development.
4. Piaget’s description of broad sequences of intellectual development provides a reasonably accurate overview of how children of different ages think.
5. Piaget’s ideas have had a major influence on thinking about social and emotional development as well as many practical implications for educators.
6. Finally, Piaget asked important questions and drew literally thousands of researchers to the study of cognitive development. And, as often happens when heuristic theories such as Piaget’s are repeatedly scrutinized, some of this research led to new insights while pointing to problems with his original ideas.
Contributions of Piaget's Theory
1. Piaget's problems were too complex to allow them to demonstrate what they actually knew.

2. Piaget was simply not very clear about any mechanism that might enable a child to move to a higher stage of intellect.

3. Piaget devoted too little attention to social and cultural influences in developing cognition.
Criticisms of Piaget's Theory
Summary table of Piaget's Cognitive Development Stages
1. What is the implication if Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory in the teaching profession?

2. How does this theory affect you as a future teacher? What does this tell you about the learners?

3. In what aspect of Piaget's theory are you not in favor of? Why?
Personal Insight
COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT THEORY
Prepared by:
Prof. ERNESTO D. YLASCO
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