Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory Rebekah Wright Nutrition and Health of Children and Families Angela Stratton March 25, 2013 Cognitive Development I have chosen the theory of Piaget, which is the theory of cognitive development. I have chosen this particular theory, because I believe it to be one that covers a wide range of development of children and what they learn and how they learn as they grow. The main objective of Piaget’s theory is to be able to explain the developments of the child from infancy to adolescent and how they learn to think using hypotheses. Piaget believed that cognitive development did not progress at a steady rate, but rather in leaps and bounds. ”(Dasen 1994) Piaget also believed that cognitive development was reconstruction of one’s mind and ways of thinking due to their environment and peers. A child may have one thought or opinion about something and then they may experience something within that thought that makes them change their mind and have a totally different opinion.
For example a child may be raised in a home and go to school where there are rules and set guidelines that he has to follow, which gives him a thought that all schools are ran with these guidelines and then he may move and go to a different school that has all different rules and ways of teaching. He then may not understand why it is different and his opinion on all schools teaching the same way would have changed.
Another part of this theory is that of equilibration, which is the balance and motivation that when a child gets discouraged or irritated they push through and continue until accomplishing the task that is giving him those feelings. A great part to this theory is that Piaget did not only concentrate on the way the child learned but also how they thought. He used three techniques in his study of observing children to learn and see how each one’s mind worked. The first one is naturalistic observation.
This one allowed Piaget to make very fine and detailed notations on the children. Then there was clinical interviews and observation, which would allow Piaget to test and see which kids could understand questions and have a conversation. Through all of Piaget’s research he had come to the belief that children learn at different stages and ages. He made four different stages of learning based on a child’s age, which are “Sensory-motor period (from birth until age 2), Pre-operational stage (from 2-7), Concrete operational stage (7-12) and Formal operational stage (12 and up). (Piaget 1945) Piaget believed that each child developed at the same pace and age group as well as he believed that children learn best through doing hands on assignments and activities. Knowing that children learn well on doing hands on activities, this could easily be introduced into the classrooms, by letting the children explore different objects, draw and cut out different pictures, have them put together a small project using instructions and different items and there could be several different ways of incorporating hands on to the classroom.
Since we are talking about children in-between the ages of 4-8, they would be considered in the preoperational stage. The preoperational the children are said to be able to know and understand events and objects and they are capable of engaging in symbolic play and their communication levels and thought process should be egocentric. When I personally reviewed this theory I thought that it was pretty accurate as most children do develop on a close scale. I see children potty training, talking, tying their shoes and learning their ABC’s at a relatively close age range.
After observing a child on a constant basis and watching and listening to him do things my opinion has changed some. The one thing about the child I observed, which was eight years old, was he was very intelligent, could understand a lot of the things that were going on around him and still carry on a full conversation. I reviewed his homework, and to me it was impressive what he was learning and doing at age eight as I myself had a difficult time getting the answers right.
The eight year old I observed had went to preschool, grew up in a home where one of the parents were a teacher, did some form of learning activity every day at home even when school was out, he read too his parents every night after supper and discussed what he had read and gave an opinion as well as received one from his parents. That showed me that even at the age of eight he was capable of having his own opinions and understanding that so do other people.
I also showed me that he was capable of learning from what he had heard from others, instead of only concentrating on what he believed to be right. So with the observations I had made, I think that the difference in-between reality and Piaget’s theory is that there are several factors into a child’s development that I do not think were accounted for, such as socio-economic status, religious beliefs and other cultural aspects, which we learned recently can have a major impact on the development and behaviors of a child.
For example a child that grew up in a home where the parents were never home, not a lot of money, not a lot of friends or options to go out and be a part of the world may know less and learn slower than a child that comes from a wealthy family, where there is always an adult around or friends that go out and explore things.
The similarities were that after questioning the child’s parents, I did learn that their son had developed according to Piaget’s charts. Now the child I observed was more advanced than the charts, but he had accomplished everything that was listed by the age that they should have been, so I do think that children do hit each milestone within the same age range, but some may hit it faster or slower than others.
Even though Piaget’s theory on cognitive development may be interrupted and off scale due to the different teaching ways and culture and environment impacts, I do believe that it still gives parents, teachers and the children a pretty close guide on where the children should be at developmentally and what we should make sure we are teaching them if they are not on schedule.
References Dasen, P. (1994). Culture and cognitive development from a Piagetian perspective. In W . J. Lonner ;amp; R. S. Malpass (Eds. ), Psychology and Culture. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Groark, C. J. , ;amp; Song, L. A. (2012). Health and nutrition of children. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Piaget, J. (1945). Play, dreams and imitation in childhood. London: Heinemann