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Jean Piaget’s Cognitive Theory Of Development

Concrete Operational Stage Ages 7

Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

From ages 7 to 11, the concrete operational stage is all about learning to think in an organized, rational way about concrete events and perform mathematical calculations.

Conservation & Reversibility

During this stage, children master the concept of conservation . Related to conservation, children in the concrete operational stage also master the concept of reversibility. Reversibility is the idea that, in some cases, you can change an object and then return it to its original form.

A classic example of this is in relation to the conservation cup exercise. Not only will a child in the concrete operational stage understand that when you pour the same amount of water into two differently shaped cups, you still have the same amount of water they will also understand that when you pour that same water back into the original cups, you will have the same amount of water.

Postulated Physical Mechanisms Underlying Schemas And Stages

In 1967, Piaget considered the possibility of RNA molecules as likely embodiments of his still-abstract schemas though he did not come to any firm conclusion. At that time, due to work such as that of Swedish biochemist Holger Hydén, RNA concentrations had, indeed, been shown to correlate with learning.

Criticisms Of Piagets Theory

Much of Piagets work does not hold up to contemporary scientific scrutiny. He conducted much of his research on his own three children. Even outside of studies on his children, he generally had tiny sample sizes.

He did not adhere to rigorous study protocols. During his tests, he did not adhere to a script, so many of the differences in childrens responses cannot be disentangled from the presentation. Contemporary research shows that cognitive development is far more continuous than Piagets stages suggest.

In addition, contemporary psychologists argue that children reach the developmental milestones Piaget laid out earlier than predicted. While Piagets methods are not up to contemporary standards, his insistence that childrens minds are dramatically different from adults and his creation of a staged process of development with critical developmental milestones remains influential today.

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Sensorimotor Stage : Piaget’s Sensorimotor Stage

  • In Piaget’s theory, the sensorimotor stage is the first stage.
  • It is the period when infants “think” by means of their senses and motor actions.
  • Infants or newborns continually touch, manipulate, look, listen to, and even bite and chew objects.
  • According to Piaget, this action of children allows them to learn about the world.
  • The infant actions allow the child to represent objects and events.
  • A toy animal maybe just a confusing array of sensations at first, but by looking, feeling, and manipulating it repeatedly, the infant child gradually organizes his / her sensations and actions into a stable concept, toy animal.
  • The representation acquires a permanence lacking in the individual experiences of the object, which are changing constantly. Because the representation is stable, and the child “Knows” or at least he/she believes that toy animal exists even if the actual toy animal is temporarily out of sight.

Piaget called this sense of stability Object Permancae.

Object Permanence

Jean Piaget Sensorimotor Stage Experiment

hid a toy animal in a blanket

Cons Of Piagets Theory

Jean Piaget

There are some criticisms of Piagets stages. In particular, researchers in the 1960s and 1970s argued that Piaget may have underestimated childrens abilities by using confusing terms and particularly difficult tasks in his observations. In other studies, children have been successful with demonstrating knowledge of certain concepts or skills when they were presented in a simpler way.

Piagets theory also expects children of a certain stage to primarily be at that stage across the board with all tasks presented to them. Other researchers uncovered that there is a range of abilities with cognitive tasks. In other words, some children may excel or struggle in one area over another.

Piagets theory also explains that trying to teach children particularly advanced concepts would be unsuccessful. Yet in some cases, children may be able to learn advanced ideas even with brief instruction. Children may be more adaptable and competent than Piagets stages give them credit for.

Last, Piaget primarily examined white, middle-class children from developed countries in his work. As a result, his findings may be skewed to this subset of people, and may not apply as directly to other groups or locations.

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How Can Teachers Use This

Developmental theories are a large part of what drives a teacher’s approach to the classroom. In fact, every teacher-prep program requires courses on childhood development so that teachers have an understanding of where their kids are or should be from a psychological view. Most of these theories focus on our emotional and social lives. One of the most popular theories of human development, the Ericksonian model, addresses cognition and information processing almost as an afterthought.

What makes Piaget’s model stand out in the field is its specific attention to cognitive development. It focuses on how human beings process information and how that processing changes throughout a lifetime. In particular, his theory focuses on the mechanisms that help us adapt and learn new concepts or skills.

In the classroom, teachers can apply Piaget’s notions of assimilation and accommodation when introducing new material. They can help students approach a new idea through the lens of what they have already learned. When they can achieve what Piaget called equilibrium, they can then move forward to again advance their knowledge.

One key element for teachers to be cognizant of is their students’ particular age and relative development. Preschool teachers can look at Piaget’s Sensorimotor Stage and help children learn to recognize simple shapes and colors.

Nature Of Intelligence: Operative And Figurative

Piaget noted that reality is a dynamic system of continuous change. Reality is defined in reference to the two conditions that define dynamic systems. Specifically, he argued that reality involves transformations and states.Transformations refer to all manners of changes that a thing or person can undergo. States refer to the conditions or the appearances in which things or persons can be found between transformations. For example, there might be changes in shape or form , in size , or in placement or location in space and time . Thus, Piaget argued, if human intelligence is to be adaptive, it must have functions to represent both the transformational and the static aspects of reality. He proposed that operative intelligence is responsible for the representation and manipulation of the dynamic or transformational aspects of reality, and that figurative intelligence is responsible for the representation of the static aspects of reality.

At any time, operative intelligence frames how the world is understood and it changes if understanding is not successful. Piaget stated that this process of understanding and change involves two basic functions: assimilation and accommodation.

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Strenght’s Of Piaget’s Theory

  • He changes How people viewed the child’s world and their methods of studying children.
  • His ideas have been of practical use in understanding and communication with children, particularly in the field of education.
  • According to Piaget’s Principle, the abstract thinking of children is affected by their education.

The Process Of Adaptation

Piaget: Theory of Cognitive Development

Adaptation is the process by which the child changes its mental models of the world to match more closely how the world actually is.

When our existing schemas can explain what we perceive around us, we are in a state of equilibration. However, when we meet a new situation that we cannot explain it creates disequilibrium, this is an unpleasant sensation which we try to escape, this gives the motivation for learning.

According to Piaget, reorganization to higher levels of thinking is not accomplished easily. The child must “rethink” his or her view of the world. An important step in the process is the experience of cognitive conflict. In other words, the child becomes aware that he or she holds two contradictory views about a situation and they both cannot be true. This step is referred to as disequilibrium.

Jean Piaget viewed intellectual growth as a process of adaptation to the world. This happens through assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration.

To get back to a state of equilibration we need to modify our existing schemas, to learn and adapt to the new situation. This is done through the processes of accommodation and assimilation. This is how our schemas evolve and become more sophisticated.

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Example Of Theory Applied In Real Life

In real life, one can apply this theory when working with children of different ages to understand if their cognitive capabilities have developed appropriately for their age. For example, a social worker may need to assess a toddlers cognitive abilities to determine if their caregivers dedicate enough attention to the childs learning. In this case, using Piagets stages, a 12 child should be able to able to think logically and apply skills of inductive and deductive reasoning . Upon evaluating whether an adolescent is capable of reasoning, one can create tasks and learning opportunities for this individual to help them emerge in experiences that form this type of thinking. According to Oogarah-Pratap et al. , this theory can be used to design educational interventions for children, for example, by adjusting their physical education curriculum to ensure that they reach sufficient development of their sensorimotor skills. In this way, educators and social workers can ensure that a child develops their cognitive capabilities properly, which is essential for their life in adulthood. Other examples include working with troubled adults, where failure to sufficiently establish hypothetical thinking may be linked to criminal behavior.

How Is Piaget’s Theory Different From Others

Piaget’s Theory is different from other theorists in several ways:
  • Jean Piaget vs Vygotsky: Vygotsky claims that cognitive development is led by social interactionsand children are social beings. Whereas, Piaget believes that a child’s development is led by his own self-centred and focused activities as he is more independent.
  • Piaget vs Kohlberg: For Piaget, moral development is a construction process, and the interplay of thought and action creates moral concepts. Whereas, Kohlberg believes that process of exploring universal moral principles is called development.
  • Piaget vs Erikson: The main difference between Erikson and Piaget is that Erikson focused on the understanding of development during the entire life of a person. Whereas, Piaget mainly emphasized life events that occur from infancy to the late teenage years. Also, Piaget’s most work is on the topic of cognitive development whereas, Erikson was more interested in the area of emotional development.
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    History Of Development Of Theory

    Jean Piaget introduced the Theory of Cognitive Development as an attempt to explain how childrens cognitive capabilities progress over the years. He was a Swiss scientist majoring in genetic epistemology and psychology . He began his career by studying the biology of mollusks. By the age of 30, he was a well-renounced scientist, famous for his cognitive development theory . Piaget worked on standardizing Burts test for intelligence. Next, after his wife and Piaget had children, he studied their cognitive development . During this time, he occupied several positions as a researcher or chair of a science institution. According to Smith , Piagets ultimate goal was to answer the following question: how does knowledge grow? . Through his research, Piaget concluded that knowledge is a result of the progressive development of logical structures. By the time a person reaches adulthood, the lower-level logical structures should be replaced with high-level powerful logical means . Thus, Piagets ideas are based on the scientists interest in the process of cognitive development.

    Sensorimotor Stage Ages 0

    Developmental stages

    From birth to around age 2, the sensorimotor stage is all about exploring the world through the senses and motor behavior. Youve probably seen a baby crawl around, bumping into things, grasping whatever they can, and putting much of it in their mouthsthis is a critical part of their cognitive development. They are learning how things feel, taste, and exist in space.

    Object Permanence

    During this stage, children learn about object permanence. Object permanence is the idea that an object still exists, even if it is not in view. Imagine a child is playing with an adorable teddy bear. If someone places the teddy bear in a box, obscuring it from view, this will confuse an infant under five months.

    As an infant develops the concept of object permanence, the child will understand that whether or not they can see the teddy bear, it still exists. This child will look for the teddy bear in the box, knowing it must be somewhere even if they cant see it.

    Stranger Anxiety

    In this stage, children also exhibit stranger anxiety. Stranger anxiety is the common occurrence of babies being upset or uncomfortable around strangers and craving the familiarity of parents and others they know. If youve ever held a new baby who burst into tears until you have returned them to their parents, youve experienced stranger anxiety firsthand.

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    Birmingham Canal Trips With Lunch

    He argued that development occurs in four stages that are tied to particular age ranges. Piagets stages of development are: Sensorimotor Preoperational Concrete operational Formal operational Keep in mind that these age ranges are rough estimates, and children develop at different rates. JeanPiaget developed his cognitive -developmental theory based on the idea that children actively construct knowledge as they explore and manipulate the world around them. … Moral Development: Piaget’sTheory. As with other components of development, morality is shaped by multiple factors. Children’s interpersonal experiences with family.

    Major Concepts And Related Terminology Defined

    One of the central ideas proposed by Piaget is that knowledge is sorted into schemas. A schema is a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information . Hence, all information a child receives, either as a theory or as experience, is sorted into different schemas, which form their understanding of the world. Next, adaptation occurs when a child tests their schemas and try to adapt the knowledge they have to their environment. Assimilation occurs when a child fits the new information into the existing schemas . Finally, through accommodation, one restructures their pre-existing schemas based on new information. For instance, if a child acquires new information that does not fit into their existing schemas, they create a new one. However, if it in some way fits the old schemas, the pattern can be modified to account for the new knowledge or experience.

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    Application Of Theory To Social Work Practice

    Social workers mainly encounter children or adolescents with behavioral problems. According to Thornberry , Piagets theory can explain the criminal behavior of some troubled adults. Mostly, the transition to adulthood implies the change of roles and the assumption of new responsibilities that the cognitive capabilities of an adolescent cannot yet address. This issue arises because new role demands cannot be addressed fully by the cognitive structures that exist in adolescents . At the final stages of cognitive development, a person develops the ability to think hypothetically, in a what if manner. This what if approach allows predicting the potential consequences of actions, for example, how stealing or using drugs will affect the future of a person, their prospects to go to college or find a steady job. If an adolescent fails to develop hypothetical thinking capability, then they do not have the cognitive structures that would allow them to think through the consequences of their actions, increasing the possibility of criminal acts . Thus, Piagets theory provides an explanation of why some adolescents engage in criminal behavior, while others dont, regardless of the environment they are in, and based solely on the cognitive development of these individuals.

    Piagets 4 Stages Of Cognitive Development

    Jean Piagetâs Theory of Cognitive Development

    Piaget proposed four stages of cognitive development which reflect the increasing sophistication of childrenâs thought:

    1. Sensorimotor stage

    2. Preoperational stage

    3. Concrete operational stage

    4. Formal operational stage .

    1) Sensorimotor stage

    At this stage, the childâs basic way of acquiring knowledge and exploring the world is the senses , as well as their movements and actions. During this period, children exhibit some instinctive reflexes such as sucking, swallowing, searching, searching for roots. For example, a newborn babyâs reflex when he touches his cheek and turns his head in that direction to find out where that touch comes from can be an example of the reflexive behavior pattern of the baby or newborn.

    2) Preoperational stage

    In this period, it is seen that the linguistic development of children accelerates. Children begin to express their wishes by using the language. Sometimes some words they use may be specific to them.

    During this period, they generally act in accordance with reality. They use some mental representations. One of the most prominent features of this period is self-centeredness. Self-centeredness, the childâs inability to replace himself or herself, can only be explained as a state of perceiving and evaluating events from his own perspective. For example, since he cannot see the object he is hiding behind the bag, he thinks that no one can.

    3) Concrete operational stage

    4) Formal operational stage .

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    What Are The Four Stages Of Piagets Cognitive Development

    Piaget studied how children develop mental models for the world around them as they grow, says Alex Dimitriu, M.D., who is double board-certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine and the founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine in Menlo Park, California.

    He was interested not in the information or knowledge acquired, but the structures and mental frameworks into which that knowledge could be applied, says Dr. Dimitriu.

    His four stages of cognitive development outline not what material is learned, but a deeper level of how the child interacts with the world. Piaget observed children by playing games with them, asking them questions and devising tests to learn how they were thinking, says Brandy Porche, a licensed professional counselor at Mindpath Health in Dallas, Texas.

    He believed that as a childs brain develops and their experience increases, they move through these four broad stages of development, says Porche. While the amount of time spent in each stage can vary from child to child, Piaget theorized that every child progresses through each stage in the same order.

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