The Main Features of Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development

2180 Words9 Pages
The Main Features of Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development Jean Piaget (1896-1980), a Swiss biologist turned Psychologist, has had perhaps the most influential development on the understanding and progression of Cognitive Development. Cognitive development being all of the processes relating to thinking and knowing, involving perceiving, interpreting, reasoning, remembering and using language. His theory starts with the basic explanation that children develop more sophisticated ways of thinking as they grow older mainly as a consequence of maturation. Understanding and learning is primarily concerned with concepts that each individual has and how they develop. A concept being how a child differentiates between 'Daddy' and another male adult. For example, a young child will develop the concept that the adult male in her life is referred to as Daddy, but as the child meets further adult males, s/he may confuse her/his concept of 'Daddy' with the new person. S/He will be told by her/his parents/guardians that the new adult is for example 'Uncle Bob', hence the child develops a new concept. According to Piaget, the way in which we are able to form and deal with concepts changes throughout childhood right up to adolescence and he explains this through a process called variant cognitive structures and invariant functions. Variant cognitive structures are divided into two explanations - Schemas and Operations. A schema (schemas/schemata) is an internal representation of some specific physical or mental action which is present in any intellectual or physical act. For example a newborn child has built-in innate schem... ... middle of paper ... ...previous methods of teaching - via rote in dull conservative class rooms. Class rooms that are bright and pasted with letters, words, pictures and photo's, seating arrangements that encourage children to socialise and interact within themselves and tasks and lessons that are not just necessarily rote learning but involve play and experimentation. This is the modern day class room which includes aspects of both theories put forward by Piaget, Vygotsky and other psychologist alike. Conclusively, the evidence suggests that both theories can be applied to cognitive child development and that the decision as to which one is right or wrong lies somewhere between the two. Bibliography. Introductory Psychology - Malim and Birch 1998 Macmillan Press Foundations of Psychology - Nicky Hayes 1996 Thomas Nelson and Sons

More about The Main Features of Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development

Open Document