The Work of Jean Piaget

Powerful Essays
The Work of Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, was a pioneer in the field of

developmental psychology. He developed many fields of science, but is

recognised primarily for his contribution to the field of genetic

epistemology (the theory of knowledge). He believed that there was a

biological explanation for the development of knowledge, and that

children had their own processes of learning, and their thought

processes were separate and distinct from adults. He developed a broad

theory, based on his studies of children, which described four main

stages in the learning process. He began studying children and the

development of knowledge when he moved to Paris and began working on

the Simon-Binet intelligence study, and this was the foundation for

his later work. His work with children was a major part of his life up

until his death, in 1980. Piaget's theory forms the basis of many

educational principles used in the present day, and has greatly

expanded our understanding of the way in which knowledge is acquired.

He believed that children created their own theories of the world, and

were constantly testing those theories, in order to develop their

understanding of the world. This was in direct contrast to the

generally-held belief at that time that children should be taught by

rote, that simple repetition would ensure knowledge and that children

were merely 'empty vessels waiting to be filled'[1]. Although there

has been some criticism of his method and interpretation from other

psychologists, there is general acceptance of the four cognitive

periods outlined in his theory and his work has inspired further

in-depth resear...

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...s in the field of human intelligence today.




An Introduction to Piaget, P.G. Richmond, 1970 Routledge (London)

Jean Piaget: Psychologist of the Real, Brian Rotman, 1977 Harvester






[2] An Introduction to Piaget, P.G. Richmond, 1970 Routledge (London),

p. 65.

[3] Ibid, p. 12

[4] Ibid, p.53.

[5] Rose and Blank (1974) and Samuel and Bryant (1984)
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