Theories Of Piaget And Vygotsky

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When discussing the field of developmental psychology, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky are two names that often come to mind. The work of Vygotsky and Piaget in the area of psychological development has been a critical component of the education of children for many generations (Lourenco, 2012). Analysis of the theories of these developmental psychologists yields important similarities, as well as distinct differences. The purpose of this paper is to explore the developmental theories of Piaget and Vygotsky, to focus on both similarities and differences between the theories, and to analyze the ways in which a deeper understanding of these theories can improve educational work. Brief Summary of the Theories of Piaget and Vygotsky Piaget’s Theory…show more content…
Piaget’s theory hinges on the idea that individuals complete the process of cognitive development in four distinct stages, without much social influence. Piaget’s theory also focuses on the idea that cognitive development ends at adolescence (Lourenco, 2012). Two important components of Piaget’s theory are organization and adaptation. Organization refers to an individual’s classification of knowledge in terms of schema, which are tools for learning about the world, and operation, which is an individual’s internalized portion of cognitive structure. Adaptation refers to the process of intellectual growth through assimilation, which involves applying existing schema to new situations, and accommodation, which involves changing existing schema to fit new situations. Piaget developed his theory through the observation of both his own children, and other children (Obukhova,…show more content…
One important similarity between the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky is the focus on development as a process. This similarity is important for educators to understand because the process of development is an important consideration when determining lesson delivery methods and instructional strategies. One important difference between the theories is that Piaget focuses on the individual learner in the developmental process, while Vygotsky focuses on the role of social interaction in the developmental process. This difference is important for educators to understand because it directly impacts the way in which learning takes place in the classroom. For example, educators favoring Vygotsky’s theory may incorporate group work and offer scaffolding to aid students in reaching the zone of proximal development, while educators favoring Piaget’s theory may focus more on individual work, while providing rich and stimulating activities based on developmental stages. Through analysis of both theories, not only do educators gain a more in-depth understanding of the cognitive and social implications in the classroom, but also better understand the usefulness and uniqueness of each theory. However, educators should consider each theory with caution and maintain a
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