Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist who did work on the development of intelligence in children. His studies have had a major impact on the fields of psychology and education. Piaget liked to call himself a genetic epistemologist (is a person who studies the origins of human knowledge) His theories led to more advanced work in child psychology. Piaget does work involving both experimental and observational methods.
Piaget believed that from birth humans are active learners, he also believed that cognitive development occurs in four stages. Stage I, sensorimotor intelligence (birth-2 years), takes the child from unrelated reflexive movements to behavior that reflects knowledge of simple concepts. During this stage, the child learns about himself and his environment. Thought derives from sensation and movement. The child learns that he is separate from his environment and that aspects of his environment -- his parents or favorite toy -- continue to exist even though they may be outside the reach of his senses. Teaching for a child in this stage should be geared to the sensorimotor system. You can modify behavior by using the senses: a frown, a stern or soothing voice -- all serve as appropriate techniques.
Stage II, preoperational thought (2-7 years), is characterized by an increasing use of abstract symbols as 0reflected in imaginative play. Preoperational Thought is the capacity to coordinate symbols in a meaningful way it increases, mental reasoning emerges, use of concepts increases. Applying his new knowledge of language, the child begins to use symbols to represent objects. Early in this stage he also personifies objects. He is now better able to think...
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...umber of each kind. The expected answer is "The same." Rearrange one row as shown and ask the same question again. This time around a child would say "More squares." Another example would be if you had two balls of clay that were the same size, then you flattened one; the children would say the flat one is bigger. The example that was really neat to see was; when you take two straws exactly the same size and put them side by side, the children think that they are the same; when you push one up a little further the children think it is bigger because it is higher. There are lots of examples to show that children in grades primary through to about 5 or 6 can not get these questions right.
One of the achievements of Piaget's research is the universal acceptance of the fact that children do not think like adults, they think differently and in different categories.
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