Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jean Piaget : Theory of Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget

Full name : Jean William Fritz Piaget
Born 9 August 1896
Died 16 September 1980 (aged 84)
School/tradition : Developmental
Main interests Natural Sciences
Notable ideas Constructivist epistemology
             Theory of cognitive development

"Piaget's work on children's intellectual development owed much to his early studies of water snails"(Satterly, 1987:622)

Piaget was born in 1896 in Neuchâtel in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. His father, Arthur Piaget, was a professor of medieval literature at the University of Neuchâtel. Piaget was a precocious child who developed an interest in biology and the natural world, particularly molluscs, and even published a number of papers before he graduated from high school. He published his first scientific paper at the age of ten. Over the course of his career, Piaget wrote more than sixty books and several hundred articles.
Piaget received a Ph.D. in natural science from the University of Neuchâtel, and also studied briefly at the University of Zürich. During this time, he published two philosophical papers which showed the direction of his thinking at the time, but which he later dismissed as adolescent thought . His interest in psychoanalysis, a strain of psychological thought burgeoning at that time, can also be dated to this period. He then moved from Switzerland to Paris, France, where he taught at the Grange-Aux-Belles street school for boys run by Alfred Binet, the developer of the Binet intelligence test. It was while he was helping to mark some instances of these intelligence tests that Piaget noticed that young children consistently gave wrong answers to certain questions. Piaget did not focus so much on the fact of the children's answers being wrong, but that young children kept making the same pattern of mistakes that older children and adults did not. This led him to the theory that young children's cognitive processes are inherently different from those of adults. (Ultimately, he was to propose a global theory of developmental stages stating that individuals exhibit certain distinctive common patterns of cognition in each period in their development.) In 1921, Piaget returned to Switzerland as director of the Rousseau Institute in Geneva.
In 1923, he married Valentine Châtenay, one of his students; together, the couple had three children, whom Piaget studied from infancy. In 1929, Jean Piaget accepted the post of Director of theInternational Bureau of Education and remained the head of this international organization until 1968. Every year, he drafted his “Director's Speeches” for the IBE Council and for the International Conference on Public Education in which he explicitly expressed his educational credo.
In 1964, Piaget was invited to serve as chief consultant at two conferences at Cornell University (March 11 to March 13) and University of California, Berkeley (March 16 to March 18). The conferences addressed the relationship of cognitive studies and curriculum development and strived to conceive implications of recent investigations of children's cognitive development for curricula. In 1979 he was awarded the Balzan Prize for Social and Political Sciences.

 Piaget's Key Ideas

What it says: adapting to the world through assimilation and accommodation 
The process by which a person takes material into their mind from the environment, which may mean changing the evidence of their senses to make it fit.
The difference made to one's mind or concepts by the process of assimilation.
Note that assimilation and accommodation go together: you can't have one without the other.
The ability to group objects together on the basis of common features.
Class Inclusion 
The understanding, more advanced than simple classification, that some classes or sets of objects are also sub-sets of a larger class. (E.g. there is a class of objects called dogs. There is also a class called animals. But all dogs are also animals, so the class of animals includes that of dogs)
The realisation that objects or sets of objects stay the same even when they are changed about or made to look different.
The ability to move away from one system of classification to another one as appropriate.
The belief that you are the centre of the universe and everything revolves around you: the corresponding inability to see the world as someone else does and adapt to it. Not moral "selfishness", just an early stage of psychological development.
The process of working something out in your head. Young children (in the sensorimotor and pre-operational stages) have to act, and try things out in the real world, to work things out (like count on fingers): older children and adults can do more in their heads.
Schema (or scheme) 
The representation in the mind of a set of perceptions, ideas, and/or actions, which go together.
A period in a child's development in which he or she is capable of understanding some things but not others

Stages of Cognitive Development

Characterised by 
(Birth-2 yrs) 
Differentiates self from objects 
Recognises self as agent of action and begins to act intentionally: e.g. pulls a string to set mobile in motion or shakes a rattle to make a noise 
Achieves object permanence: realises that things continue to exist even when no longer present to the sense (pace Bishop Berkeley) 
(2-7 years) 
Learns to use language and to represent objects by images and words 
Thinking is still egocentric: has difficulty taking the viewpoint of others 
Classifies objects by a single feature: e.g. groups together all the red blocks regardless of shape or all the square blocks regardless of colour 
Concrete operational
(7-11 years) 
Can think logically about objects and events 
Achieves conservation of number (age 6), mass (age 7), and weight (age 9) 
Classifies objects according to several features and can order them in series along a single dimension such as size. 
Formal operational
(11 years and up) 
Can think logically about abstract propositions and test hypotheses systemtically 
Becomes concerned with the hypothetical, the future, and ideological problems 


    google images,



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