Piaget and CognitivismJoel CharbonneauEDUC 2130.01Learning Theorist Project11/29/2012
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) – Early Life Born on August 9, 1896, in Neuchatel, Switzerland Wrote a short paper on an albino sparrow at age 11 —“generally considered as the start of a brilliant scientific career” (Smith, 2000) Developed an interest in mollusks and “became a well-known malacologist by finishing school” (Smith, 2000) Obtained Ph.D. from University of Neuchatel in natural sciences
Piaget – Professional Career Professor of Psychology (or related) University of Neuchatel University of Geneva University of Lausanne Sorbonne, Paris Director International Bureau of Education Institute of Educational Sciences International Centre for Genetic Epistemology President Swiss Commission UNESCO Swiss Society of Psychology French Language Association of Scientific Psychology International Union of Scientific Psychology Honorary Doctorates from 31 universities worldwide Twelve international prizes Author of “over sixty books and several hundred articles” (Smith, 2000)
Piaget’s Theory of CognitiveDevelopment “To Piaget, cognitive development was a progressive reorganization of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience” (McLeod, 2009). Three Elements Schemas – “building blocks of knowledge” Process of Adaptation Stages of Development (McLeod, 2009)
Schemas “Piaget called the schema the basic building block of intelligent behavior” (McLeod, 2009). Children build schemas to explain the world around them and attain a state of cognitive balance called equilibrium (McLeod, 2009). Following slide demonstrates a child developing a schema for a dog. Animation created by Daurice Grossniklaus and Bob Rodes (03/2002). Animation can be viewed at http://www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html if it fails to load.
Stages of Adaptation Assimilation – “using an existing schema to deal with a new object or situation” Accommodation – “existing schema does not work, and needs to be changed to deal with a new object or situation” Equilibration - moving from disequilibrium to equilibrium Disequilibrium – “new information cannot be fitted into existing schemas” Equilibrium – “schemas can deal with most new information” (McLeod, 2009)
Teaching Implications Piaget’s theory promoted the idea of the discovery learning, or learn by doing, approach. Teachers should strive for the following: “Focus on the process of learning, rather than the end product of it; Using active methods that require rediscovering or reconstructing "truths“; Using collaborative, as well as individual activities (so children can learn from each other); Devising situations that present useful problems, and create disequilibrium in the child; and, Evaluate the level of the childs development, so suitable tasks can be set” (McLeod, 2009).
Criticisms The age ranges of the stages have been questioned, as have the existence of the stages at all. Piaget examines only the biological aspect with no consideration for the socio-cultural aspects of development. “The concept of schema is incompatible with the theories of Bruner and Vygotsky,” and behaviorism (McLeod, 2009).
References McLeod, S. A. (2009). Jean Piaget | Cognitive Theory. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html Smith, L. (2000). A brief biography of Jean Piaget. Retrieved from http://www.piaget.org/aboutPiaget.html