There are many theories that involve cognitive development. Although these theories are on the same subject, they vary depending on different factors. By carefully studying the textbook and watching the videos, we can make some conclusions on how different and similar these theories on cognitive development are. The three theories that we will be comparing and contrasting are: Piaget’s, Vygotsky’s, and Information processing.
Piaget believed that, ‘children at all ages are like scientists in that they create theories about how the world works,’ (Kail, 2013, p.124). He believed that human’s learn for themselves. Piaget created four distinct stages that expand over the course of infancy to adulthood. These four stages are: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. Each stage serves a different purpose in cognitive development. He believed that children develop through the different stages depending on their own personal experiences.
Although Piaget believed that children learn alone, Vygotsky proposed that, ‘development is an apprenticeship in which children advance when they collaborate with others who are more skilled,’ (Kail, 2013, p.144). In other words, Piaget believed that children are scientists, whereas Vygotsky believed that they are apprentice. ‘The area between the level of independent performance and the level of assisted performance is the zone of proximal development,’ (Vygotsky’s Developmental Theory: An Introduction). He believed that we must assist children in their learning so that they can learn effectively. Based on the previous readings of this textbook, a conclusion can be drawn that Piaget took a nature approach whereas Vygotsky had a nurture approach. Both theorists would agree that learning can lead development, and that language plays a central role in mental development, (Vygotsky’s Developmental Theory: An Introduction).
Information processing has some similarities as well as differences than that of Piaget and Vygotsky’s theories. Information processing is broken up by mental hardware and mental software (Kail, 2013, p. 137). Both Piaget and information processing theorists believe that children learn on their own. Likewise, all three theories support that as children develop, their understanding becomes more complex. A difference between these theories is that Piaget theory suggests four stages, however, information processing and Vygotsky’s theory do not.
If we compare and contrast these three theories, we grasp a deeper understanding of what these theories mean. We discovered that Piaget’s theory and information processing is more nature based, and Vygotsky’s theory is more nurture based. Piaget’s theory is based on different stages, meanwhile information processing and Vygotsky’s theory is not. By reading the book and watching the supporting videos, we can uncover more about cognitive development.
Jean Piaget Vs. Levy Vygotsky Essay
Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky both have very different yet similar views about the child and tenets within their theoretical perspectives. While Piaget sees children as ‘little scientists’, curious little discoverers who learn through the development attained at each of his four stages, Vygotsky views the child as competent and capable and that the child’s development is lead by their learning. Though Vygotsky puts greater emphasis on the sociocultural aspects of learning, both Piaget and Vygotsky consider sociocultural theory in their perspectives.
The major tenets of Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory lie largely in his stages of development. Piaget sees children as “little scientists who are constantly creating and testing their own theories of the world” (Papert, 1999, p.1) who learn as they develop through his four stages of development. These stages relate to “the most common way of thinking at a given level of development” (Ackermann, n.d.). The first stage, the sensorimotor stage (birth – 2 years), at this stage the child relies on his/her senses to learn about the objects in their environment, including their own body. The second stage, the preoperational stage (2 – 7 years) the child is still making sense of their world and will refer to certain things as the same as another, e.g. ‘my cat is furry and has four legs. That, over there, is also furry and has four legs. Therefore, it is a cat, too,’ when referring to a dog. Children at this stage also have difficulty taking other people’s viewpoints and believe that everything revolves around them, this is called Egocentrism. The third stage, the concrete operational stage (7 – 11 years) is when children instigate reasoning skills; however, abstract reasoning is not yet reached. Moreover, the loss of egocentrism is attained. And the fourth stage, the formal operational stage (11 years +) which is believed that not everyone reaches this stage. It consists of the ability to think theoretically and argue complex statements (Swift, n.d.).
Piaget believed that children should be allowed to ‘explore and experiment’ as they please and through this the child will be provided with the room to expand their current knowledge about their world and the people in it (Ackermann, n.d.). In addition, this helps with the process of assimilation and accommodation, the ability to understand an idea or concept and fit it into an already existing schema such as, realising that cats and dogs are similarly furry and have four legs but are different animals. Piaget’s understanding of children is that they are only able to complete a given...
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