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Cognitive Development Jean Piaget Lori Hamilton October 6, 2004.

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1 Cognitive Development Jean Piaget Lori Hamilton October 6, 2004

2 Objectives Jean Piaget Bio Piaget’s Genetic Epistemology The Stages of Development The Process of Development Criticisms of Genetic Epistemology Alternative Perspectives on Cognitive Development Implications for Instruction Discussion/Q&A

3 Jean Piaget Born in Switzerland on August 9, Published his first “paper” when he was ten. Dedicated himself to finding a “biological explanation of knowledge” University of Neuchâtel. In 1921, his first article on the psychology of intelligence was published.

4 Jean Piaget In 1923, he married one of his student coworkers, Valentine Châtenay. Together they had three children which assisted him in his research. In 1955, he created the International Center for Genetic Epistemology Died in Geneva, September 16, 1980

5 Conserving Numbers Piagetian assessment for number conservation.

6 Is it Alive? Button Table Plants Flowers Animals For humans, cognitive development is the transformation of the child’s undifferentiated unspecialized cognitive abilities into the adult’s conceptual competence and problem solving skill.

7 Piaget’s Genetic Epistemology Piaget’s view was named constructivism because he firmly believed that knowledge acquisition is a process of continuous self- construction. Knowledge is invented and reinvented as the child develops and interacts with the world surrounding him/her.

8 Piaget’s Genetic Epistemology Types of Knowledge DefinedKnowledge about the physical properties of objects Abstract KnowledgeKnowledge made by people How acquired Discovered by actions of objects; objects are the source Invented from actions on objects; actions are the source Obtained from actions on and interactions with others; people are the source ReinforcerObjects People Examples of areas of knowledge Size, color, texture, thickness, taste, sound, flexibility Number, mass, area, volume, length, class, order, time Language, moral, rules, values, culture Physical Knowledge Logical- Mathematical Knowledge Social Knowledge

9 Criteria for the Stages of Development 4. At each stage, the child’s schemes and operations form an integrated whole. 2. Children progress through the stages in a culturally invariant sequence. 3. Each stage includes the cognitive structures and abilities of the preceding stage. 1.Each stage must represent a qualitative change in children’s cognition.

10 The Stages of Development Stages of DevelopmentTypical Characteristics Sensorimotor (birth to approx. age 2) Modifies reflexes to make them more adaptive. Becomes goal-directed in behavior, with goals moving from concrete to abstract. Begins to mentally represent objects and events Preoperational (2 to 7 years) Acquires the semiotic function; engages in symbolic play and languages games. Has difficulty seeing another person’s point of view, thought and communication are egocentric. Reasons from a focus on one perceptual dimension of problems Concrete Operational (7 to 11 years) Performs true mental operations (conservation, reversibility) and solves concrete problems in a logical fashion. Has difficulty thinking hypothetically and systematically considering all aspects of a problem Formal Operational (11 years onward) Solves abstract problems in systematic and logical fashion. Reasons hypothetically and often develops concerns over social issues.

11 The Process of Development Assimilation –Occurs when a child perceives new objects or events in terms of existing schemes or operations. Accommodation –When existing schemes or operations must be modified to account for a new experience, accommodation has occurred. Equilibration –Characterizes the child’s transition from one stage of development to the next.

12 Criticisms of Genetic Epistemology Piaget’s ClaimCounterevidence 1. The sequence of stages is culturally invariant, with formal operations inevitably reached. Not all cultures show evidence of formal operations Even in Western culture people fail to reason at the formal operational level much of the time. 2. There is qualitative change in cognition from stage to stage and consistency of reasoning within a stage. Children actually learn more at given stages then Piaget thought, and they do not always reason consistently within a stage 3. Children exhibit the characteristics of each stage, and each stage includes all the competence of the previous stage. Children are sometimes egocentric beyond the preoperational stage. Preoperational children are not egocentric all the time. 4. Global restructuring characterizes stage shifting. Reasoning appears to be more domain- specific than global.

13 Group Project From what you have studied of learning theory so far, would you design different instruction for children than you would for adults when teaching how to operate a personal computer? –Why or why not? –If you would create different instruction for the two groups, what would these differences entail? –Why would you make those instructional decisions?

14 Alternative Perspectives Neo-Piagetian View Computational Model Componential Analysis Framework Theory New Agenda Based on Variability, Choice and Change

15 Match the Theory (Alternative Perspective) with the correct Feature 1. Genetic Epistemology (Piaget) a. Computer simulations of Piaget’s theory 2. Non-Piagetian View (Case) b. Development more or less equivalent to novice becoming expert. Based on information-processing theory. 3. Computational Model (Klahr) c. Variability is characteristic of thinking. Strategy choice is adaptive. Children’s thinking is always changing. 4. Componential Analysis (Sternberg) d. Stages similar to those of Piaget. Increasingly sophisticated logical structures at each stage. Biological maturation assumed. 5. Framework Theory Carey e. Qualitative differences in knowledge states. Domain-specific development 6. Variability, Choice and Change (Siegler) f. Four stages of Development: Sensory-motor, Preoperational, Concrete-Operational, Formal-Operational

16 Match the Theory with the correct Developmental Process 1. Genetic Epistemology (Piaget) a. Generalization global restructuring (brought on by local, domain-specific restructuring) 2. Non-Piagetian View (Case) b. Feedback (to provide a self-correcting function) 3. Computational Model (Klahr) c. Encoding monitoring of task demands, trail and error, learning 4. Componential Analysis (Sternberg) d. Automatization (to reduce operation space to STM) 5. Framework Theory Carey e. Knowledge restructuring in specific domains 6. Variability, Choice and Change (Siegler) f. Accommodation Assimilation Equilibration

17 Implications for Instruction of Development Theory There are three basic instructional principles on which Piagetian theorists generally agree. 1. The Learning Environment Should Support the Activity of the Child 2. Children’s Interactions with their Peers are an Important Source of Cognitive Development. 3. Adopt Instructional Strategies that Make Children Aware of Conflicts and Inconsistencies in Their Thinking.

18 Implications for Instruction of an Information-Processing View The Role of Rules in Children’s Thinking –Case recommends that teachers follow a three step procedure: 1. The ways in which children are oversimplifying a given type of problem must be identified. 2. Students should be shown why their strategy will not work to solve the problem and what information they are ignoring. 3. They should be taught and given many opportunities to practice a better strategy incorporating all the rules necessary to solve the problem.

19 Implications for Instruction of an Information-Processing View Promoting Conceptual Change New scientific conceptions emerge when: 1. There is existing dissatisfaction with the old conception 2. A new conception can be grasped 3. The new conception appears plausible 4. The new conception opens up new areas of inquiry

20 Discussion and Q & A

21 Boeree, Dr. C. George, Personality Theories, Driscoll, Marcy P. Psychology of learning for instruction. Allyn and Bacon (2000) Jean Piaget Society, Kearsley, Greg, The Theory Into Practice Database Online BKT, Hour Glass Picture SciNet Science Pictures, Picture of bananas Songs & Musical Notes, Music Picture Sources


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