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Early Life Born on August 9, 1886 in Neuchatel, Switzerland

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Presentation on theme: "Early Life Born on August 9, 1886 in Neuchatel, Switzerland"— Presentation transcript:

1 Jean Piaget “The great pioneer of the constructivist theory of knowing”

2 Early Life Born on August 9, 1886 in Neuchatel, Switzerland
Had many interests as a child Mollusks, mechanics, birds, fossils of secondary and tertiary levels, seashells Published his first paper at age 10 Graduated from the University of Neuchatel with his Ph.D. in Science at age 22

3 Middle Life Spent 2 years at the Sorbonne and attended courses in psychology. Studied psychology under Carl Jung (father of Jungian psychology) for a semester in Zurich Taught at a boys’ school run by Alfred Binet (father of the standardized intelligence test) in Paris Began to theorize about development based on the incorrect answers he observed from young children Critiqued Binet’s test for being too rigid and then allowed children to explain their answers

4 Piaget as a Psychologist
Analyzed children’s verbal reasoning in response to cause and effect events Spent a tremendous amount of time and effort observing his 3 children and using them for cognitive experiments Main goal: to understand how children acquired knowledge Studied children’s development for 30 years Fathered the cognitive and developmental psychology movements Evans, R.L. (1973) Jean Piaget: The Man and His Ideas. E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. New York

5 Late Life Held many appointments at different universities as a professor, chair, and researcher Awarded multiple honorary degrees from prestigious universities such as Harvard and Oxford Highly prolific publisher of hundreds of papers and over 50 books Died September 17, 1980

6 Main Contributions First psychologist to make a systematic study of cognitive development Conducted detailed observational studies of cognition in children Series of simple tests to illustrate cognitive abilities Led to other studies by several psychologists Showed children and adolescents think differently compared to adults

7 Main Contributions Extremely influential in developing educational policy and teaching Discovery learning Readiness concerns Active learning Student-centered Collaborative instruction

8 Main Contributions Cont.
Theory of cognitive child development Goal: to explain processes by which the infant and then the child develops into an individual who can reason & think using hypotheses

9 Piaget's Cognitive Theory: Three Components
Schemas action sequence Adaptation Processes allows transition from one stage to another equilibrium, assimilation, and accommodation Stages of  Development sequence of development

10 Schemas Way of organizing knowledge
How to react to incoming stimuli or information Increases in number and complexity State of equilibrium Cognitive balance occurs when existing schemas can adjust to new information

11 Buying a Sandwich CLICK ORDER EAT

12 Assimilation and Accommodation
Assimilation: Using existing knowledge to face a new situation; existing knowledge is consistent with new knowledge and the two fit nicely together Accommodation: Existing knowledge is insufficient & additional knowledge is needed to face a new situation; existing knowledge is inconsistent with new knowledge and that must be reconciled Building blocks of knowledge are key in Piaget’s view of cognitive development

13 1) Sensorimotor Stage From birth to around age 2
Infants begin to build up knowledge of the world around them Initially reliant on reflexes Object permanence Here is an example of this stage

14 2) Preoperational Stage
2- 7 years of age Thoughts & communications usually egocentric Child becomes capable of symbolic play Here is an example of this stage

15 3) Concrete Operational Stage
7-11 years of age Beginning of logical/operational thought More organized and rational thinking Conservation Understanding that although the appearance of something changes, the thing itself does not Unable to think abstractly or hypothetically Here is an example

16 4) Formal Operational Stage
Around 11 years + Ability to think in an abstract manner Independently manipulate ideas (abstract reasoning) Inferential reasoning Draw conclusions about things which the child has not actually experienced

17 The Potential Stages of Adolescent Development
Concrete Operational Stage Formal Operational Stage 7-11 years of age 11-15 years of age Main source of knowledge is actions Main source of knowledge is mental operations Capable of logical thinking about concrete events Capable of logical thinking about abstract & hypothetical events Mastery of conservation & mathematical operations Mastery of abstract logic allows for mature moral reasoning Achieved by the large majority of people before or during adolescence Achieved by only a portion of people in adolescence (and during the lifespan)

18 Connections to Adolescent Development
Neuroscience: Development of the prefrontal cortex necessarily precedes the “logical, abstract, hypothetical” thinking of formal operations Connections increase such that knowledge is added to “an active, complex, self-organizing system” Pruning creates more efficient thought processes & facilitates logical & abstract reasoning Social: The role of cognitive readiness both inside & outside the classroom Peers become large & influential source of information that can lead to accommodation or assimilation Egocentrism & altruism

19 Critiques of Piaget’s Developmental Theory
Stages vs. continuum Universal vs. performance variability Underestimation of children’s development by given ages Requirement of verbal explanations to show mastery Avoidance of false positives Lack of emphasis on social and cultural development Based upon a biased sample Differences from Vygotsky Social development Spontaneous vs. nonspontaneous development Statics vs. dynamics of development

20 Bibliography Evans, R.L. (1973) Jean Piaget: The Man and His Ideas. E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. New York. Jean Piaget. (2014). Retrieved Jun. 1, 2014, from Miller, P.H. (2010). Piaget’s theory: Past, present, and future. Blackwell Handbooks of Developmental Psychology. Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell. Presnell, F. (1999). Jean Piaget. Retrieved Jun. 4, from tm Smith, L. (2000). A brief biography of Jean Piaget. Retrieved Jun. 4, 2014 from

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