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Constructivist theories of cognitive development in adolescence

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Presentation on theme: "Constructivist theories of cognitive development in adolescence"— Presentation transcript:

1 Theoretical perspectives on adolescent cognitive development Constructivism Information processing

2 Constructivist theories of cognitive development in adolescence
Human learning is constructed Constructivist-oriented teaching builds upon what students already know Learning is active rather than passive Piaget Vygotksy

3 Constructivist theories: implications for teaching
teaching is not simply the transmission of information create learning environments that exploit inconsistencies between learners’ current knowledge and new learning tasks students have to apply what they know in order to build new knowledge if new knowledge is to be constructed, then time is needed to construct it

4 Information processing
Information processing theories describe changes in learners’ attentional capacities learning strategies knowledge base, and metacognitive skills

5 Attention Children become less distractable as they grow older
Children’s and adolescents’ learning becomes increasingly a function of what they actually intend to learn

6 Learning strategies Rehearsal skills increase over the early grades
Organizational skills improve throughout elementary and secondary grades Elaboration skills emerge around puberty and increase throughout adolescence Learning strategies become increasingly efficient and effective

7 Knowledge base The amount of knowledge children and adolescents have increases over time Knowledge becomes increasingly integrated

8 Metacognition Children and adolescents become increasingly aware of the limits of their memories Children and adolescents become more knowledgeable about effective learning strategies Children and adolescents become better able to identify what they know and do not know

9 Instructional implications
Model effective learning and study strategies and encourage students to use these strategies Base instruction on what students already know Provide opportunities for students to find out what they know and do not know


11 Piaget’s Theory Organismic theory: rooted in biological concepts about the development of organisms The organism is affected by and affects its environment The cognitive “organism” strives toward equilibrium: a balance between the dual processes of assimilation and accommodation Development proceeds through a fixed sequence of qualitatively distinct stages Adolescent thinking is fundamentally different from the thinking abilities of children--not simply more or better

12 Stages of Cognitive Development
Sensorimotor (birth - 2 years) Preoperational (2-7 years) Concrete (7-11 years) Formal (>11 years) Sensation --> motor behavior Use symbols to represent objects Master logic, develop rational thinking Develop abstract and hypothetical thinking

13 Piagetian concepts Adaptation to the environment Biological readiness
Cognitive disequilibrium Propositional logic Not all adolescents (or adults) use formal operational thinking all the time and across all situations

14 General qualitative changes in cognitive abilities during adolescence
Better able to think about what is possible, instead of limiting their thinking to what is real Better able to think about abstract concepts Begin thinking more often about the process of thinking itself Thinking tends to become multidimensional, rather than limited to a single issue More likely than children to see things as relative, rather than as absolute

15 Egocentrism in adolescence
Imaginary audience ideation adolescent belief that there is an audience “out there” observing his/her actions Personal fable adolescent belief that s/he is a unique person, invulnerable to harm D. Elkind

16 Vygotsky’s theory action creates thinking
Cognitive development: the process of children internalizing the results of their transactions with their environment Knowledge is co-constructed between 2 or more people

17 Cultural tools Technical tools
used to change objects or gain mastery over the environment

18 Cultural tools Psychological tools
are used to organize behavior and thinking LANGUAGE

19 Language is the most important psychological tool for influencing thinking
PIAGET: Thinking influences language VYGOTSKY Language influences thinking

20 Zone of proximal development
Zoped: the difference between what a child can do on their own and with the assistance of a more competent peer or teacher

21 Applications of Vygotsky’s theory
Use guided participation in which students are apprentices in learning Model “thinking aloud” when problem-solving; encourage students to talk through problems Provide opportunities for collaborative learning Direct learning and assessment toward students’ zopeds

22 Cognitive development: Implications for teaching
Challenge students’ thinking by helping them to see things that might not fit with their prior schema Challenge students to modify old schemas by presenting them with information to form new schemas Concrete operational thinkers need lots of hands-on activities to grasp concepts Be aware of students’ maturity level in dealing with the physical, emotional, and social changes in their lives

23 Implications for Teaching
Student-centered is more effective than authoritarian, teacher-centered approaches to instruction Adolescent students need multiple opportunities to observe, analyze possibilities, and draw inferences about perceived relationships Use of discussions, problem-solving activities, and scientific experiments will encourage development of formal thinking and problem-solving skills Give explicit feedback and encouragement; allow time for their reasoning capacities to develop

24 Implications… Remain flexible in expectations for middle-schoolers; students may be at different stages of cognitive development Allow students to progress at own rates of growth Plan learning activities that are appropriate for developing effective, concrete thinkers before moving on to formal operational tasks Provide a variety of approaches and examples to students because there are different cognitive levels among students

25 “The principal goal of education is to create [persons] who are capable of doing new things--[people] who are creative, inventive, and discoverers. The second goal of education is to form minds which can be critical, can verify, and not accept everything they are offered…We need pupils who are active, who learn early to find out by themselves, partly by their own spontaneous activity and partly through material we set up for them; who learn early to tell what is verifiable and what is simply the first idea to come to them.” -Piaget (1972)

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