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THEORY OF COGNITIVE

DEVELOPMENT
By Jean Piaget

Kyzeah Coleen Tababa


GJ Coleen Panaguiton
Claudette Trespuentes

Dr. Cynthia Dy

STAGE 1: SENSORIMOTOR THOUGHT (BIRTH-2 YEARS)


Babies are stuck in the HERE AND NOW world.
They know the world only in terms of their own sensory input (what they see, smell, taste,
touch, and hear) and their physical or motor actions on it (e.g. sucking, reaching, grasping).
(Littlefield Cook & Cook, 2005/2009, p. 157)
Babies lack REPRESENTATIONAL THOUGHT or ability to think through the use of symbols
(Littlefield Cook & Cook, 2005/2009, p. 158)
Evidence of representational thought emerges from the use of language and OBJECT
PERMANENCE
the fact that objects, events, or even people continue to exist when they are not in the infants
direct line of sensory or motor action (Littlefield Cook & Cook, 2005/2009, p. 159)

STAGE 2: PREOPERATIONAL THOUGHT (2-7 YEARS)


Intuitive Though logic bases only on experiences
Symbols in play
Egocentrism
lack of conservation

Symbols in Play
Symbolic play: use one object to stand for another
Fantasy play: pretend to be something, or pretend activities that are impossible
Make-believe play: use toys as props
Egocentrism
Childs inability to take in others perspective
(Littlefield Cook & Cook, 2005/2009, p. 163)
Three Mountain Test

Timmys egocentrism prevents him from seeing Davies perspective Timmy would draw the
big mountain.
Conservation

Operations = reversible mental actions


Thus, the preoperational Stage is marked by childrens lack of conservation - concept that
certain basic properties of an object (e.g. volume, mass, and weight) remain the same even if its
physical appearance changes
(Littlefield Cook & Cook, 2005/2009, p. 164)
CONSERVATION TEST

Equal Amounts of H2O

The FIRST step in the experiment is to show the child 2 cups with equal amount of water .
Pour one cup into a tall, skinny cup and the other into a short, fat cup.

Which has MORE??

A preoperational child would conclude that the tall skinny class had more water because the level
of water was higher.

STAGE 3: CONCRETE OPERATIONAL THOUGHT (7-11 YEARS)


Logic is still tied closely to concrete materials, contexts, and situations
(Littlefield Cook & Cook, 2005/2009, p. 166)
Characterized by:
Reversibility
Logical abilities: class inclusion
Reversibility
Relates to the CONSERVATION EXPERIMENT
Children in the concrete operational stage understand that if you reverse the action (pour
the water back into the same size cups), then the water amount REMAINS THE SAME.
(Littlefield Cook & Cook, 2005/2009, p. 165)
LOGICAL ABILITIES: class inclusion

ARE THERE MORE DOGS OR ANIMALS?


Through understanding class inclusion, children in the concrete operational stage know that dogs
belong to the larger CATEGORY of animals.
So they would answer:
ANIMALS
(Littlefield Cook & Cook, 2005/2009, p. 166)

Stage 4: FORMAL OPERATIONAL THOUGHT Stage 4 (age 12 and up)


5 Important higher-level cognitive abilities

1. Hypothetico-deductive reasoning
Ability to plan systematic tests to explore multiple variables (Littlefield Cook & Cook,
2005/2009, p. 167)
2. Abstract thought

Thought about things that are not real or tangible (Littlefield Cook & Cook, 2005/2009,
p. 167)
3. Separating Reality from Possibility
Direction of thinking about reality and possibility reverses: reality is thought of as
only one of many possible outcomes (Littlefield Cook & Cook, 2005/2009, p. 167)
Combinational logic
Thinking about multiple aspects and combining them logically to solve problems
5. Reflective Thinking
Thinking about your own thinking
4.

EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS DRAWN FROM PIAGETS THEORY (SLAVIN, 2005)


A focus on the process of childrens thinking, not just its products.
In addition to checking the correctness of childrens answers, teachers must understand the
processes children use to get to the answer. Appropriate learning experiences build on childrens
current level of cognitive functioning, and only when teachers appreciate childrens methods of
arriving at particular conclusions are they in a position to provide such experiences.
Recognition of the crucial role of childrens self-initiated, active involvement in learning
activities.
In a Piagetian classroom the presentation of ready-made knowledge is deemphasized, and
children are encouraged to discover for themselves through spontaneous interaction with the
environment. Therefore, instead of teaching didactically, teachers provide a rich variety of
activities that permit children to act directly on the physical world.
A de-emphasis on practices aimed at making children adult like in their thinking.

Piaget referred to the question How can we speed up development? as the American
question. Among the many countries he visited, psychologists and educators in the United
States seemed most interested in what techniques could be used to accelerate childrens progress
through the stages. Piagetian-based educational programs accept his firm belief that premature
teaching could be worse than no teaching at all, because it leads to superficial acceptance of
adult formulas rather than true cognitive understanding (May & Kundert, 1997).
Acceptance of individual differences in developmental progress.
Piagets theory assumes that all children go through the same developmental sequence but that
they do so at different rates. Therefore, teachers must make a special effort to arrange classroom
activities for individuals and small groups of children rather than for the total class group. In
addition, because individual differences are expected, assessment of childrens educational
progress should be made in terms of each childs own previous course of development, not in
terms of normative standards provided by the performances of same-age peers.
Some general suggestions include:
The use of concrete props and visual aids, such as models and/or time lines.
Facilitate learning by using familiar examples to explain complex ideas, such as a story
problem in math.
Give students the opportunities to classify & group information, use outlines &
hierarchies to facilitate assimilation of new information with previously learned
knowledge.
Present problems that require logical analytical thinking, "brain teasers" are a great way
to incorporate this.

SAMPLE ACTIVITIES

Sensorimotor Period: Activities for Infants and Toddlers


Provide a rich stimulating environment
-Allow the child to play with toys that squeak when squeezed. (ex: rubber duck) At first when the
child squeezes the toy, they will be surprised by the sound and why it happened. However, after
some time the child will realize that by squeezing the toy they are the one causing the noise. This
gives an example of cause-and-effect relationships: if I squeeze the duck, it will squeak.
-Another example of a toy is a rattle; when the baby shakes a rattle it makes noise.
-Playing peek-a-boo is another good example of a fun activity for children around this age.
Preoperational Period: Activities for Toddlers and Early Childhood
-One way to do this is by playing dress up and encouraging the child to take on a character.
- Sometimes children in this age group enjoy playing house. This is also a good activity because
they are playing different roles that they have observed in their own lives.
-Hands on activities should also be facilitated at this time.
-Encourage children to play with toys that change shape (ex: play dough, sand, clay, water)
because this will help them move towards the concept of conservation.
Children need physical, hands on practice with facts and skills needed for development.
-Use cut-out letters to build words.
-Avoid lessons that are very different from the child's world. And steer away from using
workbooks or paper and pencil activities very often.
Concrete Operations: Activities for Middle Childhood
-Give children the chance to manipulate objects and test out ideas
-Do simple experiments, with participation of the students

Avoid dealing with more than three of four variables at a time


-Reading selections should have a limited number of characters
-Experiments should have a limited number of steps
Students should have practice classifying objects and ideas on complex levels
-Have students group sentences on a piece of paper
-Use analogies to show the relationship of new material to already acquired knowledge.
Formal Operations: Activities for Adolescents
Students should also be encouraged to explain how they solved a problem
-Students could work in pairs, one is the listener, while the other is the problems solver. The
problem solver works the problem out loud, while the listener checks to see that all steps are
followed and seem logical.
-Teachers could put a few essay questions on a test, which allows students the opportunity to
give more than one final answer.

Teachers should try to teach broad concepts, rather than just facts.
-Use materials and ideas relevant to the students.
-For example: If you were teaching material about the Civil War, the class could join in a
discussion about other issues which have divided our country.
-Use lyrics from a popular song to teach poetry.

REFERENCES
Berk, L.E.(2007). Development through the lifespan: Fourth Edition. Illinios: Pearson
Education, Inc.
Hall, C. E. Nordby, V.J. (1974). A guide to pyschologists and their concepts. San Fransico:
Freeman and Company.
Malott, R.W. Whaley,D.L.(1976). Pyschology. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.

Wadsworth, B.J.(1996). Piagets theory of cognitive and affective development: Fifth Ed. New
York: Logman Publishers, U.S.A.
Littlefield Cook, J., & Cook, G. (2009). Cognitive development: Piagetian and sociocultural
views. in Child development principles and perspectives (2nd ed., pp. 151-183). Boston :
Pearson Education, Inc. (Original

work published 2005)

National down syndrome society - mental health issues and down syndrome. (2011). Retrieved
November 30, 2011, from

National Down Syndrome Society website