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Piaget Cognitive Theory
Focus on the
Function and the reaction of the mind to the environment
According to Piaget:
Human being can think and are rational
The thinking ability of a child is strong and inquisitive :
Always interact with their environment consistent to their
understanding and cognitive ability.
Piaget argued that children have schemas.

Piagets Cognitive Development Theory :

SCHEMA is a/an
cognitive structure built to assist individual to understand
their past experiences.
Organized ways of making sense of experience

Childs schemas change with age involved the modification

of intellectual schemas as the child seeks to understand its
Action-based (motor patterns) at first
Later move to a mental (thinking) level

Thus, Schemas are

organized patterns of thought or behavior assist in making
sense of experience
How Cognitive Changes Takes Place?
Through the process of:-
A Child cognitive ability rely a lot on:
How a child response to an event that occurs in their
The effect of these event on their development.
Schemas developed by children must be able to handle new
information and situations. Schema can be built based on
adaptation process
Adaptation is the process of building schemes through direct
interaction with the environment (assimilation/accomodation)
Organization is an internal process of arranging and
linking together schemas to form an interconnected
cognitive system.
According to Piaget, adaptation can be further divided into two
intellectual processes:
Assimilation: Involves interpreting new information in light of
an old (existing) schema. E.g: All 4-legged animals are viewed as
a dog
Accommodation: Process by which old schemas are created or
modified to fit new situations. E.g.: A horse is not a dog
Equilibrium exist when children are not changing very
much and they are in a steady, comfortable cognitive state
Assimilation is used more than accommodation.
Disequilibrium is a state of cognitive discomfort, that occurs
during times of rapid change Accommodation is used
more than assimilation
Schemas reach a true state of equilibrium when they
become part of a broad network of structures that can be
jointly applied to the surrounding world.
Piagets Theory on The Level of Cognitive
Stages of Cognitive development:

1. Sensory Motor (0-2 yrs old)

2. Pre operational (2-7 yrs old)
3. Concrete Operation (7-11 yrs old)
4. Formal Operation (12 and above)

Stage 1:
[0-2 years old]

Stage 1: Sensorimotor (Birth-2 yrs)
Piaget based this stage on his observation of his children.
Building schemes through sensory and motor exploration
Emphasize on Circular Reaction (CR), i.e. infants explore the
environment and build schemas by trying to repeat chance
events caused by their own motor activity.
Reactions are first centered on infants own body later
change to manipulating objects then to produce effects in the

Sensorimotor Substages
Reflexive Schemes Birth 1 Newborn reflexes

Primary Circular 1 4 months Simple motor habits centered

Reactions around own body

Secondary Circular 4 8 months Repeat interesting effects in

Reactions soundings (external)

Coordination of 8 12 Intentional, goal-directed behavior;

Secondary Circular months object permanence

Tertiary Circular 12 18 Explore properties of objects

Reactions months through novel actions

Mental 12 months Internal depictions of objects or

Representations 2 years events; deferred imitation 10
Mental Representations
Internal, mental depictions of
8-12 mths Concept of Object
objects, people, events,
permanence develop information - Can manipulate
Object permanence is the with mind
understanding /realization
Allow deferred imitation
that an object/person
continues to exist when out ability to remember and
of sight.
copy the behavior of
models who are not
immediately present and
make-believe play
Develops about 18 months

Stage 2:
The Preoperational
(2-7 yrs old)

The Preoperational Child
Cognitive Advances
Ages 2 to 7 yrs is a time of great expansion in the use
of symbolic thought, or representational ability, which
first emerges at the end of the sensory-motor stage
o An understanding of symbolism comes only gradually
usually after age
Growing understanding of space, causality, identities,
categorization, and number

Piagets Preoperational Stage
Gains in Mental Representation
Make-believe Play
Dual Representation
Limitations in Thought
Cannot Perform Mental Operations
Egocentrism and Animistic Thinking
Hierarchical Classification

Make-Believe Play Dual Representation
With age, make-believe Viewing a symbolic object as
gradually becomes: both an object and a symbol
More detached from real-
Mastered around age 3
life conditions
Adult teaching can help
Less self-centered
More complex Provide lots of maps, photos,
Sociodramatic Play drawings, make-believe
playthings, etc.
Point out similarities to real
Animistic Thinking
Belief that inanimate
objects have lifelike
Immature Aspects Of Preoperational
Cannot reason logically as to cause and effect
Attribute life to inanimate objects = animism
Failure to understand conservation: two things remain equal if
their appearance changes but nothing is added or taken away
Egocentrism : Center so much on their own point of view
that they cannot take in another's
Conservation: Understanding that the basic properties of
an object are constant even if the object changes shape

Egocentrism refers to a cognitive
view in which a child understands
the world to have only their view
(has great difficulty in
understanding the views of others)

E.g: Piagets three-mountain task.

A preoperational child is unable to
describe the mountains from the
dolls point of view - an indication
of egocentrism
Limits on Conservation
Focus on one
aspect and neglect

Cannot mentally
reverse a set of

Follow-Up Research on Preoperational
Can adjust language to others and take
others perspectives in simple
Egocentric situations.
Animistic thinking comes from
incomplete knowledge of objects.
Can do simplified conservation
Can reason by analogy
Illogical Thought
Use causal expressions

Categorization Everyday knowledge is categorized.

Make-believe helps children tell the

versus reality 19
Stage 3:
Concrete Operational
(7-12 yrs old)

Achievements of a Concrete Operational
Stage Child
Classification/ categorization
Transitive inference
Spatial Reasoning

Understand the concept of conservation
Understand the principleof identityCategorisation/
o Transitive inference - able to recognize a relationship
between two objects by knowing the relationship between
them and a third object.
o Class inclusion - able to see the relationship between a
whole and its parts.
o Children now use inductive reasoning. Starting with
observations about particular members of a class of people,
animals, objects, or events, then draw general conclusions
about the class as a whole.
They understand seriation can arrange objects in a series
based on one or more dimensions, such as weight (lightest to
heaviest) or color
Understanding of spatial relationships/ reasoning better

2 Children's thinking at this stage is so concrete

Limitations of Concrete Operational
Operations work best with objects that are concrete
Problems with abstract ideas
Horizontal dcalage
Master concrete operational tasks gradually (development
within a stage i.e. a step-by step fashion, not all at once)
E.g, they usually grasp conservation problem in a certain
order first: first number then length, mass & liquid
finally area & weight

Attention in Middle Childhood
Attention becomes more:

Key Information Processing
Increase in information-processing capacity
Gains in cognitive inhibition

Both may be related to brain development

Steps in Planning

Postponing action to weigh alternatives

Organizing task materials
Remembering steps of plan
Monitoring how well plan works
Revising if necessary

Development in Memorizing Strategies
Chunking - Breaking the information into manageable chunk.
Rehearsal - Simple repetition
Elaboration when info to be remembered is linked to other
Imagery - Conjured image of an object/related meaning.
Mnemonics - Memory strategy to help remember information
Eg. A rhyme or pairing of to-be-learned information with well
learned information.
Schema activation - Strategy to use with encoding complex info.
relates new information to prior knowledge.
Level of processing -Material that is only skimmed will not be as
deeply processed as material that is studied in detail.
Stage 4:
Formal Operational
Child/Adolescent (12 & above)

Formal Operation
o Aspects Of Cognitive Maturation
o Develop the capacity for abstract thought a new, more
flexible way to manipulate information
o Can use symbols more extensively
o Can understand metaphor and allegory
o Can imagine possibilities and can form and test
hypotheses (hypothetical-deductive reasoning)
o Gradual accumulation of knowledge and expertise in
specific fields
o Higher gain of information-processing capacity;
o Growth in metacognition awareness and monitoring of
one's own mental processes and strategies.
Sociocultural Theory
Lev Vygotsky

Sociocultural Theory
Lev Vygotsky
Vygotsky was called "The Mozart of Psychology.
He was born in 1896- same year as Piaget - in the small
Russian town of Orsha.
Middle-class Jewish family.
He entered into a private all boys secondary school known as a
gymnasiuma secondary school that prepared students for the
In 1913 entered Moscow University through lottery.
In December of 1917, he graduated from Moscow University
with a degree in law.
Theorys Principles and Concepts
The most significant sociocultural tool is
language through language children
learn new things

Knowledge is not transferred passively,

but CHILDREN construct their
knowledge through interaction with
The sociocultural theory:

Did NOT focus on the individual child but on the child as

a product of social interaction, especially with adults
(parents, teachers).
Dyadic Interactions (2 way communication/interaction)
is very important.
A Child's thinking is molded by society such as
parents, teachers, and peers. This leads to peer tutoring
as a strategy in classrooms.
Culture influence our thinking - different cultures
emphasize different things.
Theorys Principles and Concepts

Learning appears twice

First on the social level, and later, on the individual level
ie. Between people, and then within the child.

Development cannot be separated from its social

The context needed for learning is where the learners can
interact with each other and use the new tools ie. the
learning environment must contain the type of people
who would use similar concepts, language, symbols,
etc in a natural way etc.
Important concepts
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) - The difference between
what a child can do independently and what the child can do
with the help from a more knowledgeable person.
Cth: A preschooler can count 1-10but with your help she
can count 10-20 . That is her ZPD for counting.
Scaffolding - a term that sprung out of the concept of the
ZPD. It refers to the help or guidance from an adult or more
competent peer to allow the child to work within the
ZPD. Just as in a building project, the scaffolding is erected to
support the building process, but then removed when it is no
longer needed.
Once learners demonstrate task mastery, the support is
decreased and learners gain responsibility for their own
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) -
Sometimes a child cannot do things (learn) independently, but with
help from someone else, they can learn and do better.
For example, a child able to make different sounds, but cannot talk
yet. With assistance (scaffolding) from an adult who shows pictures and
repeating the names of the pictures, the child will begin to develop
words and start communicating independently without help.
The scaffolding helped them to develop the skills necessary
to communicate on their own.

Language Development
Vygotsky believed language is important tool for child cognitive development.
Three forms of language, as outlined below. .
Social Speech external communication that people use to talk with other
people - typical in children from the age of two.
Private Speech internal communication that a person directs to
themselves. It serves an intellectual function, and it is typical in children
from the age of three.
Silent Inner Speech Vygotsky believed that this is what happens when
private speech diminishes in its audibility until it become a self-regulating
function. He believed this was typical in children from the age of seven.
According to Vygotskys - language and thought begin as separate systems
within a childs brain but later merge in the child at around the age of three,
and the two systems would become interdependent. As the two systems
become interdependent, a childs communication can be internalized to
become private speech to the self, and this internalization of language is an
important component to a childs cognitive development.
Sociocultural theory considers learning as a
semiotic process where participation in socially-
mediated activities is essential.

The theory regards instruction as crucial to

cognitive development in the classroom.
Instruction should be geared to the ZPD that is
beyond the learners actual development level.

Social instruction actually produces new,

elaborate, advanced psychological processes
that are unavailable to the organism working in
QUIZ (take home)

What are the differences between

Piaget and Lev Vygotsky theory??????

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