There are multiple theories that talks about cognitive development. Although they are similar when it comes to involving cognitive development, they are very different. The three theories that I will be comparing and contrasting are Piaget’s, Vygotsky’s, and the new processing theory. Jean Piaget argued that a child develops due to his or her nature of being an active learner. Piaget’s theory believed that children develop through four distinct stages. Those four stages are Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational, and Formal Operational. Piaget also believed that children don’t think like adults and children construct knowledge through interaction with the environment.
The Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development was created by Lev Vygotsky. He believed that learning and development were tied to social and cultural interaction. Vygotsky’s also “believed that children construct knowledge and do not passively reproduce what is presented to them” (Davidson & Davidson, 1994). The information processing theory is a psychological theory about how we process and learn information. When it comes to Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories they both believed that children’s cognitive abilities develop in a sequence and particular abilities develop at certain stages.
In contrast, Piaget thought that learning happens after development and Vygotsky believed that it took place before development can occur. Piaget’s theory has 4 evident phases and Vygotsky’s assumed that there were none. Lastly, Vygotsky believed that development can’t be detached from social context unlike Piaget. All three theories believe that exposure to things influence our norms, what we value, and what we learn. The theory that I believe closely resembles the way I think children grow and develop cognitively would be the Vygotsky’s theory. I believe that children imitate what they see around them easily. The environment and people around us is what influence our daily lives. In order to survive we depend on the input of others which help us think, communicate, and solve problems.
Davidson, J. (Director), & Davidson, F. (Producer). (1994). Vygotsky’s Developmental Theory: An Introduction [Video file]. Davidson Films. Retrieved from Academic Video Online: Premium database.
Lev Vygotsky theory was concept of proximal development which is the distance between the actual development level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaborations. He believes where that students needed the assistance of teachers to move past these zones, in doing so educators would need to focus on three components. The presence of someone with knowledge and skills beyond that of the learner (a more knowledgeable other). Social interactions with a skillful tutor that allow the learner to observe and practice their skills. Scaffolding, or supportive activities provided by the educator, or more competent peer, to support the student as he or she is led through the ZPD. Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development suggest that children move through four stages of mental development throughout their lifetime. His theory focuses not only how children gain their knowledge but more so on understanding the nature of natural intelligence. Piaget believed that children take an active role in the learning process, acting much like little scientists as they perform experiments, make observations, and learn about the world. As kids interact with the world around them, they continually add new knowledge, build upon existing knowledge, and adapt previously held ideas to accommodate new information. From my understanding the basis of both of these theories differ completely, however both parties suggest that children need to explore the world to find out things for themselves. That social interactions in needed in the world to help find new ideas, and push children cognitive development. I believe that my personal idea is more aligned with Jean theory, that children need to be their own scientist. Meaning the need to explore the world and find out what works for them and does not work for them, they also need to find out how they will solve problem in their life, that will fight their own personality.
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