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Describe two theories of cognitive development and evaluate these in terms of their application to education

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Introduction

Describe two theories of cognitive development and evaluate these in terms of their application to education Piaget's theory was initially split into three stages, sensorimotor, concrete and formal stages. However this has now changed and another stage was inserted between the sensorimotor and the concrete stages. This stage is called the pre-operational (Francois, 2000). With Piaget's theory children advance onto the next stage as they increase in age and not with development. The child process' all information in a methodical way, the baby is born with an innate schema to suckle from a bottle or breast, which it assimilates. At this point, the baby feels equilibrium. Then the baby experiences a new concept, which it cannot assimilate into its schema. This causes dis-equilibrium. Therefore, the baby has to adapt its original schema, then it can accommodate the new information, which it then assimilates into the new schema. This process happens in all stages. The four stages are described as follows-: The first stage is the Sensorimotor Stage. ...read more.

Middle

They are capable of abstract, logical thinking and reasoning. Piaget believes that children cannot be taught, and that the only way that they will learn is through play and physical contact with different objects, problems and situations. Piaget calls this process 'Discovery Learning', and the job of the teacher in this process is to set the problem up and cause a state of dis-equilibrium. Therefore, the child can adapt its schema and advance to the next stage. In addition, the teacher can facilitate the child while it is attempting the problem, and encourage the child to ask questions about what they are doing. Piaget states that the child should be given problems that are only applicable to the child's cognitive stage and not too advanced or problems the child has already assimilated, this is called 'Readiness'. Jerome Bruner believed that language (in the scaffolding process) was very important, and without language, the child would be unable to advance. He also stress' that adult /knowledgeable peers active involvement is essential, along with the interaction with the environment. ...read more.

Conclusion

These patterns, the child learns, happen to be called prime. It is easy for the child to go from this step to the recognition that a multiple table, so called, is a record sheet of quantities in completed multiple rows and columns. Here is factoring, multiplication and primes in a construction that can be visualised.' Evaluation Piaget's theory and Bruners are similar in many ways. They have the same belief that cognitive development is done through stages, although Bruner says there should be no age restraints. They both believe that the best and easiest way for a child to learn is through self-discovery, and through the method the information is retrieved in greater depth also. However, were Piaget may be criticised is in the age restraining and the size of the age groups. He also does not allow for children advancing at different speeds and believes language is used just as an aid to development, were as Bruner says its essential to development. Piaget also ignores the importance of social relationships, whereas Bruner says that interaction within the environment is essential within the process of cognitive development. ...read more.

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