Theories of Development Piaget and Vygotsky Edwin D. Bell Winston-Salem State University
Topics • Aspects/issues of development • Piaget • Vygotsky
Human Development • Refers to how and why people grow and adapt, and change over the course of their lifetimes. • One of the first requirements of effective teaching is that teachers understand how students think and how they view the world.
Issues of Development • Nature vs nurture – is development predetermined at birth, by heredity and biological factors, or is it affected by experience and other environmental factors. • Continuous and discontinuous theories – how change occurs.
Piaget’s Basic Assumptions • Children are active and motivated learners, i.e., they naturally curious about their world (Ormrod, 2008). • Children construct knowledge from their experiences (constructivism) • Interactions with the physical and social environment is critical for cognitive growth (Ormrod, 2008)
Piaget Theory of Cognitive Development • Constructivism • Schemes (schemata) – patterns of behavior and thinking. • Adaptation/learning is the process of adjusting schemes to the environment by means of assimilation and accommodation Ormrod, 2008, Slavin, 2003).
Assimilation • Is the process of understanding a new object or event in terms an existing schema Ormrod, 2008)
Accommodation • Is modifying an existing scheme in light of new information, or • Creating a a new scheme (Ormrod, 2008)
Equilibration • Situations that cannot be handled by existing schemes produce a disequilibrium. Restoring balance is called equilibration. According to Piaget learning depends on this process (Slavin, 2003).
Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development • Sensorimotor – Birth to 2 years • Preoperational – 2 – 7 years • Concrete operational – 7 –11 years • Formal operations – 11 years to adulthood (Slavin, 2003)
Issues of Piaget’s Stages of Development • reflexes – inborn, automatic responses to stimuli. • object permanence – the fact that an object exists even if it is out of sight. • Conservation – the concept that certain properties of an object remain the same regardless of changes in other properties (Slavin, 2003)
Vgotsky’s View of Cognitive Development • It is based on two key ideas: • Intellectual development can only be understood in terms of a child’s historical and cultural context. • Development depends on the sign systems that individuals have available to them; e.g., the culture’s language, writing system, or counting system (Slavin, 2003).
Vygotsky’s Basic Assumptions • Adults convey to children through conversation how their culture interpret and responds to the world. • Every culture transmits physical and cognitive tools for daily living. • Thought and language become increasing interdependent in the first years of life (Ormrod, 2008).
Vygotsky’s Basic Assumptions (continued) • Complex mental processes begin as social activities, children transform the processes that they use in social activities into their own internal mental activities (Internalization). • A child can perform more challenging activities when they have assistance from a more competent person (Ormrod, 2008).
Similarities and Differences to Piaget • In contrast to Piaget Vgotsky believed that cognitive development is strongly linked to the input that children receive from others. • Similar to Piaget, Vgotsky that the development of the sign system was invariant for all children (Slavin, 2003)
How Development Works • Vgotsky’s theory suggests that learning precedes development … learning involves the acquisition of signs by means of instruction and information from others. Development involves the child’s internalizing these signs so as to be able to think and solve problems without the help of others. … self-regulation (Slavin, 2003, p. 44)
Private Speech • Turns shared knowledge into personal knowledge • You can observe children talking to themselves • Later that private speech become silent and can be very useful in learning complex tasks (Slavin, 2003)
Zone of Proximal Development • This is where learning occurs • Tasks that children cannot accomplish by themselves, but could do with the help of adults or peers (Slavin, 2003)
Scaffolding • “Typically, scaffolding means providing a child with a great deal of support during the early stages of learning and then diminishing support and having the child take on increasing responsibility …( Slavin, 2003, pp. 45-46)
Implications of Vygotsky • Cooperative Learning among groups of students with differing levels of ability • Emphasis on students taking more and more responsibility for their own learning
References Ormrod, J. E. (2008). Educational Psychology: Developing Learners, 6th. Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson. Merrill, Prentice-Hall. Slavin, R. (2003). Educational Psychology: Theory and Practice and Practice, 7th. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.