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Piaget's Theories Essay

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The summary of Piaget’s theories includes stages of learning through cognitive development. The cognitive perspective was revolutionized by Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist. Piaget proposed “that all people pass in a fixed sequence through a series of universal stages of cognitive development”. (Feldman, 2008, p. 20)

Piaget’s theory outlined four stages of development. Piaget’s Four Stages of Learning The four stages of learning are sensorimotor, birth to 2 years old, preoperational, ages 2 to 4, concrete operations, ages 7 to 11, and formal operations, ages 11 to 15.

Campbell, 1976, p. 1) Piaget’s four stage learning model demonstrates how the mind processes new information encountered at different ages. The child does not move from one stage to the next until it has reached physical maturation and has experienced relevant situations. (Feldman, 2008, p. 151) In the sensorimotor stage the infant learns through interaction with the environment, which could include mouthing and touching items to build an understanding of oneself at this stage of cognitive development.

The infant is unable to speak therefore learns through assimilation.

(Campbell, 1976, p. 1) Catherine P. Cook-Cottone used Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development to analyze student counseling sessions. In her article “Using Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development to Understand the Construction of Healing Narratives” she identifies the stages of learning of students in sessions. Students in the sensorimotor stage “may enter the counseling situation with a very limited ability to conceptualize and describe their presenting problems”. Cook-Cottone, Fall 2004, Volume 7, p. 182) In the pre-operational stage conceptualizing abstractly is not possible.

There needs to be concrete physical situations for the child to understand there is a difference. The child needs to see objects in simple ways with important features setting it apart from other objects. (Feldman, 2008, p. 151) In “Using Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development to Understand the Construction of Healing Narratives” there is a sequence of learning for the students in therapy who work through resolving their problems. Cook-Cottone, Fall 2004, Volume 7) In pre-operational stage students are able to label the areas of concerns.

“As students gain therapueutic experience with concepts or issues, they begin to develop increasingly organized schemata for the problem-related experences”. (Cook-Cottone, Fall 2004, Volume 7, p. 182) Concrete operations stage the child begins to think abstractly and is able to conceptualize. (Feldman, 2008, p. 151) The child creates logical explanations for the physical experience it is relating to or sees. Catherine P. Cook-Cotton states “Once labels are consistently used in the counseling situation, students narratives become increasing more focused on making many connections among experiences. (Cook-Cottone, Fall 2004, Volume 7, p. 183)

The fourth and final learning stage is formal operations. This stage is the final learning phase for an individual. There is no longer a need for concrete objects to reason, and hypothesis begins. (Campbell, 1976) In “Using Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development to Understand the Construction of Healing Narratives” the students “.. ave achieved a formal integration of the problem-specific content, they begin to make a sophisticated associations among more abstract ideas in addtion to being able to make associations amoung concrete experiences”. (Cook-Cottone, Fall 2004, Volume 7, p. 183) Piaget’s Theory vs. B. F. Skinner Operant Theory With “operant conditioning, formulated and championed by psychologist B. F. Skinner, individuals learn to act deliberately on their environments in order to bring about desired consequences”. (Feldman, 2008, p. 19)

Cognitive Development operates on the individual assessing, learning and developing through inner self and their experience with the environment. With operant conditioning the individual learns by reinforcing a behavior through a series of rewards or consequences to avoid the behavior. In other words, positive or negative consequences determine the learning, and ultimate behavioral outcome. Conclusion Piaget’s theory of cognitive development revolutionized the way learning was observed. The focus turned to how an individual learns from within instead of observing the environment and what the individual learns from their surroundings.

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Piaget's Theories. (2016, Dec 09). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/piagets-theories-essay

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