Piaget's Theory of Learning and Cognitive Development - Part I
By Andrew Loh
Children have a special way of developing their thinking process.
The development of thinking process in children makes a fascinating
study. Nature always provides a way with which small children
including infants react to the presence of objects around them. For
example, children possess a certain amount of skills in relation to
their thinking ability. Most of these skills are very simple ones
and they usually are those that relate to sensory and motor skills
that provide a direction in which children can explore the immediate
environment. Later, they will use the inputs gained to acquire
complicated exploratory skills and knowledge. Also called schemas,
these skills are the most basic skills in your children's life.
Piaget was a great exponent of teaching how children will find a way
to develop and expand their learning process, especially the
cognitive development. He professed a series of learning methods
that will help your child to master different learning techniques.
According to Piaget, there are many types of learning processes your
child will learn and master during the developmental process.
You can use many examples to explain these phenomena. Just consider
the following scenarios. An infant or a young child can easily grab
a colorful toy or teething equipment and later thrust it into the
mouth. Most probably, a colorful and soft rattle is the first object
that your child will hold and thrust in her or his mouth. In fact,
this learning response will be the first of a series of practical
experiments that your child will perfect in the due course of time.
By the age three or four, an infant will be able to transfer this
skill to hold, grab and thrust different objects other than the
Tip: This process of assimilation helps the infant
to assimilate a new type of object into the old system of learning.
However, the process of assimilation may not work for all scenarios.
Your infant may come across a new object that is bigger and heavier
than the previous one. Let us assume that your child will come
across a rubber ball. Your child will try to hold the ball and
thrust it into his or her mouth. However, this experiment is bound
to fail and your child will try best his or her ability to thrust it
into the mouth. In the end, your child will try to accommodate to
the reality and will soon try another schema or experiment to handle
the object. This new schema could be anything; it could be a simple
squeezing and drooling action and this would eventually form an
appropriate action for the new method. Piaget called this new schema
as accommodation that will help your child to accommodate the
previous experience to a new object.
Tip: Piaget also expressed that both assimilation
and accommodation form two sides of the same coin, which is
the process of adaptation. In fact, Piaget called this the
actual process of learning. He saw this process as a natural action
of innate learning that helps children to acquire new skills and new
set of knowledge.
Furthermore, Piaget also believed that both assimilation and
accommodation work in tandem and they help your children to
understand the world around them. In essence, both these entities
direct their actions as a balancing act between the mind and the
immediate environment. Piaget called this as a state of
equilibrium and this helps the children to create a balanced
perspective of the world around them.
Piaget's stages of intellectual development in children relate to
significant developments in the brain structure. In fact, the
developmental stags in the child's brain keep shifting from one
paradigm to the other with a progressive development between two
successive paradigms. The human brain tends to develop only after
the stage of adolescence and in the case male children, during the
early adulthood. Children take their own time to develop their
intellect, thinking process and IQ.
Parents always believe that their children should think and act like
adults even though they are not capable of acting so. You should
know what you want to expect from your child as they keep
developing. It is also important to have realistic expectations from
your child. Piaget was the first child expert who related children's
reaction to their immediate surroundings and how they adapt to the
shifting scenarios to develop their cognition and thinking. Using
Piaget's wonderful yet revolutionary learning theory will help you
child develop cognition and thinking in a remarkably different way.
Continue to read
Piaget's Theory of Learning and Cognitive Development - Part II here.