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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 common rattle.

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.



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