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Psychology Essay

1697 words - 7 pages

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Name: Trymore Maposa
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Reg No: R09135w
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Level: 4.1(Conventional)
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Module: African Psychology (PSY 404)
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Lecturer: Mr. Mtemeri ...view middle of the document...

He did this through genetic epistemology which is the study of cognitive development in children. According to Cole (2005), there are four major cognitive stages in a child’s cognitive development: sensorimotor, preoperations, concrete operations and formal operations. A child’s thought process is different from other developmental stages and each of the stages has its own importance. Piaget believed that a child could not skip a stage because each one is necessary in the process of cognitive development. In Piaget’s research, these four stages are rather concrete but many current researchers do not completely agree with the exactitude and universality of these stages.

Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory of cognitive development however proposed that children’s cognitive development is a function of their interaction with more skilled and sophisticated partners such as parents, teachers and older children. The child and his partners solve problems in tandem and through assistance the child learns to function intellectually on her own according to Cole, (2005). Vygotsky held that babies are born with innate abilities.

Piaget and Vygotsky were concerned with a common unit of analysis; namely, the processes of thinking of a subject located in society and culture. They proceeded from a common ontological assumption that knowledge is actively constructed and that it is the product of the actions of an individual rather than an imposition by society and culture. Individual activity as a central mechanism that accounts for knowledge was explained by Piaget through the concept of equilibration while Vygotsky used the concept of internalization to account for the same process. Both processes suggest adaptation through transformation of self.

According to Santrock, (2004) Piaget and Vygotsky were two prominent scholars of cognitive development theories. Even with two very different backgrounds, both scholars took a constructivist approach to their research in cognitive development as they believed, “children must construct their own understandings of the world in which they live”

Both Piaget and Vygotsky theories can be incorporated in the classroom. Both theorists take a constructivist point of view and also believe that students are not passive in their knowledge according to Santrock, (2004). Teachers are important organizers, stimulators, guides, and supporters of learning. Piaget’s theory suggests that students need a curriculum that supports their cognitive development by learning concepts and logical steps and that children are only capable of learning specific material in specific stages of cognitive development. Vygotsky would suggest more peer and cultural interactions in the classroom. He also believes that knowledgeable adults can help children learn even if they are not at the specific stage as Piaget suggests according to Wretch, (1991). It is possible that while children are learning about concepts and logic, they can also...

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