Constructivst vs Behaviorist

Topics: Jean Piaget, Theory of cognitive development, Developmental psychology Pages: 7 (2353 words) Published: February 9, 2013
Jean Piaget (August 9, 1896 – 16 September 1980) was a French-speaking Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children. He was the eldest son of Arthur Piaget (Swiss) and Rebecca Jackson (French). His theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called "genetic epistemology". Piaget placed great importance on the education of children. As the Director of the International Bureau of Education, he declared in 1934 that "only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual." Jean Piaget is "the great pioneer of the constructivist theory of knowing." Constructivism is basically a theory -- based on observation and scientific study -- about how people learn. It says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. When we encounter something new, we have to reconcile it with our previous ideas and experience, maybe changing what we believe, or maybe discarding the new information as irrelevant. In any case, we are active creators of our own knowledge. Behaviourism is an approach to knowledge discovered by John Watson in the early 20th century. This theory states that our behaviour is separate from the way our mind operates, therefore, learning is acquired through observation and reinforcement. Behaviourist learning theory is also referred to as direct instruction. Burrus Frederic "B. F." Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990) was an American psychologist, behaviourist, author, inventor, and social philosopher. B. F. Skinner’s entire system is based on operant conditioning.  Lev Vygotsky  is a psychologist and constructivist who proposed that children learn through interactions with their surrounding culture. This theory is known as the socio-cultural perspective, it states that the cognitive development of children and adolescents is enhanced when they work in their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD for short). To reach the ZPD, children need the help of adults or more competent individuals to support or scaffold them as they are learning new things (Daniel, 2001). The Information Processing model is another way of examining and understanding how children develop cognitively. This model, developed in the 1960's and 1970's, conceptualizes children's mental processes through the metaphor of a computer processing, encoding, storing, and decoding data (Donaldson, 1984).

The constructivist theory is concerned with thinking about knowing. Communication being a two way process (someone speaking another listening). Constructivism is a theory which entails communication in the best possible form. Constructivism according to John Dewey is the belief that people actively learn from their environment by reflecting on the experiences around them (Anderson, 1990). This theory posits that each learner constructs knowledge independently and socially. Greek philosopher Plato believes knowledge is out there but this theory argues that knowledge is merely an elucidation of reality and not a true depiction of it (Anderson, 1990). Jean Piaget is a constructivist theorist who defines several stages through which a child passes, each new stage representing an improvement in reasoning in his book. Piaget argues that the four stages are; the sensor-motor period (the first two years of a child’s life); the pre-operational stage (three to seven years of age); the concrete operational (four to eight to twelve years of age); and the period of formal operations (twelve to fifteen years of age). At the sensor-motor period, an infant’s mental and cognitive attributes develop from birth until the manifestation of language. This stage is illustrated by the progressive attainment of object durability in which the child becomes able to find objects after they have been relocated, even if the objects have...
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