Critique Paper on Cognitive Theory in Human Development

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The theory chosen by the group to critique is the Cognitive development and learning theory. Cognitive development is concerned with the internal processes involved in making sense of the environment, and deciding which action might be appropriate. It is associated with acquiring knowledge and it involves attention, learning, memory, perception, language, problem solving, reasoning, and thinking. The critique looked at is Constructivism, the stages of development, including their strengths and weaknesses, and other perspectives on cognitive development. Jean Piaget was a philosopher from Switzerland. He was also a natural scientist that was famous for the work that he did in studying cognitive development and learning theories encompassed in his view of "genetic epistemology". He was primarily interested in how knowledge developed in human organisms. Cognitive structuring of the knowledge was fundamental in his theory. Piaget's theory of Constructivism argues that people produce knowledge and form meaning based upon their experiences. Piaget's theory covered learning theories, teaching methods, and education reform. Two of the key components which create the construction of an individual’s new knowledge are accommodation and assimilation. Assimilating causes an individual to incorporate new experiences into the old experiences. This causes the individual to develop new outlooks, rethink what were once misunderstandings, and evaluate what is important, ultimately altering their perceptions. Accommodation, on the other hand, is reframing the world and new experiences into the mental capacity already present. Individuals conceive a particular fashion in which the world operates. When things do not operate within that context, they must accommodate and reframing the expectations with the outcomes.

From a Piagetian viewpoint, a child’s thinking develops as gradual growth of knowledge and intellectual skills towards a final stage of formal, logical thinking. Thoroughly, according to his notion of discrete stages and the idea that children cannot do certain things if they have not yet “reached” that stage should be considered as well. For, children cannot achieve to perform some cognitive or physical actions until maturation. Consequently, learning materials and activities should involve the appropriate level of motor or mental operations for a child of given age; asking students to perform tasks that are beyond their current cognitive capabilities should be avoided. Piaget's theory of Constructivism addresses how learning actually occurs, not focusing on what influences learning. The role of teachers is very important. Instead of giving a lecture the teachers in this theory function as facilitators whose role is to aid the student when it comes to their own understanding. This takes away focus from the teacher and lecture and puts it upon the student and their learning. The child is seen as an active learner and thinker, as a sense maker who is constructing his own knowledge by thriving with objects and ideas. The resources and lesson plans that must be initiated for this learning theory take a very different approach toward traditional learning as well. Instead of telling, the teacher must begin asking. Instead of answering questions that only align with their curriculum, the facilitator in this case must make it so that the student comes to the conclusions on their own instead of being told. Also, teachers are continually in conversation with the students, creating the learning experience that is open to new directions depending upon the needs of the student as the learning progresses. Teachers following Piaget's theory of Constructivism must challenge the student by making them effective critical thinkers and not being merely a "teacher" but also a mentor, a consultant, and a coach.

Some strategies for teacher include having students working together and aiding to answer one another's questions. Another...