As an 11-year old boy entering his first year of middle school, Gregory Heffley in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid finds himself in the transition between childhood and adulthood. Unsure of his role in his friendships, school, and his family, Greg develops significantly in the film.
In Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development, an 11 year old likely is still largely in the concrete operational stage while slowly developing into the formal operational stage. In this stage, children become more logical, flexible, and organized. Newly formed cognitive maps allow them to relate separate pieces of information at once. Maps become more organized and drawn to scale as children give clearer instruction and direction. During Halloween, Greg creates a detailed map explaining the route he and his friend Rowley would take. His map was so precise that his brother could easily read it. Greg’s behavior throughout the film is not consistent. In fact, his development is on time because around age 11, adolescents begin to enter the formal operational stage. Here, they develop the ability for abstract, systematic thinking. Hypothetic-deductive reasoning allows them to predict consequences and use propositional thought to evaluate thoughts and understand logic without real-world examples. Greg originally used inductive logic and was unable to use his principles to predict outcomes. He didn’t think about how ignoring Rowley’s feelings, threatening older kids, or how terrorizing children would end. In the end, his develops and begins using deductive logic. He is finally able to use a general principle to guide his actions. His belief in friendship over popularity leads him to falsely admit he ate the playground cheese, causing his schoolmates to run. Through internal questioning and reflection, Greg was able to come up with a new logical rule. One particularly important factor in the development of cognitive thought is schooling. As a sixth grader, he has been exposed to complex problems...
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