Theory

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05/11/2013
Piaget's learning theory is based on stages that children go through in order to learn. In each stage, the learning process is different and a little more complex. Piaget believed that children should play, experiment and reason in order to learn. He believed that humans couldn't be given information that they immediately understand. Humans have to construct their own knowledge and they do this through experimentation. Experience enables children to create schemes, which are mental models and then the schemes may be altered through assimilation, accommodation and equilibrium. "Assimilation is the process of taking in, of absorbing some event or experience to some scheme" (Bee 67). Accommodation is when one changes the scheme as a result of new information and equilibrium is when one strives for and reaches a balance of the information collected. As children experiment with new things, they are able to encode it into their brains by mentally categorizing it according to information they have previously processed. In a classroom, a teacher should base instructional delivery, classroom management and assessments on schemes that the students already know.

Based on the learning theory of Piaget, the instructional delivery in say a fifth grade classroom should be mostly kinesthetic. Children should be given assignments that are hands on, something that they can physically do and experiment with. Students should be able to see and touch the project at hand. A good example of this is a project that teaches density. Students will be given a glass of water and an egg. They will have to predict if the egg will float or not in order to determine which is denser.

By physically acting the experiment out, instead of just reading about it in a book, students will understand and process the information so that they retain it and learn from it. Student already have knowledge of water and what happens to it when something is placed inside it. It is this prior...
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