Piaget in the classroom
Describe 4 educational beliefs/practices that are grounded by the development ideas presented by Piaget.
The educational implications of Piaget’s theory are closely tied to the concept of intelligence as the dynamic and emerging ability to adapt to the environment with ever increasing competence (Piaget, 1963). According to the development ideas presented by Piaget’s theory, cognitive structures are patterns of physical and mental action that underlie specific acts of intelligence and correspond to changes in child development. A review of the assumptions and ideas grounded in his theory and investigation into research conducted since will illustrate applications of his developmental ideas on modern educational practice. Based upon his detailed observational studies, Piaget theorized that early cognitive development involved processes based upon actions and later progresses into changes in mental operations. ‘Piaget viewed cognitive development as a progressive reorganization of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience’ (McLeod, 2009). Some of the key concepts of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development include schemas which describe both the mental and physical actions involved in understanding and knowing, schemas include both a category of knowledge and the process of obtaining that knowledge. As experiences happen, this new information is used to modify, add, or to change previously existing schemas. The process of taking in new information into our previously existing schemas is known as assimilation.* Accommodation involves altering or changing our existing schemas in light of new information. New schemas may also be developed during this process. These key concepts are an essential part of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development which he concluded occurred in four stages. The first of these stages is the sensory-motor stage which occurs in children from