Education plays a significant role in supporting and influencing the healthy development of children. However, teaching is more than just knowing what to teach. Professional teachers must also understand how to teach their students. Therefore, in order to create an effective classroom environment which caters for the diversity of students and their various developmental levels and abilities, teachers are urged to apply a variety of teaching and learning theories (Marsh, 2008 Ch12, p163). Piaget and Vygotsky presented theories on cognitive and social development which suggested that children often construct their own learning. Bronfenbrenner and Pavlov presented theories relating to behaviour and psychosocial development. Professional teaching requires consideration and understanding of both cognitive and behavioural theories in order to create successful learning opportunities.
Piaget and Vygotsky shared the view that children actively construct their own learning outcomes (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, Ch2, p49). However, they each differed in their concept of how constructivism occurs. Piaget believed that social interaction and experience with the physical environment creates situations for individuals to experience disequilibrium of existing understanding, (cognitive and sociocognitive conflict). Lack of equilibrium encourages the learner to assimilate and/or accommodate existing mental schemes which ultimately leads to a higher level of cognition (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, Ch2, pp34-35). Vygotsky, on the other hand, believed that social interaction, cultural influences, and language (as the most important mediator), are directly responsible for influencing and fostering the construction of knowledge thereby generating cognitive growth (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2010 Ch6, p211).
Piaget’ theory of intellectual development is based upon the belief that due to biological and
References: Cherry, K. (2011). Psychology Theories: Introduction to Classical Conditioning. About.com. Retrieved 29th June from http://psychology.about.com/od/behavioralpsychology/a/classcond.htm Clements, D. & Battista, M. (1990). Constructivist learning and teaching: The Arithmetic Teacher. Retrieved from http://edocs.library.curtin.edu.au/eres_display.cgi?url=DC60192192.pdf&copyright=1 Culcatta, R (2011). Teaching and Learning: Educational Psychology: Behaviourism: Behaviourist Learning Theory. Innovative Learning.com. Retrieved 20th June 2011 from http://www.innovativelearning.com/teaching/behaviorism.html Eggen, P. and Kauchak, D. (2010). Educational Psychology: Windows On Classrooms. (8th Ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc. Marsh, C. (2008). Becoming a teacher (4th Ed). Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education Australia McDevitt, T. & Ormrod, J. (2010). Child development and education. (4th Ed) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc. Peterson, C. (2004). Looking forward through childhood and adolescence: Developmental Psychology. Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education Australia