Vygotsky’s views on cognitive development complements Piaget’s

Topics: Jean Piaget, Theory of cognitive development, Developmental psychology / Pages: 27 (6618 words) / Published: Jan 19th, 2014
Methods and approaches to teaching have been greatly influenced by the research of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. Both have contributed to the field of education by offering explanations for children's cognitive learning styles and abilities. This essay will discuss how rather than being an alternative, Vygotsky’s views on cognitive development complements Piaget’s. Initially, the term cognitive will be defined before having a look at Piaget’s stages of cognitive development and subsequently analyzing how Vygotsky’s views complement Piaget’s.
Flanagan (1996:72) states that, ‘Cognitive development is the acquisition of mental process involved in thinking and mental activity, such as attention, memory and problem solving.’ It is therefore a totality of mental processes.
Piaget and Vygotsky were both influential in forming a more scientific approach to analyzing the cognitive development process of the child active construction of knowledge. While Piaget and Vygotsky may differ on how they view cognitive development in children, both offer educators good suggestions on how to teach certain material in a developmentally appropriate manner.
Both Piaget and Vygotsky agreed that children's cognitive development took place in stages. (Jarvis, Chandler 2001 P.149). However they were distinguished by different styles of thinking. Piaget was the first to reveal that children reason and think differently at different periods in their lives. He believed that all children progress through four different and very distinct stages of cognitive development. This theory is known as Piaget’s Stage Theory because it deals with four stages of development, which are sensori-motor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational (Ginsburg, Opper,1979:26).

In the first stage sensori-motor, which occurs from birth to the age of two is the time in an infant’s life when the child basically deals with what is presented to him. They learn about physical objects and are concerned



References: Flannagan, C. (1999) Applying Child Psychology to Early Child Development. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes Ltd. Ginsbury, H and Opper, S. (1979) Piaget’s Theory of Intellectual Development. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall Inc. Hayes, N. (1999) A access to Psychology. London: Honder and Stoughton Educational. Hayes, N. (1991) Psychology. London :British Psychological Society. Jarvis, M and Chadler, E. (2001) Angles o Psychology. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes Ltd. Santrock, J.W. (1994) Child Development. Dubuque: Brown and Benchmark Publishers. Thomson, H and Meggist, C. (1997) Human Growth and Development. Abingdom: Book point Ltd. Woolfolk, Anita. (2004). Educational Psychology. (9th ed). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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