Blogs

An outline of Piaget’s four stages of development in concept formation

  • Introduction

    A greater percentage of teachers' activities in the class depends on the cognitive abilities of the students; teachers devote most of their time towards ensuring that the students have mentally understood the new information passed to them. In order to enhance this student – teacher understanding, Jean Piaget, a child psychologist, has described four stages of cognitive development and related them to a learner's ability to understand and assimilate new information. These four stages include:

    1. Sensorimotor (from birth to about age 2)

    During this stage, the child learns about himself and his environment through motor and reflex actions. Thought derives from sensation and movement. The child learns that he is separate from his environment and that aspects of his environment - his parents or favourite toys - continue to exist even though they may be outside the reach of his senses. Teaching a child at this stage should be geared to the sensorimotor system. You can modify behaviour by using the senses: a frown, a stern or soothing voice -- all serve as appropriate techniques. Therefore, intelligence is demonstrated through motor activity without the use of symbols. Knowledge of the world is limited (but developing) because it's based on physical interactions/experiences. Children acquire object permanence at about 7 months of age (memory). Physical development (mobility) allows the child to begin developing new intellectual abilities. Some symbolic (language) abilities are developed at the end of this stage.

    Related: The imperative of parental participation in education

    2. Preoperational (begins about the time the child starts to talk to about age 7)

    Applying his new knowledge of the language, the child begins to use symbols to represent objects. Early in this stage he also personifies objects. He is now better able to think about things and events that are not immediately present. Oriented to the present, the child has difficulty conceptualizing time. His thinking is influenced by fantasy - the way he would like things to be - and he assumes that others see situations from his viewpoint. He takes in information and then changes it in his mind to fit his ideas. Teaching must take into account the child's vivid fantasies and undeveloped sense of time. Using neutral words, outlines and equipment a child can experience an active role in learning. So, intelligence is demonstrated through the use of symbols; language use matures, and memory and imagination are developed, but thinking is done in a non-logical, non-reversible manner. Egocentric thinking predominates.

    3. Concrete (about first grade to early adolescence)

    During this stage, accommodation increases. The child develops abilities to think abstractly and to make rational judgements about concrete or observable phenomena, which in the past he needed to manipulate physically to understand. In teaching this child, giving him the opportunity to ask questions and to explain things back to the teacher allows him to mentally manipulate information. Therefore, in this stage (characterized by 7 types of conservation: number, length, liquid, mass, weight, area, volume), intelligence is demonstrated through logical and systematic manipulation of symbols related to concrete objects. Operational thinking develops (mental actions that are reversible). Egocentric thought diminishes.

    4. Formal Operations (adolescence and adulthood)

    This stage brings cognition to its final form. The learner no longer requires concrete objects to make rational judgements. At this point, he is capable of hypothetical and deductive reasoning. Teaching for the adolescent may be wide-ranging because he will be able to consider many possibilities from several perspectives.  In this stage, intelligence is demonstrated through the logical use of symbols related to abstract concepts. Early in the period, there is a return to egocentric thought. Only 35% of high school graduates in industrialized countries obtain formal operations; many people do not think formally during adulthood.

    Conclusion

    In summary, it can be said that many pre-school and primary programs are modelled on Piaget's theory, which, as stated previously, provides part of the foundation for constructivist learning. Discovery learning and supporting the developing interests of the child are two primary instructional techniques. It is recommended that parents and teachers challenge the child's abilities, but NOT present materials or information that is too far beyond the child's level. It is also recommended that teachers use a wide variety of concrete experiences to help the child learn (e.g., use of manipulatives, working in groups to get experience seeing from another's perspective, field trips, etc).

    Bibliography

    Slavin, R.E. (2008) Educational Psychology: Theory and Practice. London: Allyn & Bacon

    Ormrod, J.E. (2010) Educational Psychology: Developing Learners. Canada: Pearson Education Retrieved on 18th March 2011

    Educational Psychology Interactive: Cognitive Development Retrieved on 23rd  March 2011

    Related: Why every child should have preschool education

No Stickers to Show

X

Recent Blogs

  • Bachelors and masters scholarships at Bocconi University

    Posted Oct 10

    Bocconi University is a private university in Milan, Italy. Bocconi provides undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate education in the fields of economics, management, finance, law, political science, and public administration. SDA Bocconi, the university's business sc...

  • Radboud University offers masters scholarships

    Posted Oct 10

    Radboud University is a public university with a strong focus on research located in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. It was established on 17 October 1923 and is situated in the oldest city of the Netherlands. The RU has seven faculties and enrolls over 22,000 students. The...

  • Reasons why Information Systems should be integrated into every business

    Posted Oct 8

    Is it any wonder that in today’s world knowledge of computers/technologies is becoming so invaluable? It is evidently clear that almost all businesses are either having a dot com address, meaning are having a website of their own, or they are enjoying/relying on s...

  • Bachelors and masters scholarships are being offered at the University of Bristol

    Posted Oct 5

    The University of Bristol is a red brick research university in Bristol, England. It received its royal charter in 1909, although it can trace its roots to a Merchant Venturers' school founded in 1595 and University College, Bristol, which had been in existence since 18...

View All

Random Blogs

  • Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize in literature 2016

    Posted October 13, 2016

    The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016 is awarded to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, artist and writer. According to the guardian news, he is th...

  • Why you should not be afraid of a sack letter

    Posted September 8, 2018

    “Getting fired hurts, regardless of the circumstances. But as with most everything in life, it can be an opportunity. You can't un-fire yourself, but you can choose your experience of being fired. You can find the blessings in the beast.” - Laura Simms ...

  • Some factors influencing news objectivity in journalism

    Posted November 15, 2018

    Journalism is a profession that prides itself on dealing with hard facts, esteeming truth and uncovering conspiracies for the good of the public. We (journalists) are like detectives, but only cooler (even the movies seem to attest to that). To wield truth as a weapon ...

  • Computers and the Internet are sources of good rather than evil to children

    Posted September 11, 2016

    Information is power, as they say. People should not be wary because of the challenges attached to computers. Instead, people should be prepared for challenges and changes that come with it. At this age in time, computers and the internet are realities that come to stay...

View All