Cognitive Development Theory And Vygotsky's Socio-Cultural Theory

1068 Words 5 Pages
Piaget’s cognitive development theory and Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory is examined in regards to a given scenario. It analyses both theories’ effectiveness in a practical, classroom situation.

Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development is a socio-cultural theory, therefore unlike Piaget’s stage theory, he did not acknowledge that perception, attention or memory became more acute over time. (Lourenço, 2012) Vygotsky believed that children learnt through two main mediums: social interaction, and cultural tools - both of which are highlighted within the scenario. Vygotsky considers there to be two types of social interaction, inter-personal (between an individual and others, learning by engaging in shared activities) and intra-personal (an
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In the given scenario the students are in Year 5, which means they are likely aged between ten and twelve; according to Piaget they should be in the concrete operational stage, which will be the stage focused on in the essay. Piaget’s theory states that cognitive development is discontinuous, and development progresses sequentially though each stage, with each stage being qualitatively different to each other. (Duchesne, McMaugh, Bochner, & Krause, 2012; Lourenço, 2012) This has lead to a common criticism of Piaget as it doesn’t allow children to move back and forth between stages, or to show abilities from more than one stage. Mackay (as cited in Modgil, Modgil, & Brown, 1983) argues that Piaget is not interested in how individual children develop cognitively (whether alone or in social interaction with others) but of “the postulated ‘epistemic subject’, of which the workings of any individual mind can afford only an illustration.” (Modgil, Modgil, & Brown, 1983, pp. 64) Therefore, the theory does not allow for flexibility in the development of each individual …show more content…
The children were confused and had difficulty acting out the play. This fits with Piaget’s stage development theory, as the children are within the concrete operations stage they are able to think logically and answer right/wrong questions but abstract thinking is beyond their ability at this point (until they move into the formal operations stage). (Duchesne, McMaugh, Bochner, & Krause, 2012; Modgil, Modgil, & Brown, 1983) Once the teacher changed to a non-fiction text about the water cycle, the children were able to understand and participate, as the water cycle is logical with steps and processes, while a legend is very abstract. Furthermore, by changing from a fiction to non-fiction text, the teacher shows that she is aware of where the children can be pushed and where they cannot be. Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development is the area between what an individual knows already and what is beyond their present capabilities at that moment. (Richard-Amato, 2003) This is highlighted when the children are able to put on plays outside of school but not able to put on plays about something so abstract as a legend, this means by having them use a logical tops like the water cycle but still do the same task (act out a play) they are in the zone of proximal

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