Piaget's Theories On Child Development As A Genetic Epistemology

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Piaget referred to his collective theories on child development as a “genetic epistemology”; meaning the study of the origin of knowledge itself (Jean Piaget Biography, n.d.). His 50 books and hundreds of papers developed entirely new fields of scientific study and his groundbreaking discoveries altered the parameters of cognitive developmental psychology. Nonetheless, I believe his ideas are not beyond critique.

Unreliable Scientific Method
He has been faulted for his problematic research methods, which have resulted in unreliable data forming the basis of some of his ideas; thus, deeming them as invalid. He gained his data from observing a small research sample consisting of his own three children and a few others. These subjects all came
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He described the acquisition of knowledge as “a system of transformations that become progressively adequate” (Genetic Epistemology, n.d). However, I believe that in practice this is not the case as development does not follow such as smooth and predictable path; as children may progress at a faster or slower rate depending on their environment and experiences. Also, Piaget does not acknowledge that training programs and repeated practice can enable students to learn particular concepts in a certain stage prior to reaching that stage (Criticisms of Piaget 's Theory, n.d.). As well as this, Piaget does not express how children could be in one stage with one learning area and at a completely different stage with another area. For example, a child could be at the concrete operational stage in maths where they need real objects to work out problems, but the same child could be at formal operational stage in science where they understated cause-effect relationships and manipulation of two or more variables. Educators should be aware of this to eliminate the false assumption that every child in the same age class is at the same developmental stage; as no children progress and develop in the same way or at the same …show more content…
Piaget stated that “during the earliest stages the child perceives things like a solipsist who is unaware of himself as subject and is familiar only with his own actions” (The Construction of Reality in the Child, n.d.). However, research has found that 4 and 5 year old children have a sophisticated understanding of their own and other people’s mental processes (Cherry, 2016). So, they are far less egocentric than Piaget believed as they have ability to view situations from the perspective of others. In addition, some children show higher order thinking and greater problem solving skills when they are given tests that are simpler and more familiar to them, than those Piaget utilised in his experiments (O’Donnell et al, 2016). For example, under some conditions even 2 to 3 year olds can complete the logic processes involved in deductive reasoning which Piaget did not account for (Hawkins et al, 1994). I would apply this in the classroom by not underestimating the capabilities of my students and giving them tasks that challenge them, even if Piaget would deem the task as beyond their stage of development.

Despite this critique of Piaget’s work, it must be acknowledged that his ideas have had a lasting impact on the practice of education and he leaves behind a strong

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