Theory Of Developmental Psychology: Jean Piaget And Constructivism

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Jean Piaget and Constructivism Jean Piaget was educated in the sciences of biology and philosophy. Piaget thought himself to be a “genetic epistemologist”which is a scientific study of the origins of knowledge. “He was mainly interested in the biological influences on "how we come to know." He believed that what distinguishes human beings from other animals is our ability to do "abstract symbolic reasoning"”(Huitt, 2003). Piaget was a very significant researcher in the field of developmental psychology. The research done by Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, John Dewey, and Ulrick Neisser created the foundation for the constructivist theory of teaching and learning, however, Piaget’s curiosity on how a person obtains knowledge is the foundation …show more content…
Rather, knowledge is constructed by learners through an active, mental process of development; learners are the builders and creators of meaning and knowledge” (2015). Cognitive development is different for everyone because of their acquired knowledge and past experiences. Everyone learns differently, therefore learning is tailored to each child 's ability with the teacher as their guide (Tompkins, 2014). Piaget states that learning happens with an active building of meaning rather than students being passive recipients. Students come across a new situation or experience that conflict with prior knowledge, which causes an imbalance in their thinking. Students must modify their way of thinking to restore balance, which causes students to evaluate new information to decide whether it can be assimilated into their prior knowledge or students need to rethink the whole situation (Gray, …show more content…
The foundation of this theory was Piaget’s research claims that there are four cognitive developmental stages, throughout the life of a person. Stage one, infancy, is the sensorimotor period. In this stage infants use their five senses to understand and explore their environment. Stage two, toddlers to early childhood, is the pre-operational period. Children use symbols to show intelligence, while language use matures along with the development of memory and imagination, however thinking is still not logical. Stage three, elementary to early adolescents, is the concrete period. Students in the concrete phase use rational and organized manipulation of symbols to show intelligence. Stage four, adolescence to adulthood, is the formal operational period, which is the final period of cognitive development. Students use logical though of abstract ideas to demonstrate intelligence (Huitt, 2015). The constructivism theory was founded on the fact that cognitive development was different in everyone, because of their acquired knowledge and past experiences. It was the development of the constructivism theory that revolutionized how teacher instruct and students learn. Constructivism lets the teachers modify their curriculum to each students learning abilities, at which time the teacher becomes the guide

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