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Cognitive Development Essay

1463 words - 6 pages

Write an essay (suggested length of 3–5 pages) in which you:A. Describe the basic premises of cognitive development theory.
B. Address two of the following major cognitive development theorists: Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner, or Thelen.
1. Compare and contrast each theorist’s views on the nature or development of intelligence.
2. Compare and contrast each theorist’s views on the stages of development from birth through adolescence.
3. Compare and contrast possible classroom applications of each theorist’s views on cognitive development.
To accommodate their distinctive learning processes and abilities, educators need to understand cognitive development theory as it applies to children and adolescents. With understanding comes the ability to utilize its concepts in order to develop effective teaching strategies tailored to students’ age and stage of development. This essay will describe the basic premises of cognitive development theory and then compare and contrast three aspects of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky’s cognitive development theories – the nature or development of intelligence, the stages of development from birth through adolescence, and the classroom applications of each theorist’s views on cognitive development.
The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines cognitive development as “the process of acquiring intelligence and increasingly advanced thought and problem-solving ability from infancy to adulthood.” cognitive development. (n.d.) This process can be affected by both biological and environmental factors throughout the lifetime of a person. Two theories of development have been proposed to describe how the acquisition of knowledge occurs as a child matures – either continuous or discontinuous. Continuous theories propose that development occurs in a smooth progression as children learn and experience their environment. These theories stress the influence of environmental conditions to drive cognitive development. In contrast, discontinuous theories propose “…that children progress through a set of predictable and invariant stages of development…” (Slavin 2009) regardless of the influence of the environment. These theories focus on the internal hereditary factors that drive cognitive development. Today it is acknowledged that both internal and external factors play a role in the process of cognitive development.
Two significant contributors to cognitive development theory are Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. Their writings form the basis for the constructivist theory of learning and instruction. The assertion of constructivism is that cognition is the result of mental construction - students learn by interacting with the environment and integrating new information into what they already know.
The first aspect to compare/contrast is each theorist’s view on the nature or development of intelligence. Piaget’s theory of ‘cognitive constructivism’ is based on two major principles – adaptation and organization. He believed...

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