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Comparing The Two Theories Of Cognitive Development

1550 words - 6 pages

Comparing the Two Theories of Cognitive Development

There are three main types of cognitive development. There is Piaget's
theory, Vygotsky's theory and the Information processing approach. The
two theories that I am going to compare and contrast are Piaget and
Vygotsky's theories. There are many differences between these two
theories, but there are also many similarities too. Piaget suggests
that cognitive development takes place as a result of experiences
which force the child to accommodate new information, creating new
schemas and occasionally leading to a qualitatively different kind of
thinking- moving from one stage to another, but these changes need to
depend on readiness. However, Vygotsky placed more of an emphasis on
the importance of social context in transforming elementary into
higher mental functions, and the role of the ZPD in understanding how
this transformation takes place.

Piaget's theory, also known as the 'discovery learning theory',
brought up two ways in which schemas became more complex, assimilation
and accommodation. Assimilation is basically the process of fitting
new information and experiences into existing schemas, and
accommodation is the process of changing the existing schemas when new
information cannot be assimilated. An example of this could be when a
child has a schema "wings, beak and being able to fly" (a normal
bird). Every new instance of a creature with the same characteristics
is assimilated into this schema. But when that child sees an aeroplane
in the sky, the child asks what it is. The aeroplane challenges the
current schema. This new information cannot be assimilated into the
existing schema, instead the child's schemas must alter to accommodate
the new information and a new schema is formed. A new stage in
development is reached when the child's brain has been matured to a
point of 'readiness' and some new information or experiences that
cannot be assimilated challenge the child's thinking. When the child
has reached the point of 'readiness'; new experiences will lead to a
major reorganisation of schemas, so that a new different stage of
cognitive development is reached. The stages of Piaget's cognitive
development start with the sensorimotor stage, 0-2 years of age. Next
is the pre-operational stage, 0-7 years. Then there is the concrete
operational stage, 7-11 years. Finally, there is the formal
operational stage, 11+ years. In the sensorimotor stage the infant's
knowledge is limited to what they can experience though their sense
and their attempts to co-ordinate this knowledge with what they can
do. In the per-operational stage the child can use symbols but their
concepts are general. An example of this could be when a child says,
"Daddy owns a blue car" and then whenever they see a blue car they say
"Daddy's car". The...

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