Developmental psychology is the study of mental structures and learning through experience. This is the interest between characteristics, the individual’s behaviour and environmental factors including social context and their impact on developments
Piaget and Vygotsky had many similarities in their ideas they both looked at children’s cognitive development of knowledge and had the theory that there are things beyond a Childs understanding but their approaches to these ideas were different. They believed that it was important for children to participate in their learning and they also both looked at social factors concerning children’s cognitive development
However Piaget had many ideas and thoughts’ that differed from Vygotsky. Piaget supposed that development leads to education and that children are only able to learn within four stages of development but there are factors that can dispel this theory, for example a child that suffers from autism or has special needs could not get through all of Piaget’s development stages. Piaget conducted a test called the ‘Swiss mountains scene’ (Gross, 2005) to back up his theory for one of his stages called Pre-operational stage in which he believed that children possess egocentrism perception (Flavell 2000 p15) but it was said by Flavell (1999) that “preschoolers are not as egocentric as Piaget thought”, ‘most three and four- year olds can take on another person’s perspective’ (Wade &Travis 2005).
In addition he also didn’t put emphasis on the societal interaction of children with their peers and family, underestimating the significance this could have on their development. His concept was that everyone was educated in the same way and he thought that children developed individually from exploring their environment and schemas that accommodated new information. He also believed that regardless of culture everyone absorbed knowledge in the same way but can this really be true as cultures can vary in how they focus on what is important in education. In future years because of his experiences, Piaget changed the way he conducted his research to include more importance on child activity.
In comparison Vygotsky didn’t rely upon time he believed that children’s learning should be taken further by looking at their actual capabilities and then seeing how much more potential they have, this was called the ZPD (zone of proximal development). He stated that teaching is only good when it ‘awakens and rouses to life those functions which are in a stage of maturing which lie in the ZPD’ (Dunphy & Dunphy 2003, p49). Vygotsky also believed in social interactions for development with the emphasis upon communications, language (the inner voice) and the role of experts. He believed that when a child is challenged and is helped with these challenges it will obtain new knowledge and skills. A criticism of Vygotsky’s could be that he really didn’t have any research to back up his theories, and he was constantly...