Jean Piaget Vs. Levy Vygotsky Essay

774 words - 3 pages

Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky both have very different yet similar views about the child and tenets within their theoretical perspectives. While Piaget sees children as ‘little scientists’, curious little discoverers who learn through the development attained at each of his four stages, Vygotsky views the child as competent and capable and that the child’s development is lead by their learning. Though Vygotsky puts greater emphasis on the sociocultural aspects of learning, both Piaget and Vygotsky consider sociocultural theory in their perspectives.
The major tenets of Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory lie largely in his stages of development. Piaget sees children as “little scientists who are constantly creating and testing their own theories of the world” (Papert, 1999, p.1) who learn as they develop through his four stages of development. These stages relate to “the most common way of thinking at a given level of development” (Ackermann, n.d.). The first stage, the sensorimotor stage (birth – 2 years), at this stage the child relies on his/her senses to learn about the objects in their environment, including their own body. The second stage, the preoperational stage (2 – 7 years) the child is still making sense of their world and will refer to certain things as the same as another, e.g. ‘my cat is furry and has four legs. That, over there, is also furry and has four legs. Therefore, it is a cat, too,’ when referring to a dog. Children at this stage also have difficulty taking other people’s viewpoints and believe that everything revolves around them, this is called Egocentrism. The third stage, the concrete operational stage (7 – 11 years) is when children instigate reasoning skills; however, abstract reasoning is not yet reached. Moreover, the loss of egocentrism is attained. And the fourth stage, the formal operational stage (11 years +) which is believed that not everyone reaches this stage. It consists of the ability to think theoretically and argue complex statements (Swift, n.d.).
Piaget believed that children should be allowed to ‘explore and experiment’ as they please and through this the child will be provided with the room to expand their current knowledge about their world and the people in it (Ackermann, n.d.). In addition, this helps with the process of assimilation and accommodation, the ability to understand an idea or concept and fit it into an already existing schema such as, realising that cats and dogs are similarly furry and have four legs but are different animals. Piaget’s understanding of children is that they are only able to complete a given...

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