Jean Piaget's Four Stages of Learning in Cognitive Development
Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist who did work on the development of intelligence in children. His studies have had a major impact on the fields of psychology and education. Piaget liked to call himself a genetic epistemologist (is a person who studies the origins of human knowledge) His theories led to more advanced work in child psychology. Piaget does work involving both experimental and observational methods.
Piaget believed that from birth humans are active learners, he also believed that cognitive development occurs in four stages. Stage I, sensorimotor intelligence (birth-2 years), takes the child from unrelated reflexive movements to behavior that reflects knowledge of simple concepts. During this stage, the child learns about himself and his environment. Thought derives from sensation and movement. The child learns that he is separate from his environment and that aspects of his environment -- his parents or favorite toy -- continue to exist even though they may be outside the reach of his senses. Teaching for a child in this stage should be geared to the sensorimotor system. You can modify behavior by using the senses: a frown, a stern or soothing voice -- all serve as appropriate techniques.
Stage II, preoperational thought (2-7 years), is characterized by an increasing use of abstract symbols as 0reflected in imaginative play. Preoperational Thought is the capacity to coordinate symbols in a meaningful way it increases, mental reasoning emerges, use of concepts increases. Applying his new knowledge of language, the child begins to use symbols to represent objects. Early in this stage he also personifies objects. He is now better able to think about things and events that aren't immediately present. Oriented to the present, the child has difficulty conceptualizing time. His thinking is influenced by fantasy -- the way he'd like things to be -- and he assumes that others see situations from his viewpoint.
Stage III, concrete operational thought (7-11 years), involves relatively sophisticated problem-solving behavior and attainment of adult thought. Stage IV, formal operational thought (12 years and older), is characterized by the ability to develop hypotheses and deduce new concepts.
Child psychologists are and always have been interested in the interaction of biological traits and environmental events that influence behavior and development. Research today involves things such as memory and attention span also they are trying to find out how you get from one level of thought to the next.
Piaget asserted that for a child to know and construct knowledge of the world the child must act on objects and it is this action which provides knowledge of those objects, the mind organizes reality and acts upon it. Readiness approaches in developmental psychology emphasize that children cannot learn something until maturation gives them certain prerequisites. The...