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Cognitive Theorist

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Cognitive Theorist – Jean Piaget
Terry Cross
University of Phoenix
10/17/2014

Contribution of the theorist in the field of learning
Jean Piaget was one of the pioneer psychologists who concentrated on the systematic analysis of cognitive development. Jean Piaget contributed in the field of learning by developing a theory of cognitive development in children. His detailed and close observational studies of children’s cognition in addition to administering ingenious tests to children revealed varying cognitive abilities. Piaget’s drive to study the cognitive development in children was informed by the psychological assumption that children have reduced or less thinking competency that adults. As such, Piaget made observations that children have a different mode of thinking compared to adult members of the society. Piaget established that children have innate and basic genetically inherited and evolved mental structures upon which later knowledge and learning stems from (Piaget, 1936).
The cognitive theory developed by Piaget contributes to the understanding of cognitive development in children. Cognitive development theory by Piaget concentrates more on the cognitive development and does not argue about learning and acquiring information on given behaviors. Cognitive theory details elaborate stages of cognitive development that differ from one another. As such, the cognitive theory contributes to the field of cognition by explaining processes and systems by which children and infants develop to become people who are able to reason and think (Piaget, 1936). Cognitive development theory by Piaget established the process of progressive mental processes reorganization based on environmental experiences and biological maturation. In a nutshell, the theorist contributed to the field of cognition and learning by arguing that children develop a comprehension of the surrounding environment and then experience the divergence between what they learn in the environment and what they already know.
The model(s) associated with the selected theorist
According to Piaget, adaptation and equilibrium provides the platform for cognitive development. Adaptation entails the changes in a child to meet the situational needs. On the same note, there are two sub-processes of adaptation including accommodation and assimilation. Assimilation enables a child to apply early concepts to the new concepts. Furthermore, accommodation entails changing of the early concepts to accommodate new information.
The next model associated with the cognitive development theory is the equilibrium. Equilibrium denotes the search for equal balance between the world and the self. As the children grow, they acquire cognitive tendencies to match their situational demands to adaptive functioning. As such, the equilibrium model functions to keep the children on the direct path of development enabling progressive and effective adaptation. Accordingly, the equilibrium and adaptation that includes assimilation and accommodation models informs the cognitive development in children. The models were development by Piaget after several years of study of cognitive development in children to learn their mental and learning capacities. Even though, the models provide insights on how children process the information in the environment based on the established and innate mental processes, the information processing and interpretation occurs in stages. Therefore, Piaget developed stages in the cognitive development processes and established that children have the mental capacity to accommodate given environmental information in stages.
Theoretical concept associated with the model(s)
Assimilation and accommodation operate hand-in-hand and help in the comprehension of cognitive development. Assimilation and accommodation function to enable children interact with the novel events that are in consistent with the established scheme. On the other hand, equilibrium help promotes the acquisition of complex thoughts. Equilibrium enables children to interpret and explain new developments based on the existing schemes. At the equilibrium state, developing children experience cognitive conflict as they establish and comprehend the two different views about the situation in order to distinguish one from another. The child’s cognition ability of the dissimilarities between the opposing views enhances mental differentiations of a given concepts.
Relevance of the cognitive development model(s) in education
Even through, Piaget did not relate the cognitive theory of development to education, the contemporary cognitive development theorists have argued that the features of cognitive development theory can apply to education in terms teaching and learning. The cognitive theory of development has influenced the creation of educational policies and learning processes. For example, the United Kingdom government reviewed its primary education policy in 1966 based on the Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. The report advised the UK government to factor the development stages as outlined by Piaget theory so that educational processes conformed to the children’ physical and sensory development processes (Wadsworth, 2004). The discovery learning processes, the notion that children and infants learn through exploration as Piaget argued in the cognitive development theory established the basis for primary school curriculum transformation in England. Since Piaget’s theory is founded on the biological maturation, it is important to factor the concept of readiness when teaching children. It is appropriate for children to be taught certain concepts and information after reaching the biological maturity and appropriate stage of cognitive development (Wadsworth, 2004).

References
Piaget, J. (1936). Origins of intelligence in the child. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Wadsworth, B, J. (2004). Piaget’s theory of cognitive and affective development:
Foundations of constructivism. Longman Publishing.

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