The Theory Piaget’s seemingly comprehensive theory has proven to be useful in many aspects of pedagogy, developmental and experimental sciences, psychology and other areas of study since inception. Nonetheless, his theories which Piaget himself described as genetic epistemology’ (of human knowledge), have attracted criticisms, not unlike many alike. The concept that the development of patterns of mental and physical actions occur in stages is the core of the (systematic) study. Piaget subscribes to the school of thought that; development is gradual or progressive opposed to the idea of it happening continuously (while modifications surface).
According to Piaget, development is set in stages or periods. Also, it is only after the development of stage one, for instance, can stage two be set in motion. In every stage, there are some tasks, expected attainments, and inhibitions that correlate with each stage and age (Durr, 2001).Piaget clearly states that culture does not impact development qualitatively but rather quantitatively. This means that though background might influence the rate or pace of development, the stages or process(es) are unchanged.
Piaget proposes four primary cognitive development stages with distinct characteristics occur in infants/children as they grow in age. These four (4) known cognitive structures include sensory-motor (0-2), preoperational (2-7), concrete operational (7-12) and formal operational (12-14) (Piaget, 1952, 1969; Piaget & Inhelder, 1969). These will be further discussed in the course of the deliberation. Stages of Cognitive Development The Sensory-motor stage (0-2)- Is the earliest of the four stages. This is the stage in which Children are believed to gain consciousness through their experience and interaction with how environment. During this time, they make use of innate abilities, senses and reflex (which include but are not limited to touching, listening, looking sucking, grasping, stepping, crying and more) to discover what the world has to offer. It is a period of discovery of the body’s abilities and what these abilities may attract. Worth mentioning is the formation of what Piaget refers to as schemas. Schemas is “a cohesive, repeatable action sequence possessing component actions that are tightly interconnected and governed by a core meaning.” (1952, pg. 7). In my understanding, the schemas is a mental process consisting of modules or elements of intelligence from which mental representations are drawn. These representations influence one’s application of and reaction to information. I would also refer to them as one’s ever-changing intelligence library’ which assists the child to organise information (growing in complexity as the child ages). If a child, for instance, comes across a Motor cycle, learns of its name and characteristics, a schema has been formed. This same child may see or be introduced to a bicycle and would still think of it a the former. Until an adult draws its attention to the difference and shows it what a bicycle is, it may associate every two-wheeled vehicle with two handles like a motorcycle. If someone successfully educates the child, a new schema might be formed. A child is likely to repeat certain actions due to the initial response that was received. The concept of Object permanence’ is regarded as a vital attainment at the stage. This means that the infant can perceive or come to a realisation that, objects exist though they may not be seen. Children begin to make use of the knowledge acquired through reality and experiences they gather.The Pre-operational stage (0-2) ” This is the immediate next stage of the cognition in the development process. A child’s perception is egocentric in that it is unable to take other or possible perceptions on board. The child’s point of view possesses to a degree, fixedness. They are only aware of what they are used to and refuses to see things from varying points. The stage is also characterised by role-playing’ and represent objects with the perceived one. For instance, a child may pretend to be a Princess by wearing girly and embellished dresses (or pretend the piece of paper she holds is a fan) and act as one. Views other than what is initially formed do not make sense. A child’s cognition is not mature enough at this level to remember steps of reasoning and tend to stay attached to certain objects for their satisfaction. If you have come across a child who personifies objects, you have more likely experience a child in this stage. Children may name their toys, for example, take it everywhere they go. Basically, such objects are animated, in the child’s view. This phenomenon is termed, Animism’The concrete operational (7-12) ” It launches operational and logical thought. Development of organised and logical thought is ongoing at this stage. Children comparatively become more objective in reasoning but still find it hard to understand abstract ideas. That means, logic is only applied successfully to physical objects. Also, children develop an ability to process information, consider particular facts and draw logical conclusions. Conservation comes to play as children at the is stage know that objects are the same though their appearances may change. Drawing from my experience, a child may prefer ($10) coins to a note thinking the coins are more valuable, when in fact, the value is the same. For instance, in Piaget’s experiment where the same volume of liquid is transferred from one container to the other, the children in the operation stage choose the smaller but full container over the other. Here the case would be different according to Piaget. A child at this stage would know that the volumes stay the same regardless of the container.The formal operational (12-14) ” This is characterised by the ability creatively draw possible conclusions of events or actions without any outside influence. By outside influence, I mean no physical objects or encounter is needed. The child possesses the ability to predict outcomes.The child who is at this stage an adolescent can make meaning of abstract ideas. (Inhelder & Piaget, 1958). The adolescent may be able to come up with ideas and opinions just by thinking things through. The individual is expected to reason more systematically and logically. These specific acts of intelligence underlie cognition development in children.In support of Piaget.Opposed Ideas. Gelman & Baillargeon (1983) in their review of some Piagetian Concepts’, it is argued thatPiaget’s theory has been criticised for the unaccountability and void created for overlooking individual differences’ individual differences in the process of developing cognitively. According to Neo-Piagetians, the rate at which individual move from stage to stage differ. This discussion, Piaget fails to lay any foundations for or establish. a particular situation may facilitate one subject’s ability to solve a problem, whereas it may hinder another’s (Lariv_ee, Normandeau, & Parent,2000, p. 828). It may interest some to know that in an experiment conducted by Badakar et al. (2017) 240 children aged 4 to 7 years made up of 120 Orphaned and the other 120 Parented from a city in India, there was a statistically significant’ difference. These two groups which were further divided into groups of 30 were tested on reversibility, conservation and egocentrism and One may ask why. Could it be due to the different environments these two groups find themselves? If so, it could be argued that some Orphaned children are better cared for than some with Parents in some cases and vice versa. If the former be true, and according to the results of the experiment in question, then Piaget’s idea that a child’s environment does not impact cognitive development is under scrutiny once again. I would wholeheartedly agree that the environment one may find themselves in is of great importance as the brain needs to be adequately stimulated to ensure proper