Vygotsky and Piaget Pedagogy

Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and Len Vygotsky’s sociocultural perspective have played critical roles in educational psychology. Both of these major frameworks will be analyzed and compared. From these two different standpoints, it will be illustated how a particular concept or cognitive skill can be taught. Russian psychologist Len Semenovich Vygotsky (1896-1934) was a fundamental figure in the exploration of “the sociocultural theory. ” His ideas played crucial roles in the pedagogical framework of children and education.

Thoroughly, he examined the sociocultural theory which emphasizes the role in development of cooperative dialogues between children and more knowledgeable members of society.

Children learn their culture (ways of thinking and behaving) through these interactions (Berk & Winsler 19). Vygotsky believed that our mental structures and processes can be traced back to our interactions with others (Berk & Winsler 12-15). Social interactions not only have an influence on our cognitive development, they actually create our cognitive structures and thinking process (Woolfolk 39).

During shared activities between the child and another person, higher mental processes are first co-constructed.

This is a social process in which people interact and negotiate (usually verbally) to create an understanding or solve a problem (Woolfolk 39). The processes are then internalized by the child and become part of the child’s cognitive development. The final product is shaped by all participants (Berk & Winsler 15). For example (Tharp & Gallimore 14): A six-year-old has lost a toy and asks her father for help. The father asks her where she last saw the toy; the child says “I can’t remember.

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He asks a series of questions- did you have it in your room? Outside? Next door? To each question, the child answers, “no. ” When he says “in the car? ” She says “I think so” and goes to retrieve the toy. Vygotsky once stated that “ever function in a child’s development appears twice: first on the social level and then later on the individual level; first between people ‘interpsychological’ and then inside the child ‘intrapsychological’ (Berk & Winsler 12. )” For instance, the strategy for finding the toy was initially co-constructed by both- the child and the adult.

The next time that child loses a toy it is probable that he/she may have internalized a strategy on how to find the toy (by recalling all the previous places that the toy was last seen). This adult guidance provides early support while students build the understanding necessary to solve problems (Woolfolk 59). Eventually the child will be capable of functioning independently in the process of problem solving. In this scenario, perhaps the child may be capable of finding the toy with no help the next time this problem arises.

Vygotsky emphasized the importance of cultural tools, which enables the transfer of cognition from the social to the individual plane (Berk & Winsler 21). Cultural tools include material tools such as: computers, scales Internet, rulers, ect. On the other hand, psychological tools include: symbol systems, numbers, language, graphs, maps, codes, languages, ect. These tools allow people in society to communicate, think, solve problems, and create knowledge (Woolfolk 41). These tools are used in daily activities by the child in formal and informal settings, with the help from an adult.

An example of using a psychological tool to aid in the advancement of development would be the construction of a map. In this scenario, collaboration would occur between the child and the teacher on how to represent the concepts of people and spaces. In return, these co-constructed ideas are internalized within the child and development occurs. “Learning leads development (Wood 101). ” These tools are fundamental in development because they support thinking, which results in the construction of the child’s understanding of the social and physical world (Berk & Winsler 23).

Vygotsky emphasized the tool of language as a critical factor in development. Initially, speech serves as a regulative communication function (Wood 29). In time, children develop language as the build on other cognitive abilities by trying to make sense in what they hear. Self talk guides the child’s cognitive thinking. This external tool slows down the thought process, allowing concepts, thoughts, or ideas to be more comprehensible- resulting in problem solving. It transforms the way children, learn, think, and understand (Wood 29).

Vygotsky believed that thinking is radically transformed when children become capable of linguistic communication. “At the least, sounds, meanings, words and sequence of words, volume, voice tone, inflection, and turn-taking rule must all be coordinated before a child can communicate effectively in conversation (Woolfield 51). ”Because a child’s self-directed talk aids in the thinking and problem solving process, it helps develops child’s self regulation. (Berk & Winsler106-108) This is the process of activating and sustaining thoughts, behaviors, and emotions in order to reach goals (Woolfield 621).

An example would be the “taking turn rule,” during a conversation. The child must sustain the behavior of talking while another person is talking in order to have a successful conversation. On the other hand, Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) developed the theory of cognitive development, which is based on the assumption that people try to make sense of the world and actively create knowledge through direct experience with objects, people, and ideas (Wood 22). Unlike Vygotsky, Piaget believed that the individual construct their own understanding of the work.

The child’s development first occurs on the individual level then on the social level. Because we are constantly trying to make sense of the world in which we live, our thinking process change drastically from birth until maturity. Piaget thought that a major influence on the way we perceive and make sense of the world, is through the process of maturation, which is the genetically programmed, naturally occurring changes over time (Wood 21). More specifically, Piaget believed that young people go through four stages as they develop: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete-operational, and formal operational (Woolfield 57).

Conversely, Vygotsky did not believe there was a set stage for development. In the first stage through the exploration of motor activity, infants in the sesorimotor stage (approximately between the ages of 0-2 years) gradually work towards mastering object permanence as well as performing goal-directed activities. Object permanence is “the understanding that objects exist in an environment whether they perceive them or not (Woolfolk 30. )” For instance, if you take a certain toy away from away from a young infant, they will not acknowledge that that toy exists. Out of sight, out of mind (Woolfolk. )” On the other hand, if an older child sees a package of enticing cookies laying on the table and starts crying for one, even if the adult moves the cookies in the cabinet (clearly out of sight from the child) the child will still know that even though he physically cannot see the cookies- they still exist. The child will begin to make use of imitation, memory, and thought. An example of imitation would be a baby copying the gestures of “peek-a-boo” with an adult. The preoperational stage occurs between 2-7 years of age.

Symbolic thinking gradually begins to develops. For instance, if there is not a toy phone, a child may pick up a block and pretend that that is the phone. During this stage, the child may have a difficult time seeing another person’s point of view. Their concept of space “is subjective and centered on their own body (Wood 67). ” For example, during an experiment, three mountains were placed together. The children were supplied with pictures on how the mountains would look from different positions when observing.

They then were asked how another person would view the model from different positions. In most cases, children in this stage are most likely to choose the mountain from the position in which they view the mountain (Wood 67). The concrete-operational stage occurs during the age of 7-11 years (Woolfield 32). The child achieves the principle of conservation during this time. A 5 year old is shown two identical glasses that are wide and short. Both are holding the same exact amount of water, and the child agrees with that notion.

The experimenter then pours one of the cups of water into a taller, narrower glass. When the child is asked which glass has more water the second time around, the child declares the taller glass does, “because it goes up higher (Wood). ” Piget believes the child at the concrete-operational stage would have the ability to acknowledge the difference. Also, the child at this stage developes reversible thinking, which is the ability to think from the end to the beginning (Woolfield 31). The last stage is the formal operation stage that occurs from 11 years of age to adulthood.

Piaget believed that an individual during this time could become more scientific in thinking, had the ability to solve problems in a logical fashion, and developes concerns regarding social issues and identity (Woolfield 30). Piaget’s theory places action and self-directed problem solving at the heart of learning and development. Learning and development are separate entites. By acting on the world, the learner comes to discover how to control it. Development must be constructed on the basis of knowledge.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Vygotsky believe that they learning and behavior are not separate entities because learning leads development. * * * Piaget puts less emphasis on social experiences and inter-personal behavior as an crucial part of development opposed to Vygotsky. Piaget believed that since the individual construct their own understanding of the work, the child’s development first occurs on the individual level then on the social level.

He believed that social facilitation may aid in development because the child is exposed to other points of views, which in return may cause him/her to re-think his individual ideas (Wood 17). However, social facilitation will only be benefital to the child if they are at the “appropriate state of readiness for change (Wood 17). ” (The state of readiness is the“stage of development” that was discussed in the previous section. ) Most likely Piaget would not pair two student together to work collaboratively if they were on different levels of development.

On the contrary, Vygotsky would most likely pair two students together of different levels so that the students could co-constuct eachothers learning. In my classroom, I would adovate students of different abilities to work together. Both students would benefit in the exchange explanations and questions that each has to offer. In both perspectives, the role of the teacher is to facilitate and guide the students. Both psychologist placed a different emphasis on the importance of instruction. Vygotsky placed instruction in the heart of learning. Instruction is a mayor contribution to children’s growing consiousness and regulation of their own thought processm it prompts a shift to a higher level of cognitive activity (Berk & Winsler 106). ” The teacher would partake in guided participation, such as walking the students through a complicated problem. For example, if a student was still hesitant on how to solve a math problem, they may do part of the problem and remind the student of the proper steps to take to solve it. The teacher should allow revision from the student, offer the student feedback and ask questions.

For example, if the students finishs a long division math problem- ask the student to explain what the remainder is. Vygotsky would also encourage a “think out loud” to assist in learning. For example, if I were teaching a class reading comprehension: first I would read a book aloud, then I would read the same book again only this time modeling my thought process out loud. I would elaborate on the connections I made to the text and to myself. This would demonstrate to the students the revisions and choices a learner undergoes.

To scaffold learning in a classroom there are many different approaches such as clues, reminders, encouragements, and breaking down problems into steps and providing examples (Woolfield 49). On the other hand, Piaget believed that instruction can refine and improve structures that have already emerged, but it cannot lead to the development of concepts as Vygotsky believed (Berk & Winsler 108). In this case, I would introduce a topic to a group of students together, then I would have them work on follow up activitites to match their learning needs.

When devising lesson plans, the teacher would have to be conscious of restructing prior knowledge. To accomplish this, the teacher’s role would be to make connections to what the students already know. For instance, if I were to teach a lesson on the holocaust, if I had previously read “Number the Stars” by Louis Lowry (a journal of a girl hidden in a attic durning the holocaust), I would first discuss the book before introducing new ideas. In conclusion, Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and Len Vygotsky’s sociocultural perspective have played critical roles in educational psychology.

Their framework has provided us with insightful theories regarding learning and development and ways particular concepts or cognitives skill can be taught from these standpoints. Berk, Laura & Winsler, Adam(1995). Scaffolding Children’s Learning: Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education. Tharp, R. G. , & Gallimore, R. (1988). Rousing minds to life: Teaching, learning, and schooling in social context. New York: Cambridge University Press. Pg 14. Wood, David. (1988). How Children Learn and Think: Second Edition. Blackwell Publishing. Woolfolk, Anita. (2007).

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Vygotsky and Piaget Pedagogy. (2017, Feb 13). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-essay-vygotsky-piaget-pedagogy/

Vygotsky and Piaget Pedagogy
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