Digication ePortfolio :: ECE Theory Assignment :: General Education (2022)

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Jean Piaget’s Theory

Jean Piaget has a theory that describes how young children’s social-emotional development is established. He believes that social-emotional knowledge is attained using the same methods as cognitive knowledge, which is cultivated in the context of meaningful relationships and develops as children see things from another’s perspective (Charlesworth,1992, p.36). Piaget believes that children naturally group people by identifying characteristics about them. For example, children might group people as a girl, boy, brother, sister, friendly, kind, or helpful. They also group people by emotional and social characteristics such as sharing or sadness. Equilibration is the process of modifying or fitting new information into pre-existing ideas. For example, Eric likes basketball and may believe Ryan is his friend because he is wearing a basketball shirt and asks Eric to play basketball. Eric takes the new information of Ryan’s shirt and Ryan asking him to play basketball and fits them into his preexisting ideas of friendship. Eric thinks that friends like the same things and do things together. Another thing that is very important with children’s social-emotional development is meaningful relationships. Children relationships with parents, teachers, family members, and friends are all very important in order for a child to think logically. Interactions with all these people will help a child with social and moral feelings, values, and their social and intellectual proficiency. When activities are intellectually and emotionally satisfying for children they will try harder and stay engaged for longer periods of time. When a child enjoys interacting with someone, it helps him or her persevere and see things from another’s perspective as well. Another very important point Piaget makes is that children are egocentric. Egocentric means children (or the person) only think about themselves and see things from their own perspectives. As children develop, so does their thinking skills, which as they grow older they begin to realize that it isn’t all about themselves. They become less self-centered and are more alert of other’s thoughts and feelings. Seeing things from another’s perspective gives the child a leading social development through moral development, empathy, and collaboration (Charlesworth,1992, p.37).

I chose this theory because I think it is very important for a child to obtain knowledge by seeing other’s point of views as well as their own. When children’s thinking process starts to develop they become less self centered and more aware of other’s feelings. By interacting with people, children learn from their experiences and learn about relationships. They also learn how to treat one another and signs of sadness, happiness, or anger in other people. They begin to know someone’s emotions by their expressions on their face and body language.

I also chose this theory because Piaget doesn’t think that intelligence is a fixed trait, there is always room to grow and learn. He also believed that cognitive development occurs due to biological maturation and interaction with the environment. I think that these are life-long skills that are very important for children to learn. Without these skills, a child would be very lost and confused.

In the future I plan to be a pediatric nurse. This theory would help me understand how to help a child learn and develop properly. I could also use this theory to help parents teach their children about other’s emotions and bring them out in the environment to interact with other children. I would express to the parents that social life is very important for the development of logical thinking in children. I would also talk about the different sections of the brain and their functions to give the parents an idea of what parts of the brain their child is learning from. For example, the frontal lobe functions for behavior, memory, and movement. The Parietal Lobe is for intelligence, language, reading, and sensation. I would also express to the parents that meaningful relationships are very important and they should try to engage in a lot of activities with their child. I would also suggest having other family friends around or their child’s friends because meaningful relationships help keep a child interested and engaged in activities while they are also learning.

Piaget has four cognitive developmental stages: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. The sensorimotor stage is from birth through ages 18-24 months. During this time period infants are only aware of what is exactly in front of them. They focus on what they are doing and what they see right in front of themselves. Between 7-9 months, infants start to realize that objects will still exist even if they can no longer see it in front of them. For example, a child getting dropped off at day care at this age may realize that his or her parent(s) will be back to pick them up. This is a sign of object permanence and a sign that the infant’s memory is developing. When infants start to crawl, stand, or walk their physical mobility increases, which in turn increases their cognitive development. Toward the end of the sensorimotor stage (18-24 months) an infant starts to develop language. The second cognitive development stage is the preoperational stage- toddlerhood (18-24 months) through early childhood (age 7). In the preoperational stage young children are able to think about things symbolically. They develop memory and imagination. Also, their language becomes more mature. The child is now able to tell the difference between past and future and also participate in make believe activities. During this stage the child’s thinking is not completely logical and is based on their intuition. The third stage is theConcrete Operational Stage where children from ages 7 to 11 begin to demonstrate logical, concrete reasoning. Children become more aware of events and activities around them. They become less egocentric and begin to realize that people's thoughts are individual and sometimes unique. Some thoughts that others have may be totally knew ideas to the child. However, during this stage, most children can't think abstractly or hypothetically yet. The last stage is the formal operational stage. In this stage the adolescent (usually age 11 plus) are able to logically use symbols related to unique concepts such as science and algebra. They can think about multiple variables and create hypotheses. They can think about more concrete concepts such as justice. The affective developmental domain focuses on feelings and emotions in a child. This domain includes both environmental and humanistic conditions. Environmental conditions may affect the way children learn and the humanistic conditions may affect the way children view themselves and others as well. Piaget uses some of his cognitive stages to describe his affective development. He uses the pre operational stage, the concrete operations, and formal operations. The pre operational stage (ages 2-7) is when the child is beginning to develop security, morals, and needs. They also start testing adults/peers. For example, in this stage a child starts to learn about punishments, guilt, justice, and what's right and wrong. The concrete operations stage (ages 7-11) is when the child begins to challenge rules using their opinions and also begin to differentiate between lies and reality. During the formal operations stage (ages 11-15 or older) the child develops their personality, trust, sexuality, they also begin to accept social/cultural differences. The motor stage Piaget's theory involves is Sensorimotor. His motor stage ties in with his cognitive developmental stage. The sensorimotor stage occurs between the ages of birth and two years. The infant begins to interact with the world. They start to understand more concepts through interactions within their environment. One of the main goals at this stage in life is to understand object permanency. Once an object is removed from a child’s view, he or she doesn’t realize that the object still exists until they understand object permanency. For example, when a baby sees their mom leave the room, they don’t think she will return until they understand object permanency. Once they understand this concept they will realize that when their mom leaves a room she will return eventually. The child will feel a sense of security and safety when the mother returns. By the end of this stage, the child is able to keep a mental image of the person (or object) without it actually being in front of them. The physical developmental stage is described throughout Piaget’s theory. He describes that a child needs physical interaction with his or her environment in order for them to understand reality and how the world works. For example, like object permanence, when a child is just born, they don’t realize physical things will continue to exist even when they are out of sight. Once they are around two years old, they begin to understand the concept of object permanence through physical interactions in the world.

Piaget’s theory explains how both nature and nurture has an impact on child development. Both nature and nurture play an important role in Piaget’s cognitive development theory. In his theory, nature is the evolution of the brain, body, and the ability to learn, realize, act, and motivate. Nurture involves adaptation and organization of new information. Through adaptation, children are able to respond to what they see and learn from the environment and use that information in ways to meet their own needs and goals. Through organization, children consolidate certain observations into a body of logical knowledge. Also, assimilation and accommodation are also a part of this theory. Assimilation is when people translate information into a form they can comprehend. Accommodation is when people adapt current knowledge in response to their new experiences.

I would use this theory when being a Pediatric Nurse. It is very important for children to play and learn from their experiences. Piaget’s theory explains that it is important for children to play so that they can learn from their experiences. Without play, a child will not develop social or cognitive skills. When I become a pediatric nurse I will try to persuade parents to think about play and start engaging their child in more activities, whether it is alone or with other children. Jean Paiget’s theory describes the different stages that children go through when developing their personalities and learning experiences. He explains that children learn more effectively when they are playing and engaging in the world. Through their experiences and play, children learn more effectively and are more likely to participate in activities when they are enjoyable. In Piaget’s theory, the sensorimotor stage (birth to about two years of age) children are experiencing their own body and external objects. They “practice play” by repeating patterns of movements and sounds. They shake, bang, babble, and eventually start to play “peek-a-boo.” Peek-a-boo is a good game for children to play because they start to learn that objects disappear but will eventually reappear. This helps the child learn object permanence. I think this game is a very good learning approach for children, which I would express to the parents at a checkup visit when I become a pediatric nurse. It’s not until around ages 4-7 years old that a child starts to play games that are categorized by rules, social interaction, and structure. I would also suggest that the parents don’t reward their child for every little thing they do correctly because then children expect rewards and only do good things to please people.

As I have stated previously, I would like to be a Pediatric Nurse and I think Piaget’s theory would be very helpful to my patients (children) and their parents. For new parents, Piaget’s theory would be very useful because it would help guide them on how to teach their children and see if their child is up to par with what they should know. I would stress to them that Piaget’s four cognitive developmental stages: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational are very useful because they help give strategies of how to teach children certain tasks but also explains how play and interaction is very important for child development. For example, object permanence is very important for the child to learn at a young age because they need to know that their mother isn’t always going to be in the same room as them, but she will return eventually. The child feels safe and secure knowing their mother came back into the room. As a nurse, I would give the child a toy to play with while in the waiting room but have them leave the toy behind when I called them into the exam room. The child probably wouldn’t want to leave the toy behind if they really enjoyed it, but they would soon learn that the toy would always be there for them to play with.

Some critics think that Paiget’s theory of cognitive development is inaccurate. For example, Wayne Weiten thinks that Piaget underestimates the development of children through his four cognitive theories. Wayne cited Bower (1982) and Harris (1983), two theorists who did research and found that some children develop object permanence earlier than Piaget thought. Another criticism, by Carlson and Buskist (1997), is that Piaget’s terminology is not used correctly and can be difficult for people to comprehend. For example, Carlson and Buskist wrote about how accommodation and assimilation is not described thoroughly enough in Piaget’s theory. Piaget uses these terms to express that a change has occurred in a child, but doesn’t express the exact change. Another critism Piaget has gotten from several different critics is that physical manipulation is not essential for normal cognitive development. For example, a child that is born paralyzed or becomes paralyzed doesn’t lose his capability of cognitive development, which Piaget’s theory says goes hand in hand.

I think there would be a few challenges trying to use this theory in the future. I think children’s parents would argue that not every child learns and develops at the same pace or age. Some children learn and develop quicker or slower than others. I also think parents would argue that the environment and people around their children would have a negative or positive impact on their child’s development. Not that parents would want their child in a bad environment, but sometimes at school children bully other students and teach other children to do the same. Parents and family can’t always help what their child is around or see’s, especially when a parent can’t be with their child 24 hours a day, everyday. I think the biggest issue I would face is parents thinking they know how to raise a child correctly and that a child doesn’t have to “play” as much as Piaget thinks.

Works Cited:

Charlesworth, R. (1992). Understanding child development. Albany, NY: Delmar

McLeod, S. (1970, January 01). Saul McLeod. Retrieved October 27, 2017, from https://www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html

(n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2017, from http://www.nzdl.org/gsdlmod?e=d-00000-00---off-0cdl--00-0----0-10-0---0---0direct-10---4-------0-1l--11-en-50---20-about---00-0-1-00-0--4----0-0-11-10-0utfZz-8-00&cl=CL1.220&d=HASH011134b2acbbe27c1aae8abe.5.4.2.3>=1

H., E., E., E., E., E., . . . E. (n.d.). Play. Retrieved October 27, 2017, from http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/496/Play.html

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