Jean Piaget’s theory
The theory of cognitive development is very critical in understanding the behavior of human beings both psychologically and physiologically. Cognitive psychologists view development as consisting of reorganization and acquisition of cognitive structures through which human being process and store information (Ellery, 1925).
Piaget asserts that there are various stages in the development of an individual. Children in these stages often have different physical, emotional, social, and psychological differences. In the case of a twelve year old, who weighs 180lbs and is 5’1 tall, his behaviors will differ with that of a grown up. Since Piaget’s theory talks about cognitive development, the stage, which a child at this stage can be put, is the concrete stage. This is because the child has increased accommodation. The child is able to think in an abstract manner and think rationally. He is able to observe things in the environment and deduce some relations out of it.
Physically, the child has developed greatly. At this stage, Piaget asserts that the child’s physical development is shown in the extent of the motor skills. At this age, a child is able to handle heavier materials than the first stage. Physical development requires the body to identify and employ external experiences and emotional stability to feel secure about exploring new ideas (Ochsner and Lieberman, 2001).
Social development is far much developed at this stage also. As children develop physically, they learn to play with others. These others are drawn from the surrounding environment (Ellery, 1925). This helps them to improve their mental skills and consequently develop some behaviors. Through imaginary or fantasy play, a child develops abstract thinking. They get rid of aggression and learn to control aggressive urges. Social skills often thrive well where there is some order in an organization. An individual who encounters peers and other social agents, who are cooperative and friendly, would always develop positive social skills in a fast way. The cognitive, behavioral and socialization ensures that individual develop in their socialization process and interact more by ensuring that the environment is conducive for this process and the various agents responsible for this process to take place are present.
The child at this stage is developed in terms of his contribution in the classroom and the concentration. Piaget’s theory asserts that at this stage, the child is able to recognize associations that are established through repetition and contiguity. The theory acknowledges the importance of reinforcement and stresses in the role of providing feedback on the correctness of responses received from a child and states that reinforcement acts as a motivator (Ochsner and Lieberman, 2001). Cognitive psychologists view development as consisting of acquisition or reorganization of cognitive structures through which human being process and store information.
The child will always follow a certain pattern while learning and as Piaget puts, the stages are grouped to five. The first concept is the schema, which is an internal structure of the knowledge. Here, when new situations are experienced, they are compared to the existing cognitive structure, which is ‘schema’. Children at this stage are active and are trying to create friendships with their social mates (Ochsner and Lieberman, 2001). While learning, they try to associate their peers’ and teachers to certain phenomena, which make them, grasp the concept much easily. Schemas can also be formed through the experiences, the formation of some likes and dislikes in the school environment and common scenarios in the school setup. These schemas act as a point of reference to these children and therefore they are able to remember facts learned much easier.
Secondly, there is the three stage of information process model, which explains that an input will first enter the sensory register and then it will be processed in the short-term memory. After this step, they are transferred to the long-term memory for storage and future retrieval. The child will get the concept from the teacher and try to relate to the schema. These aspects, which create positive relationships, are easily connected and transferred to the long-term memory for storage (Ochsner and Lieberman, 2001). The issues however, which cannot be related to any schema are stored temporarily in the short-term memory to find whether some relationship with a certain phenomena can be formed. The third concept is the concept of meaningful effect where meaningful information is easy to learn and remember and when a learner relates some meaningless information with the schema, it will be easy to remember and retain. This stage occurs after the student has internalized what the teachers and the lecturers have taught (Ellery, 1925).
The fourth concept is the serial position effect, which explains that it is easy to remember items that are in the beginning or those that are at the end of the list rather that those positioned in the middle of the list. Practice effect gives us the fifth concept, which explains that practices or rehearsal done will improve the retention more so when it is a distributed practice.
Because of this form of development and the stage of their child, the children are able to perform well and obtain better grades than they were doing previously. They are able to conceptualize data and deduce relationships and conclusions from them. They are also in a position to handle operations involving numbers since the mind is much more developed. They can perform well therefore, in arithmetic and mathematics since they can be able to infer relationships involving numbers (Sweller, 1994).
Emotional development relies on judgment to understand situations and identify people’s responses and transform their behaviors. At this at the concrete stage, children are more mature and can understand phenomena much faster. The development of the mind i.e. cognitive development at this stage enables the child to think about some issues and give solutions, asking questions where they feel they have not understood. At age 12, therefore, the child is able to control his emotions. This is because he keeps asking questions on those aspects he feels he has not understood and the aspects, which they feel, have not been done to them, yet it was supposed to. Communication is only possible when there is proper interaction and coherence in a group. To enhance interaction and coherence, there is need to adopt socialization, cognitive and behavioral strategies. People in the various levels of cognitive development differ in their aggression levels and therefore, to understand the level of aggression of my clients, I would first understand their level of cognitive development (Ochsner and Lieberman, 2001).
Although their form of thinking and acting emotionally is different from that of the children, there is need to regulate the behavior of this group of students. Parents should provide a favorable home environment where there is unconditional love. Understanding of normal child and adolescent development is important to ensure that an environment that allows the child and adolescent to develop and attain their desires and to discover more about their society is provided (Sweller, 1994). This is to ensure that their dealings will not deter them from becoming part of their own society. Enduring academic difficulties is possible when one has developed in the cognitive, social, and behavioral process. The cognitive development is important for academic excellence because of the several levels that are explained in this theory. The social process enables the students to thrive in the school environment since a humble environment allows students to read well and understand (Sweller, 1994).
Ellery, W. (1925). Forming a New life: heredity, conception, and environment. Princeton:
Princeton University Press
Ochsner, K. and Lieberman, M. (2001). The Emergence of Social Cognitive Neuroscience.
American psychologist. The American Psychological Association. Vol. 56, no. 9, 717-
Sweller, J. (1994). Cognitive load theory Learning difficulty and Instruction design.
Learning and Instruction, 4, 297-322.