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Piaget's Theory of Constructivism

The Theories of Jean Piaget

What is Piaget's Theory of Development?

Who Was Jean Piaget?

Jean Piaget was a philosopher from Switzerland. He was also a natural scientist that was famous for the work that he did studying cognitive development and learning theories encompassed in his view of "genetic epistemology". At the young age of eleven he attended high school at Switzerland Latin wherein one of his short pieces was the start of his scientific career.

Piaget's theory of constructivism impacts learning curriculum because teachers have to make a curriculum plan which enhances their students' logical and conceptual growth. Teacher must put emphasis on the significant role that experiences-or connections with the adjoining atmosphere-play in student education. For example, teachers must bear in mind the role those fundamental concepts, such as the permanence of objects, plays when it comes to establishing cognitive structures.

Piaget's theory of constructivism argues that people produce knowledge and form meaning based upon their experiences. Piaget's theory covered learning theories, teaching methods, and education reform. Two of the key components which create the construction of an individual's new knowledge are accommodation and assimilation. Assimilating causes an individual to incorporate new experiences into the old experiences. This causes the individual to develop new outlooks, rethink what were once misunderstandings, and evaluate what is important, ultimately altering their perceptions. Accommodation, on the other hand, is reframing the world and new experiences into the mental capacity already present. Individuals conceive a particular fashion in which the world operates. When things do not operate within that context, they must accommodate and reframing the expectations with the outcomes.

Apart from learning theories, Piaget's theory of constructivism addresses how learning actually occurs, not focusing on what influences learning. The role of teachers is very important. Instead of giving a lecture the teachers in this theory function as facilitators whose role is to aid the student when it comes to their own understanding. This takes away focus from the teacher and lecture and puts it upon the student and their learning. The resources and lesson plans that must be initiated for this learning theory take a very different approach toward traditional learning as well. Instead of telling, the teacher must begin asking. Instead of answering questions that only align with their curriculum, the facilitator in this case must make it so that the student comes to the conclusions on their own instead of being told. Also, teachers are continually in conversation with the students, creating the learning experience that is open to new directions depending upon the needs of the student as the learning progresses. Teachers following Piaget's theory of constructivism must challenge the student by making them effective critical thinkers and not being merely a "teacher" but also a mentor, a consultant, and a coach.

Some strategies for teacher include having students working together and aiding to answer one another's questions. Another strategy includes designating one student as the "expert" on a subject and having them teach the class. Finally, allowing students to work in groups or pairs and research controversial topics which they must then present to the class.

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