What is Piaget's Theory of Development?
The Piaget development theory has made a lasting impression on pedagogical studies, with some modern researchers and teachers continuing to apply the theory of the famous Swiss psychologist in today's world. Jean Piaget worked tirelessly at studying the workings of a child's brain, and the outcomes he reached from this effort were quite remarkable, as we are about to see.
It was only after a number of years devoted to studying the workings of the child's brain through intensive observations that the Piaget development theory began to form. Jean worked alongside young people to determine the exact changes they went through during maturity, and it was from this that he noted the changes in cognitive structure at different stages in one's childhood.
Sensorimotor applies to 0 to 2 year olds, preparation to 3 to 7 year olds, concrete operation to 8-11 year olds, and formal operation to those aged 12 to 15. During the first stage, basic subconscious actions can be made, before conscious requests for food and attention become known. All of these things should be done on an almost subconscious level by the age of 2.
Aged 3 to 7, egocentrism is at the helm of the typical child's personality. Everything revolves around them, they feel - they are the center of everything. Don't confuse this concept with selfishness - this isn't what it truly is. It is simply a natural stage that the vast majority of young people progress through as part of their natural development, according to Piaget.
The next stage of the developmental theory devised by Piaget is where logic begins to form. Children who slot into this category are increasingly aware of others around them and the workings of the surrounding world. When they arrive at an age between 12 to 15 - depending on the rate of their development - this logical understanding will be concrete, and they will begin to reflect on their current life experiences and what they wish to achieve as they age.
Using these boundaries, Piaget stated that there are some things a child cannot learn under certain conditions until they reach a particular age. He implied that no matter how much a young person tried in obtaining new knowledge, this would not be humanely possible in specific circumstances purely due to the fact that their brain wasn't ready to go through the next routine change.
Combined, these ideas are what Piaget's developmental theory is built around. There are other concepts that slot into his psychological research, including classification, accommodation, decentration and assimilation, but these have minimal influence on the overall meaning.
The theory has been used as a guide for how the curriculum should be built to match the needs of pupils from certain age groups, but some people are unhappy about this. These individuals feel that Piaget's guidelines are too strict - a claim supported by the sheer number children who achieve certain things considerably earlier or later than the Swiss psychologist suggests is the norm. Opponents of the theory continue by suggesting that Jean's ideas don't take into account the role of other people in helping young people to learn.
Conclusively, the debate over whether Piaget's developmental theory has a place in modern society looks set to continue. However, what we know for sure is that it has already had a huge influence on the ideas behind pedagogy.