Piaget and Cognitive Development

Piaget and Cognitive Development
Piaget saw cognitive development as an adaptive process. They gradually learn more about their environment and adapt. Children go through four stages. The preoperational stage is the second stage, and children go through this stage between the ages of two to seven. Children?s representational thought grows in this stage, but they have problems with logic. The concrete operational stage is the third stage, and children go through this stage between the ages of seven to 11. Children?s thought is more like an adult, and they are much more logical
Preoperational children are unable to conserve. Conservation is the understanding that even when the outward appearance of an object changes, it does not mean the physical characteristics have changes. Children have a problem with this because their thinking is rigid. They can only think of one aspect of a situation at a time, and they focus on the way things appear at the moment. Concrete operational children usually do not have problems with conservation because they are more logical.
Piaget developed several conservation tasks for children to prove his theories about preoperational children and concrete operational children. I performed a few of these tasks on my six and eleven-year-old brothers. I showed them two identical tall glasses of water, and I asked them if they had the same amount of water. They both told me that they did. I then poured the water in one glass into a short, wide glass. The appearance was changed, and I asked them if the glasses still had the same amount of water. They both said that they did. I think my six-year-old brother knew because he is almost out of the preoperational stage, and he is very logical for his age. My eleven-year-old brother knew because his logic is more like an adult. I then showed them two rows of checkers with the same amount of checkers in each row. I asked them if there was the same amount of checkers in each row, and they both said there was. I then spaced the checkers out in the top row and asked them if there was the same amount of checkers in each row. They both said there was. I think my six-year-old brother knew there was still the same amount of checkers in each row because he was able to count the checkers. My eleven-year-old brother knew because he could count, and his thought is more like an adult.
Reversibility is the ability to go through a series of stages and then go back through the stages. Preoperational children are unable to do this kind of thinking. They perform transductive reasoning, which is reasoning from particular to particular. They think more in terms of cause and effect. Concrete operational children are better at reversible thinking.
Piaget interviewed children to prove his theories. I asked my little brother a few questions dealing with reversible thinking. I asked them why the clouds move. My six-year-old brother said, ?The wind.? He was thinking in terms of cause and effect like Piaget said a child in his stage would. My eleven-year-old brother said, ?The rotation of the earth.? He is thinking more logically like an adult. I asked them both whey the sun is up in the morning and the moon is out at night. My six-year-old brother said, ?The earth turns a different way.? He has going in the right direction, but he has problems explaining it. This makes sense for a child in his stage. My eleven-year-old brother said, ?When America is facing the sun, the sun?s out. When it rotates through the day, we end up facing the moon, so we see the moon.? He is able to explain it much better because of the stage he is in. He still had a little trouble because he does not yet think completely like an adult. I then asked them both why boats float. My six-year-old brother said, ?Because it isn?t heavy, and the hole that is cut in it for the people to be in it makes it float.? It is a hard question, but he took a guess. He had a hard time explaining it. This is normal for a child in his stage according to Piaget. My eleven-year-old brother said, ?Because they have a triangular shape, and the design of it makes it float.? He is thinking more logically, but he still has a little trouble with the question because he is not yet thinking completely like an adult. This is normal for a child his stage.
Preoperational children have problems with hierarchical classification. They are not capable of logical operations, so they cannot organize objects into classes and sub-classes on the basis of similarities and differences between the groups. Concrete operational children also have problems with hierarchical classification because they do not think as logically as an adult.
Piaget developed the class inclusion problem, and performed it on children to study hierarchical classification. I performed the class inclusion problem on my brother. I showed them a set of three blue flowers and a set of eight yellow flowers. I asked them which was more, the yellow flowers or the flowers. They both said there were more yellow flowers. Their answer goes along with Piaget?s studies. My seven-year-old brother did not answer the question correctly because he is in the preoperational stage and does not think logically enough to understand the sub-classes. My eleven-year-old brother could not answer the question because concrete operational children still have problems with hierarchical classification.

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