1010HSV Short essay Assessment 1

Submitted By Narelle-Vaak
Words: 762
Pages: 4


Case Study of Jordan Walker: Cognitive Development in Adolescence

Narelle L. Vaak

Student Number:


Course Code:



Kerry Smith

Tutorial Time:

Friday; 10am – 12pm

Due Date:

2nd April 2015

Date Submitted:

26th March 2015

Word Count:





Travelling abroad as a 16 year old exchange student to a culturally disciplined country such as Japan was by far an enriching experience in the realm of cognitive development for student Jordan Walker. With adolescence encompassing the period from 12 years through to 18-20 years and with this period linked to a brain growth spurt (Sigelman,
Rider, & De George-Walker, 2013), the opportunity to grow through language and communication, to progress in terms of rational thinking and problem solving, and the chance to experience life through eyes of an alternate cultural perspective, provided the perfect platform to expand on her development in the cognitive domain.
The concept of learning a second language for communication purposes was a challenge for Jordan as she found both the spoken and written dialogue of the Japanese language to be quite diverse in comparison to the English language. This could be due to adolescence being a time when the ability to acquire a second language becomes more difficult due to a decreased capacity to acquire the phonology and syntax of a second language (Nippold, 1957). Despite this, a language scientist Steven Pinker argued that adolescents can learn a second language as long as they are motivated, receive adequate quality instruction and have the platform to practice sufficiently (Pinker, 1994). This supports
Vygotsky’s social learning theory encompassing the concept of proximal learning through social interaction. Jordan’s Japanese language skills developed over time; however an interesting point to note is that learning was initially easier with interaction of a younger cohort of fellow host students due to simpler sentence structures and vocabulary.
Problem solving and rational thinking were areas of significant expansion for Jordan with the daily challenge of conversions of foreign currency. According to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, adolescence is the time that individuals move into the formal operations stage of cognitive development (Gerrig, Zimbardo, Campbell, Cumming, &
Wilkes, 2010) incorporating advanced mathematical reasoning and abstract thinking. The



conversion from Japanese Yen to the Australian dollar equivalent was necessary for Jordan for the purposes of budgeting, affordability and value for money. Logical and consequential thinking were required to ensure that Jordan had enough money to last the period that she expected to remain in Japan.
Social perspectives and opinions were also challenging for Jordan in regard to cultural and social understanding. Japan is quite disciplined in regards to their culture, tradition and customs with great emphasis placed on hierarchy and respect. In line once again with Vygotsky’s social learning theory, Jordan’s cross-cultural understanding and appreciation grew through participation in ceremonies, celebrations and day to day life within the Japanese community. A study by Stitsworth supports this transition stating