Essay on Jean Piaget and the Four Major Stages of Cognitive Theory

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Pages: 4


The patriarch of cognitive theory was Jean Piaget(1896-1980). Piaget was a biologist, who became interested in human thinking while working to evaluate the results of child intelligence tests. As Piaget worked he noted the correlation between the child's age and the type of error they made. Intrigued by the discovery that certain errors occurred predictably at certain age, he began to focus his time and energy to the further investigation of his findings. Starting with his children and moving on to other students, Piaget developed what is known as the Cognitive theory, a behaviorism theory which emphasizes the structure and development of thought
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While children tend to think very concretely and specifically in earlier stages, the ability to think about abstract concepts emerges during the formal operational stage. Instead of relying solely on previous experiences, children begin to consider possible outcomes and consequences of actions. This type of thinking is important in long-term planning in life.
Piaget's focus on quality development had an important impact on education. While Piaget did not specifically apply his theory to education, many educational programs today are built upon the belief that students should be taught at the level for which they are developmentally prepared. In addition a number of instructional strategies have been derived from Piaget's work. These strategies include providing a supportive environment, social interactions and peer teaching, and helping children learn from mistakes and improve on their thought processes.
Piaget’s theory fits into today’s society because as we see, children are always learning throughout every stage of their lives. They begin with touching, sucking, and squeezing. Then move along to learning language and interacting with their environment, before learning logical and abstract concepts. While each stage might not be exact to the age group, all stages provide building blocks necessary to move on to the next stage of life.

Works cited
1.) "Cognitive Learning Theory |