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Compare and Contrast - Cognitive Theorists PS240 WK3 - Term Paper Example

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These two individuals set educators and parents alike thinking about the learning potentials and possibilities for children as they progress in age and life experience…
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Compare and Contrast - Cognitive Theorists PS240 WK3
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Compare And Contrast - Cognitive Theorists PS240 WK3 The two trailblazing s in the history of child cognitive psychology are Jean Piaget and Lew Vygotsky. These two individuals set educators and parents alike thinking about the learning potentials and possibilities for children as they progress in age and life experience. Unfortunately only one of the two seems to have had an actual grasp of the child psyche and the abilities that it can be pushed into doing. That is not to say that one is totally wrong and the other is totally correct. However, one had an erroneous basis for his cognitive theory. In order to understand the meaning of the aforementioned statement, one needs to first understand what theory Piaget and Vygotsky presented to the experts in the past.
It was Jean Piaget who first presented the idea that a child is not capable of learning any particular activity or understanding certain thoughts unless he is matured enough to do so. His theory advocates the belief that a child matures in “spurts” and is therefore not a smooth process for the child. Therefore, a child cannot be expected to the mentally mature enough to understand a school curriculum unless his mind is mature enough to grasp the concept and explanation pertaining to his lessons. Although this theory was once formerly accepted as a basis for scheduling a school curriculum, later observations and tests have proven the inaccuracy of this theory due to the continuously evolving and now almost lighting speed grasp of understanding and maturity seen in certain children, regardless of their age.
It was Lev Vygotsky who advocated the theory that a child learns more through observation, while working on a Zone of Proximal Development. His theory is that a child is never too young to understand or undertake any task provided that the young individual is supervised and accompanied by an adult during the learning process. This is a theory that is more in line with the currently observed development of the mental and motor skills of various children in different stages of childhood development.
Piaget and Vygotsky both presented strong arguments for their cases. However, upon further reading and research, and based upon my own observations as well, I find that Vygotskys theory of child cognitive development is the one which is much closer to the truth in terms of child development. Although a child may have uneven maturity as Piaget pointed out, Vygostkys theory proved that the maturity or growing up process of a child can best be assisted and encouraged by the guiding hand of a caring adult such as a father or a mother, depending upon the scenario that the child is facing.
It is because of the rapidly maturing brain of the modern child that most parents and teachers are now encouraged to treat children as individuals capable of more complex understanding and movement, based upon the proper guidance and explanation of their elder watcher. This has been proven to be effective in enhancing a childs self confidence and ability to experiment and test his abilities, pushing it to safe limits that allow him to grow various facets of his child maturity.
Take for example the case of a little girl interested in baking. When a parent provides the supportive platform for the child to explore that particular interest by encouraging the child to say, bake brownies with the parents “help”, the sense of accomplishment within the child is enhanced and encouraged. Successfully baking a batch of brownies will encourage the child to try other pastries and maybe stoke an interest in cooking as well. Thus the parent has provided the child with a supervised platform by which a childs independence and sense of maturity are enhanced. Eventually, the time will come when the child will be able to do the task safely and accurately on his own. That is a scaffolding that a parent can offer and build upon with a child and that foundation, is built on Vygotskys theory of cognitive development.
Atherton, J.S. (2011) Learning and Teaching; Piagets developmental theory. Learning and Teaching Info. Retrieved 25 July 2012 from
Maccarelli, S. (2006). Vygotskys theory of cognitive development. Yahoo Voices!.
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