EDF 6215 Learning Principles

Fall 1997

Module 7-- Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory


Learning Objectives 

  • Chapter 9
  • Content Overview 


            *One problem working on the web is that visitng a link creates a change in the color of future cases of that link.  Therefore, as in the case of the following examples, you can predict answers based on which links change colors and which do not.  To stop this so that your learning remains at its maximum- it is necessary to change the color of all links prior to you starting. Click here to change the color of all practice links.

        1) Review Karl Drunker's problem solving process described in the module on Gestalt theory.
            Compare and contrast this model with Piaget's description.

        2) Divide a sheet of paper into 4 parts, labeling each with the title of 1 stage of cognitive
            development.  Then, consider a topic that you have some experience teaching.  Consider
            how you would approach teaching this concept to students at each of Piaget's stages.
            Focus on the qualitative differences in students, not the quantitative ones.

        3) Visit The Awesome Library  or some other lesson plan site.  Choose a lesson plan or
            topic that is of interest to you.  Modify the plan's objectives and strategies so that you
            can maintain similar objectives for students at the pre-operational level, the concrete
            operational level, and the formal operational level.  

    Answer the following true/false questions

        a) Intelligence is considered to be adaptation to the environment

                TRUE                FALSE

        b) The adaptation and growth of biological systems provides the basis for understanding
            the development of intelligence.

                TRUE                FALSE

        c)  Intelligence constructs the structure that is needs in order to interact with the environment.

                TRUE                FALSE

        d) Knowledge is defined as the continuous interaction between the learner and the
            environment and the two cannot be separated.

                TRUE                FALSE

        e) Knowledge, because it is a process, is composed of only subjective elements.

                TRUE                FALSE

        f) The three factors essential for cognitive growth are the physical environment,
            maturation, and equilibration.

                TRUE                FALSE

    By choosing "true" or "false," identify which of the following teacher activities are recommended by Piagetian theory.

        a) Demonstrating the uses of Cuisenaire rods

                TRUE                FALSE

        b) Providing counter-examples for students to consider

                TRUE                FALSE

        c) Tailoring exercises for individual children

                TRUE                FALSE

        d) Implementing open-ended prediction questions

                TRUE                FALSE

    Match each of the following characteristics with the appropriate developmental period.

        a) Thinking becomes independent of perceptual cues
            Sensorimotor        Preoperational        Concrete Operational        Formal Operational

        b) Reasoning from the hypothetical to the actual stuation begins
            Sensorimotor        Preoperational        Concrete Operational        Formal Operational

        c) Qualitative identities (a=a) are established

            Sensorimotor        Preoperational        Concrete Operational        Formal Operational

        d) Lack of awareness of contradictory statements occurs frequently
            Sensorimotor        Preoperational        Concrete Operational        Formal Operational

        e) The concept of object permanence is developed
            Sensorimotor        Preoperational        Concrete Operational        Formal Operational

        f) Thinking about life plans begins

            Sensorimotor        Preoperational        Concrete Operational        Formal Operational
    Links to Resources 


    Read the following Gedanken.  Once complete, I encourage you to consider the variety of issues that are raised, as well as the possible reasons that the assignment is written the way it is.  Once you have crafted your response, e-mail me your response.
      Gedanken While on your long-delayed and much-deserved European vacation, you come down with a cold.  A local physician recommends that you spend some time recuperating in the Swiss Alps. You are staying at a quaint and charming spa. The innkeeper is a dear, but you are bored out of your skull.

    One afternoon, you sneak out of your bed (you are supposed to be taking a nap!) and you explore the attic of the inn. It is a very dusty place, and it is obvious that no one goes there. Whilst rummaging around, you come upon a trunk. When you open the trunk, you are surprised to find a manuscript written in scientific French. Upon examination, the manuscript turns out to have been written by Piaget himself.  It details the nature of his previously undiscovered fifth stage of cognitive development.

    Briefly describe the nature of that new stage.

        Hint:  Remember that the key to Piaget's theory lies in the qualitative difference among various age groups.  As you consider a fifth stage, think about how you believe adults are qualitatively different than adolescents.  Additionally, as you are writing, you will want to remember that I will be looking for indications that you understand the nature of Piaget's theory, not just an objective description of the stages.


    Alternative 2

    Various theorists have applied Piaget's ideas in a wide variety of practice settings. There are teachers, counselors, authors, and policy makers of all types who use Piagetian ideas to accomplish their work. Choose a specific setting (a classroom may be easiest) and a general topic. Design a series of lessons to teach the general concept(s) to children at the pre-operational level, concrete operational level, and formal operational level. Be sure to include for each level specific information about the learning goals and intervention strategies planned. Also, in your writing, be sure to include enough information about Piagetian theory to demonstrate your knowledge of the reasons the chosen activities and learning goals are appropriate choices for the developmental group being addressed.


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