Ashford University: EDU 338
What is cognitive development? “Another way to approach development is to focus on the thought process and the construction of knowledge. In cognitive-developmental theory, the key is how people think and how thinking changes over time” (Kail, R. V. & Cavanaugh, J. C., chap. 1).
“The teacher-organizer should know not only his [her] own science but also be well versed in the details of the development of the child’s or adolescent’s mind.” -Piaget.
Piaget is saying that the teacher has her own point of view or perspective on science and that is very important. To be a Teacher is very important to guide your student’s with your ideas and allow them to have their own perspectives on the science at hand. For example: When teaching the students about the wind and what objects may or may not blow in the wind or with a fan, I the teacher already know what is going to happen. It is my job to let the children figure this out on their own. I would have them pick and describe objects, weigh them, and then ask open-ended questions about the materials at hand. This allows the children to see from their own perspective and results.
Asking open-ended questions and encouraging/allowing each child to participate helps the teacher to fill out a learning profile of each individual child. This is where we as educators get to know our children and where they are in their level of curriculum. When the teacher is ready to set out activities for curriculum it is very important to know where each and every student in the class is. It is a good tool where we can make up different groups and alter the curriculum where the children can work at the same level. Some groups may be at higher lever or lower levels. Some teachers may prefer to mix it up and have a couple students at a higher level in the lower level to help their peers in the activity.
Teachers must emphasize the critical role that experiences–or interactions with the surrounding environment–play in student learning. For example, instructors have to take into account the role that fundamental concepts, such as the permanence of objects, play in establishing cognitive structures.
The main objective of cognitive development is that children develop skills and abilities in more or less predictable sequences. While not all children develop at the same rate, they do all pass through common phases of cognitive, physical, and social development.
“Jeanne Ormrod’s Educational Psychology: Developing Learners serve as founding tenets of cognitive development and provide important background for teachers:
• At different ages, children think in different ways.
• Children actively construct meaning.
• A child’s cognitive development builds on prior knowledge.
• Challenging student thought promotes cognitive development.
• Social interactions enable cognitive growth.”
To complement our learners we find out what their Learning Profile they are at. Are they hands on, visual, do they need the activity read out loud with them together more than once, can they read it alone, do they prefer to do their work alone. These are just a few things that will help our students to progress in their work. Some children would like to have a buddy for moral support even though they can do it on their own. Having an observation from the teacher of the student’s gives great insight as to where t and how far the children can go on their own or socially. For example, Mary likes to do her work quietly alone and does well without help, but
John needs a little guidance, and does better with the instructions read aloud more than one time and then he can understand what he needs to do. On the other hand, June is at a lower level but prefers to sit with the higher level group so that she may absorb the chatter of the activity at hand. All children are different. Each and every child have their own way to cognitively understand the activity at hand. As a teacher, this is my job to know which child needs what type of help that influences their cognitive skills and sparks their minds to progress in their activity.
“Piaget identified four stages of cognitive development: the sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. Piaget believed that environment can speed up learning (e.g., with quality child care and schools) or slow down learning” (Groark. Chap 3.3). Piaget believed children are naturally motivated to learn. I believed that Piaget was a great theorist and a very good theorist to start off in child development. Piaget has taught many things to help Teachers of preschool age and young children. I find that all the theorists have many great parts and some not so good parts to their theories. Piaget and Vygotsky are my favorite. The most important part to me about Vygotsky’s theory is his Zone of Proximal Development. “The ZPD is the difference between what a child can do independently and what can be accomplished with adult guidance. This idea is the basis for the current instructional strategy that requires the caregiver to provide maximum help to a child when the child is learning a new task” (Groark, Chap. 3.4) I honestly feel that to compare and contrast the two theorists would be against my career choice in becoming a preschool Teacher. The combination of parts of both theories from Piaget and Vygotsky is what has created the greatness in today’s child development and education. I must say that they are both great theorists of their times and have helped us to become better educators and understand what, why and we are doing to create better-educated minds in both students and Teachers. References
Groark, C., McCarthy, S. & Kirk, A. (2014). Early Child Development: From Theory to Practice. Bridgepoint Education: San Diego, CA.
Kail, R. V. & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2015). Human development: A life-span view (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage