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Theories of Teaching and Learning

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Lavern Haughton White

EDGR 535: Theories of Teaching and Learning

Dr. Jennifer Halpert

May 5, 2018


In the world in which we live in research of the past is necessary for a view into our world and its complexities. I chose researcher John Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development. When I look back to where my passion grew as an educator it began when I was a child growing up in a middle-class home where I was sitting on the floor with my two sisters teaching them their sounds, how to hold the pencil, write their names and sing the alphabet song. My sisters are grown women in their mid-forties and still give credit to me for helping them as young children during those early years in their life. My sisters were about 4 and 5 years old.


What Research says about Cognitive Development

        Huitt and Hummel (2003) indicated Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development stated that Piaget was interested in learning about why children learn, and philosophy and he is often compared to Lev Vygotsky who researched social interaction as the first choice of cognitive behavior. Piaget is the most influential researcher of modern time.  He is the most recognizable person all over the world.  Piaget’s interest was of Benit’s IQ test and he became interested in how people think and the answers he received were qualitative and different.

Piaget’s theory is based on the premise that the developing child builds cognitively structures in mental maps, schemes or concepts for understanding and responding to physical experiences in his or her environment.  

Piaget’s Cognitive Development Stages

Huitt et al (2003) indicated Piaget’s theory culminate into three stages: The Sensorimotor stage, Pre-operational stage and Concrete Operational Stage. In the Preoperational stage for two to seven years old. In this stage a child is not able to concentrate abstractly and needs concrete physical situations to comprehend. In this area, the teacher will be able to plan a developmentally appropriate curriculum that enhances the students logical and conceptual growth. The instruction should emphasize the student’s experiences and interactions with their own environment and place importance on play making it the center of the curriculum. To achieve this goal, learning centers, balance literacy, cooperative learning and differentiated learning styles can be employed.

In Piaget’s processing of his theory he indicated that assimilation and accommodation were used to adapt to the world in which children learn. Assimilation is using different and transforming environments such as learning centers and differing learning styles to develop and create preexisting cognitive structures. Accommodation is the process of changing the cognitive elements such as balanced literacy and using cooperative learning to receive something from the classroom environment (Huitt et al, 2003).

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