Theories of Cognitive Development

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Theories of Cognitive Development by Mind Map: Theories of Cognitive Development

1. Sociocultural Theory Vygotsky’s views emphasize the great influence cultural and social factors have on students and their growth. Society and culture are seen as vital in the promotion of learning and development. Mental processes not only emerge with adult guidance, but also in the collaborative process students and their peers engage in during interaction. Both interactions with adults and with other children are gradually incorporated into their cognitive processes through a process called internalization. Students not only internalize cognitive processes. They also adapt the ideas and strategies from their culture and previous social contexts for their own use.  Based on 21st century learning, this is a theory that is greatly applied across many educational settings. Teachers learn and are encouraged to provide students with cultural experiences and learning tasks that engage them in social interactions with their peers, their families, and their community. There are many possible applications of this main idea from Vygotsky’s theory, as based on my experience in schools, many teachers implement ideas from this theory and it has effective positive results, especially when involving families and the community in classroom learning.

1.1. Application

1.2. A possible classroom application of the sociocultural theory can begin with planning and implementing cooperative learning activities in which students are placed in groups of various levels so they can help each other learn. ELLs can be placed in groups to have discussions on readings to try to make sense of them, to practice dialogues, practice pronunciation amongst each other, or even interview each other.

1.3. Another great way to apply this theory and create opportunities for students truly socializing in their environment and their surrounding culture is to involve them not only in peer activities, but in homefun activities with their families, as well as projects within the community. This enables them to further develop their language skills, while also participating tasks that can be designed to be meaningful to them. These activities can require students to share and express their ideas, views and opinions with each other, while involving their parents and families into the classroom. This is especially effective for ESL students, as these strategies combined promote a safe learning environment.

2. Application Connected Learning Connected Learning framework is a great way to incorporate some of Piaget's theory into application for students of any age. Connected Learning uses technology to bring students from their classroom into their community and beyond to the greater social and academic network around the world. Through these methods students use prior knowledge to form methods and strategies for tackling new information in the classroom. It gives the students a wider access to academic information that they otherwise would not be in contact with. (

3. Assimilation & Accommodation Children are confronted with new information rapidly during their growth and development. They must prior knowledge in order to understand the world around them. This process of assimilation means the child is taking experiences that they understand how to work with and looking through this lens a way to put their new experience into perspective. (Ormund, 2014)

4. Similarities

5. Zone of Proximal Development -the range between tasks that cannot yet be performed independently, but can be performed with help and guidance should be used to promote maximum cognitive development. -The zone between these two ability levels is called the zone of proximal development, and it comprises of learning and problem solving skills on the verge of development with the correct amount of prompting and guidance. -planning instruction with this zone in mind is that it is the challenges in life, not the successes that promote cognitive development.

5.1. Application

5.2. A specific example for English language learners would be bringing a small group of students for guided reading with the teacher. The students can take turns reading out loud, producing input/output and practicing pronunciation, while receiving guided questions and prompting from the teacher to help students reach the higher level within their zone. In any lesson, the teacher can use scaffolding, or graduated intervention, by providing hints and prompting through the different activities according to the various levels. These kinds of activities are especially beneficial for language students, as these strategies can be applied to promote development in reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.

5.3. In today’s field of education, applying the zone of proximal development in daily learning lessons is something that is very common and there have been many variations made to fit various learning settings, objectives, and individual learning needs. By scaffolding instruction, teachers are better able to meet these individual learning needs in our increasingly diverse classrooms, especially in a class with English language learners with various levels of language proficiency. Using this theory makes it possible for all students to succeed, maximize cognitive development, and in my field, successfully acquire a second language.

6. Both theories believe in using social forces to promote higher limits of development.

7. Both have constructivist ideas within theories.

8. Piaget ·      Four specific stages of cognitive development ·      Cognitive development is limited by set stages ·      Adaption to new ideas that cannot be assimilated results in development ·      Motivation to maintain cognitive equilibrium

9. Vygotsky ·      No stages- continuous development ·      Development maximized by using zone of proximal development ·      Knowledge is transmitted by social interactions with adults and other children through cooperative learning strategies and scaffolding techniques. ·      Metacognition and self-talk helps internalize knowledge from social and cultural experiences.

10. What About Piaget? Basic assumptions:  Children... ...learn from experiences rather than absorb info passively (constructivism) ...are always learning new things by using existing schemes (assimilation) or change/add new schemes (accommodation) ...use interaction with physical and social environments to understand relationships  ...are desire a state of equilibrium so they will rearrange existing schema to make better sense of new information  ...think in different ways at different ages (but this is not exactly proven to be true) (Ormrod, 2014)

11. What About Vygotsky? Basic assumptions: Children… …learn physical and cognitive tools for more efficient and productive daily living from their culture… …gradually incorporates evolving social activities into internal mental activities (internalization)… …transform ideas, strategies, and other cognitive tools to suit their own needs and purpose, otherwise known as appropriation (constructivist)   …can accomplish more difficult tasks when assisted by more advanced competent individuals.. …reach maximum cognitive growth through between the range of challenging tasks they cannot yet perform independently, but can perform with the guidance of others (zone of proximal development)… …conform their behaviors to specific standards and expectations as they play by learning to follow a set of rules, learning to plan ahead, think before they act, and practice self-restraint…

12. Comparing and Contrasting       Vygotsky & Piaget      (Lourenço, O, 2012)

13. Exploring their physical and social environment:  According to Piaget, developing children explore their social and physical environments in a hands-on and experimental way that helps them build schema.  (Ormund, 2014)

13.1. Application:   Highscope Curriculum and SLA Piaget's theories can be seen being applied in pre-school and kindergarten schools around the world. One instance of this is the Highscope Curriculum used here in Indonesia in which I have experience with.  The curriculum employs "active participatory learning" where students are encouraged to explore the classroom, choose activities that they are interested in and learn in a way that suits the individual child. They can experiment with art and drawing or move on to puzzles or music. There is no set agenda for any given day and students are encouraged to continuously grow through exploration. (http:/ (Miller & Almon, 2009)