Episode 96 - Jean Piaget: Theories of Cognitive Development - 16:1 - An Education Podcast Episode 96 - Jean Piaget: Theories of Cognitive Development - 16:1 - An Education Podcast

Episode 96 - Jean Piaget: Theories of Cognitive Development

October 26, 2023

Educational Philosophy & Psychology

Education Headline Roundup

This week in education headlines:

  • Ohio public education system restructuring can proceed while lawsuits are pending.
  • Reading Recovery Council of North America sues Ohio over ban on “three-cueing” approach to literacy acquisition.
  • China’s new patriotic education law aims to step up patriotic education in schools, universities, and religious institutions.

Jean Piaget: Theories of Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was a Swiss developmental psychologist who is widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the field of child psychology. He is best known for his theory of cognitive development, which proposes that children progress through four distinct stages as they grow and learn. Piaget’s work has had a profound influence on our understanding of how children think and learn, and his theories are still widely discussed in education, psychology, and child development today.

Piaget’s theory of “genetic epistemology” elaborates upon the idea that children actively construct their own knowledge of the world on top of hereditary cognitive structures. He believed that children learn through two main processes: assimilation and accommodation. (Assimilation is the process of incorporating new information into existing knowledge structures. Accommodation is the process of adjusting existing knowledge structures to fit new information.) Piaget proposed that children progress through four distinct stages of cognitive development:

  • Sensorimotor stage (birth to age 2)
  • Preoperational stage (ages 2-7)
  • Concrete operational stage (ages 7-11)
  • Formal operational stage (ages 11 and beyond

Piaget’s work has had a lasting impact on our understanding of child development despite weathering a number of criticisms (including methodological concerns emerging from the fact that his own children served as subjects of his clinical observations!). Piaget’s lasting influence can be observed in constructivist classrooms, approaches to inquiry-based learning, and developmental assessments.

Sources & Resources:

10tv – Ohio court OKs GOP-backed education overhaul, says stalling would cause ‘chaos’ as lawsuit continues

NBC4i – State board of education will lose powers after judge declines to block law by: Sarah Szilagy and Natalie Fahmy

The Economist – Rule by law, with Chinese characteristics

The Economist – Why does Xi Jinping want patriotic education to be written into law?

Radio Free Asia – China moves to boost ‘patriotic education,’ including in Hong Kong by By Hsia Hsiao-hwa and Jing Wei for RFA Mandarin, and Gigi Lee for RFA Cantonese 

NBC4i – Gov. Mike DeWine’s ‘science of reading’ mandate under attack in court by: Sarah Szilagy

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About Piaget

Berkeley Graduate Division – Cognitive Constructivism

Association for Psychological Science – The Enduring Influence of Jean Piaget by: J. Roy Hopkins

APA PsycNet – The mind’s staircase: Exploring the conceptual underpinnings of children’s thought and knowledge. by: Robbie Case

Epistemology: The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Wikipedia: Jean Piaget

Britannica Article: Jean Piaget

Cognitive Development: The Theory of Jean Piaget from Foundations of Educational Technology by Penny Thompson

Sorbonne Université

Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development (graphic), by Jennifer S. Groff

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, By Shoshana Zuboff

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