Piagetian Theory




JeanPiaget was an influential psychologist whose works are evident inmost school program curriculum in various parts of the world. TheSwiss psychologist was instrumental in developing the Piagetiantheory which is of course named after him and played an importantrole in describing intellectual development in children till theybecome adults. Jean Piaget became first involved with childrendevelopment when he was working to develop French translations ofEnglish intelligence test. Piaget found that that children gave outthe wrong answers due to their logical thinking. Piaget therealization that children were not less intelligent than adults butrather their thinking was very different from that of adults. It isfrom this realization that Piaget developed the four cognitive stagesof development in children learning process. As an 11 grade teacherfor a physics class, Piaget’s theory of cognitive development wouldhelp me develop a curriculum that is relevant and consistent to the16 year old cognitive abilities through challenging their mentalabilities and by apply a variety of concrete experiences in class.

Accordingto Jean Piaget, children learning process can be broken down intofour stages. The first stage is referred to as the sensorimotor stageand it is experienced at the infancy and toddler stage when childrenhave 0 to 2 years. At this stage children learn through manipulatingobjects and sensory experiences. In the sage of preoperational,children learn to use language and represent objects with words andimages. At this stage children don’t understand logic and otherpeople’s point of view. This is experienced between the ages of 2-7 years. The concrete operational stage is characterized by childrendeveloping their logical capabilities and understanding that theirown feelings and thoughts are unique to them. This is usuallyexperienced when kids are between 7 and 11 years of age. Finally,there is the formal operation stage where children develop deductivereasoning abilities and have an understanding for abstract ideas.There is also more development in logic reasoning as children aremore capable of analyzing problems with potential solutionsespecially those that revolve around science. In a physics class, theinstructor should focus on a series of learning process that willassist use their abstract thinking as well as develop their deductivereasoning and finally learn how to use methodologies such as formulasin calculations to arrive at answers to problems.

Asa physics teacher for 11thgrade students I would utilize the Piagetian theory of development inlearning processes by applying the following measures in thecurriculum. First, I would have the students use deductive logic toevaluate the outcome of various events in the classroom. For example,I would introduce the class to hypothetical situations and evaluatehow they arrive at their answers in the physics class. Secondly, Iwould test the students’ abstract thinking abilities by applyingthe same hypothetical situations where students would need to arriveat a decision depending on the set of given alternatives. Tests onabstract though assess the students planning processes as they chooseoutcomes based on the consequences of their actions, and not fromtheir past experiences. For example, I would simulate a case studyproblem for the students in the physics in one of the learningactivities in the curriculum. The case study will have a story basedproblem where students are required to only utilize the necessaryinformation in the story in order to arrive to a solution. The casewill also have a mix of problem solving calculations. In addition, Iwould ensure that the curriculum has a series of experiments inphysics at the end of the week. The experiments will include a set ofinstructions for the students to follow and later test theirdeductive reasoning at the end of the experiment when students jotdown what they learnt from the experiment.