Jean Piaget Vs. Vygotsky
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Through research it is shown how important and how still till today these two psychologists are relevant. The studies of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky demonstrate important theories from their time that are still relevant today. Each of the two theories has similarities but, also have large differences that separate the two ideas. Each of the theories are meant for an educational setting and this will explain what they are, how they are the same, and why they are different. Vygotskys theory was a social development theory. He believes this development started when someone is born and continued until death. His whole idea revolved around the thought that children learn and develop through social interactions. He believed all social learning would lead to cognitive growth. Play, conversation, experiences, would all aid in the cognitive growth of a child and this is how they progress developmentally. Vygotsky had two other ideas that helped put his theory into perspective. They were the Zone of Proximal Development and Six major assumptions that was almost an outline for this cognitive development theory.
The theory of Zone of Proximal Development was described as, the gap between what a child can do alone and what a child can do with help from adults or peers who are more capable than the child. He believed and observed that child on their own can only learn and progress so much. Along with seeing what others do, like parents and peers and experiencing different socialization they would grow cognitively. Vygotsky saw that a child needs someone to show them how to do a task outside of their range. Once the child learns how to complete the task the other person is no longer needed. His six major assumptions change slightly but they are, children develop through informal and formal conversations with adults. The first few years of life are the most important for development, as this is where thought and language become independent. More complex mental activities begin as simple social activities. Children can perform more difficult tasks with the help of a more advanced individual. Tasks that are challenging promote cognitive development growth. And lastly, Play is important and allows children to grow cognitively.
Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development was based on different stages of a child’s life. These stages were based from infants to young adults. His theory is made by ideas of how children interact with their environment and how they combine the new knowledge and information into existing knowledge. The Four stages of a young child’s development were broken down into years and certain ages. The stages are birth to two years, two to seven years, seven to eleven years, and eleven to adulthood. He believed Development has an endpoint. Development to him did not carry on throughout your life, at some point in adulthood it has stopped. The sensorimotor intelligence stage occurs from birth to around one to two years. The following stage is preoperational thinking. This happens from around two to three years to approximately seven years of age. The concrete operational stage occurs from around seven years of age to around twelve. The final stage of Piaget’s theory is the Formal operational stage. This started around twelve to fourteen and last till adulthood.
All stages have certain cognitive growth aspects that happen in those ages. Piaget thought children are active learners who gain knowledge from their environments. All experiences and things happening around the child are input to their development, the interaction with physical and social environments is key for cognitive development. Vygotsky and Piaget do have similarities between their two theories of cognitive development. Each of their own ideas has key thoughts that are the same. The biggest similarities are both philosophers believed children are active learners and cognitive growth happens through social interactions. Both Psychologists saw that development was spurred on by social skills. Children need to be challenged and explore their environments. And children needed to be able to take in new information while balancing it with already gained information. Piaget thought that development declines with age, while so did Vygotsky but not to the extent Piaget believed. Each philosopher saw that speech was an important part of cognitive growth and saw it being a needed part of overall development. They both had different views on egocentric speech, which involves a child talking to him or herself for self guidance, usually through an activity.
Even though Vygotsky and Piaget both thought it was important. The two philosophers had large differences that set their two theories apart. Piaget felt that learning happened individually and independently, through different experiences. A child for would be presented with a situation and depending on what their stage in cognitive development, one of the four stages. Sensorymotor, preoperational, concrete operations, or formal operations, they will think, act, and change what they will their approach should be. While Vygotsky’s view is that all people, not just children learn socially as well as individually. He believed in guided learning and introduced the idea of Zone Of Proximal Development, in which a child is left to work independently. And through a task that is at their developmental level. They should be encouraged to perform tasks slightly beyond their current developmental stage with some guidance. In my opinion he largest difference is that the two had separate ideas on when cognitive development stopped. Vygotsky felt that there was no end to Cognitive development.
It just changed and progresses to meet where you are in your life. Begins at birth and whenever you die is the end point of cognitive development. While Piaget thought differently. He believed there was an end point that you went through different stages, depending on age then it stopped. Some time in adulthood the cognitive development wouldn’t progress anymore, and it ended far before death. Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky were both brilliant philosophers who created amazing theories to help those in the field to understand cognitive development in children. Their theories may be a little different but, the similarities show that some things in cognitive development are worth looking at and must help a child learn. It is interesting to see how these two theories created so long ago still can hold up today and who is to say which is right and wrong. These ideas can be used in an educational setting to help think about how a child must learn and how important it is for the child to be social starting from a very young age.