Cognitive development

This week’s reading on Chapter 2 focused on cognitive development and the different theories that go along with it. The first thing I learned is that there are two main theories on cognitive development, Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s. I learned that these two theories differ from each other. Piaget’s theory is that individuals actively create knowledge through direct experiences with people, objects and ideas that surround them. Vygotsky’s theory, however, focuses on children learning from their own experiences and their cultural settings. Another thing I learned is that we can not say whether development is shaped more by nature or nurture because they both play key roles in a child’s development. Everyone develops at different rates and each have their own key factors that partake in their personal development. Along with these I learned what a student’s zone of proximal development is. I learned that it’s the point where a task becomes too hard for a child to complete on their own and so it is the right point for an adult to step in and help guide them.

One connection that I made is that, as a teacher, knowing and understanding a student’s zone of proximal development is a skill that I will need to learn and master to be able to give my students ample time to figure things out on their own but also not let it go so far that they give up. In my experience as a student, teachers didn’t always have this understanding. In certain situations I would be frustrated when they intervened too soon as I could have done it on my own. There is also the opposite of that where I became discouraged when help didn’t come at the right time.

After reading this chapter my question is how do teachers learn to balance both Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories in a way that benefits each of their student’s and helps them all excel?

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