The theory of Cognitive Development by Jean Piaget is a comprehensive theory about the nature and development of human intelligence. It is primarily known as developmental stage theory, but in fact it deals with the nature of knowledge itself and how humans come gradually to acquire, construct and use it. To Piaget, Cognitive Development was a progressive reorganization of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience. Children construct an understanding of the world around them, and then experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment. Moreover, Piaget claims the idea that cognitive development is at the center of human organism and language is contingent on cognitive development. Below, there is first a short description of Piaget’s views about the nature of intelligence and then a description of the stages through which it develops until maturity. However, research has shown that not all persons in all cultures reach formal operations, and most people do not use formal operations in all aspects of their lives.
Educational significance of Cognitive Development
The final two periods of Cognitive Development have little implication for the teachers. During these two periods, i.e. human birth to 6yrs, the child spends most of the time in his/her house and pre-school centers. So the parents plus the pre-school teachers have a major role to play in the Cognitive Development of the children. The first duty of parents plus pre-school teachers is to understand the normal development of children during sensory-motor period. Such understanding will help them to guide successfully along the path of Cognitive Development.
Children should be encouraged plus given opportunities for learning and strengthening behavior through imitation and repetition.
Children should be exposed to different variety of things so that they know about them.
Very interesting plays can be organized by parents plus old children in relation to the objects. The pre-school stage is the period of instruction on early childhood education. The pre-school period is critical for intellectual growth. Pre-school education should prepare children for life in the primary schools; develop in them the social language skills plus motor skills.
According to Piaget, the principal zeal of education is to create people capable of doing new things. People who are creative, inventive and discoverers. The second goal of education is to form critical minds who can verify and not accept everything they are offered. All these developments can be brought about partly by child’s own spontaneous activity and partly through matters set on them.
The teachers must have knowledge of such children thinking and even of why do they think? The first pre-requisite for educating them is to develop effective mode of communication within them. We must try to comprehend what the current operation child is saying, so as to respond in the same mode of discourse.
Stage of cognitive development thinking is the beginning of formal schooling. Education can help children for modification of their existing knowledge plus to learn new materials. Education should not dull the child’s eagerness to know framing a rigid curriculum. The curriculum should be rich and varied to provide experiences to the child so that he/she will have a complete view of the world. Learning failures are result of forcing the child to be born beyond their capacity and teach them abstract concept before concrete expressions. The curriculum plus the instructional materials should be strictly prepared for cognitive operation of the child plus functional operation. Once child enters the functional operation stage, the teacher must encourage problem solving behavior among them. They should be guided to experiment, to verify and to generalize the problematic situation.