link: Piaget  

                         LEARNING THEORY AND OBSERVATIONS OF COGNITIVE STAGES

                                           OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT: JEAN PIAGET

                                                                 

Theme: Piaget set out to answer the question 'what is the origin of knowledge' in terms of child cognitive development with the information processing approach to psychology. He describes  the gradual unfolding over time of genetic programs of development in terms of a  'cognitive-developmental theory' involving 'cognitive structures'. According to his 'constructivist model of the origin of knowledge', knowledge is not a mirror of the world (raditional paradigm) but is created or 'constructed' from the individual's continuous revision and reorganisation of cognitive structures in conjunction with experience. The mind is actively engaged in processing information from the environment as a result of the instinctive tendency to adapt effectively to it. 

Traditional paradigm of education  In the traditional paradigm, the teacher’s role  is considered to be the transmission of collective social values from one generation to the next. Children are expected to be obedient and to imitate the adult. Though these are natural characteristics, little attention is paid to children’s growth needs and the laws of psychological development.The exclusivity of the two is the basis for the passive methods of traditional education;

Cognitive development was thought to be brought about by language   Previous to the work of Jean Piaget, educational theorists generally believed that the development of thought or ‘cognitive development ’ is brought about by language... and that learning provides a ready-made lens which organizes the child’s perception of the world. 

It was believed that children copy adult cognition during  growth and development. Children were  perceived as miniature adults whose responsibility it was to identify with adult models and then absorb their instruction. Sometimes children were even perceived in terms of the corruptness of human nature which required redemption;

Consequently the function of education was considered in terms of adapting children’s constitution to adult values and adult society.

It was believed that the language of instruction was responsible for cognitive development.

It was Piaget who demonstrated that the opposite was true... that it is cognitive development which  develops language.  He discovered that cognitive development is reflected in language.     

Piaget discovered that cognitive development precedes language  Piaget was a Swiss psychologist who originally trained in zoology but with philosophical interests. His aim was to conduct a scientific study of the nature of knowledge in terms of its origins in the development of thinking or ‘cognition’ in the child. He combined his interests in zoology and philosophy in a lifelong study of the child’s evolving development of consciousness or mind’. For forty years from 1927 he and his associates conducted interviews and collected thousands of observations – factual and theoretical – on their intellectual and moral development. Careful attempts were made to train them in problem-solving by teaching them new ways to talk about the tasks and concepts involved. It was discovered that the training had no effect unless children had already reached the level of cognitive development required for understanding the concepts which were represented by the new language.  

Language reflects cognitive development The child perceives the world through a lens which is not ready-made but is constructed through the cognitive development which results from the child’s interaction with the environment. The interiorisation of this interaction forms internal models of reality or ‘operational structures  which form the lens of perception upon which the child acts. 

As biological organism interacting with environment, the child becomes less egocentric and more objective with progression of cognitive development. Systems of mental activity are invented for more adaptive knowing called ‘cognitive structures. Cognitive structures are represented by thinking patterns or ‘concepts’. The concepts are reflected in functional language.

Continued interaction with the environment leads to the construction of increasingly complex and interrelated concepts required for processing information. In this way through a process of auto-regulation the individual derives meaning from the environment or ‘learns’.

Piaget was the first to define the structure of the child’s intellect in terms of 'stages of cognitive development'. He emphasized the ‘primacy of cognitive maturation, guided by various sorts of experience’... and considered the ‘sensitive periods’ (Maria Montessori) in terms of children’s ‘readiness’ to learn specific concepts. He concluded that the child is ready to learn any concept at any age as long as the level of presentation is appropriate to the level or stage of cognitive development which has been reached.

Piaget postulated four developmental cognitive periods or 'stages' Development proceeds through four stages. The four stages of maturational development represent gradually expanding levels of consciousness or  problem-solving 'intelligence'. The stages were defined in terms of  qualitatively different modes of intellectual and moral reasoning at different ages  sensorimotor,  ‘pre-operational, ‘operational or 'concrete' and ‘formal operational’ or 'formal'. Each new stage does not arise ful-blown but arises gradually from the integration and incorporation of earlier stages.

Cognition is always undergoing change and development. Description of stages is meant to be for purposes of convenience only...

 First stage: sensorimotor period The first stage (0-2 years)  called the ‘sensory-motor  period’ is concerned with the evolution of abilities required for construction and reconstruction of objects and involves an elementary form of reasoning.  

 Second stage: intuitive period The second stage (2-7 years) called the ‘intuitive period’ – is concerned with the representation of things … symbolic functions. This is the ‘pre-conventional’ or ‘pre-moral stage’ and it involves ‘pre-operational thinking’. The child at this stage is motivated by biological and social impulses and has no sense of obligation to rules. Moral value or ‘justice’ is defined in terms of punishment and reward.  

Third stage: conventional period The third stage (usually 7-12 years) called the ‘conventional’ or ‘heteronomous period’ is concerned with formation of logical inferences, classification, quantitative relationships about concrete things i.e. ‘operational thinking’. This stage the child is concerned with obedience to rules. 

Fourth stage: autonomous period   The fourth stage (usually 12-18 years) called the ‘autonomous period’ is concerned with abstract reasoning, consideration of possibilities, formation of hypotheses, deduction of implications and testing these against reality i.e. ‘formal operational’ thinking. At this stage the child is actively considerate of rules.

Equilibrium-disequilibrium-reeqilibration model  Piaget proposed a theory of child development on the basis of the biological ‘equilibrium-disequilibrium-re-equilibration’ model of cognitive  development.

Re-equilibration is a natural biological process of auto-regulation characteristic of living organisms.

 During development, the human organism strives to achieve a balance between the assimilation of information from the environment and transformation of that information by interacting with the environment in order achieve a new and broader understanding of that information.

The process involves the act of knowing or ‘cognition’.

Applied to educational theory, methods of teaching are most effective when they consider the child as a biological organism whose behaviour can be described in terms of the principle of auto-regulation.  

Implications for education  Education involves the child’s growth and development as well as norms of socialisation - social, intellectual and moral values. The child is an actively participant in the learning process ... constructing meaning is 'learnin'... 

The educator’s responsibility is to respect the child’s own efforts to strive for a more stable equilibrium in dealing with their world. Their active learning involves interaction with the learning environment which must be prepared appropriately to correspond to their stage of development. In this context education is a matter of offering optimal conditions for effective learning... conditions which allow children to take responsibility for their own growth through learning i.e. ‘optimalearning’.  

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notes:

An understanding of Kohlberg's work depends on an acquaintance with Piaget's research and observations on moral development..

 Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist originally trained in zoology but with philosophical interests. Piaget made a lifetime study of the evolution of consciouness in the developing child.

 Since 1927 Piaget and his associates accumulated thousands of factual and theoretical observations on children's mental development. As a result he postulated four developmental periods which represent a gradually expanding level of consciousness: The first is the 'sensory-motor period' (1-2 years). ..development of refelexes such as turning in response to light and sound, grasping dangling objects, sucking in response to touching of the lips, crying and waving the arms when startled...stimulusrespmonse reflex behaviour... The second is the 'preoperational period' (2-7 years)... by age seven consciousness appears...

"Piaget and his colleagues made careful attempts to train children in problem solving by teaching them new ways of talking about particular tasks and concepts. The general finding: special linguistic training is of no avail to a child unless his level of cognitive development has already reached the point at which it can embrace the relevant concepts represented by the words. See page 163 Inhelder, B., Bovet, M. Sinclair, H. & Smock, C.D. 'On Cognitive development. American Psychologist, 1966, 21, 160-164.

Interaction with the environment is both verbal and nonverbal. Piaget was concerned with the development of thought in the child. He emphasized the 'primacy of cognitive maturation, guided by various sorts of experience'

Kohlberg (Harvard) built on the insights of Piaget  (Piaget, Jean. The Moral Judgement of the Child. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1932) and the educational views of Dewey. (Lawrence Kohlberg "The Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education" chapter 12 in Moral Education: It Comes With the Territory (Ed) David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, Berkeley,CA: McCutchen Publishing Co. 1976, 173) 

He referred to John Dewey as "the only modern thinker about education worth taking seriously." (Kohlberg, L., and Turiel,E. "Moral Development and Moral Education." Psychology and Educational Practice, edited by Lesser.G. Chicago il: Scott Foresman, 1971

COGNITIVE-DEVELOPMENT APPROACH: DEWEY "The cognitive-developmental approach was fully stated for the first time by John Dewey. The approach is called 'cognitive' because it recognizes that moral education, like intellectual education, has its basis in stimulating the active thinking of the child about moral issues and decisions. It is called 'developmental' because it sees the aims of moral education as movement through moral stages. Dewey's thinking about moral stages was theoretical." (Lawrence Kohlberg "The Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education" chapter 12 in Moral Education: It Comes With the Territory (Ed) David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, Berkeley,CA: McCutchen Publishing Co. 1976, 176-177)

Dewey postulated three levels of moral development: 1. the 'premoral' or 'preconventional' level of "behavior motivated by biological and social impulses with results for morals" 2. the 'conventional' level of behavior "in which the individual accepts with little critical reflection the standards of his group" and 3. the 'autonomous' level of behavior in which "conduct is guided by the individual thinking and judging for himself whether a purpose is good and does not accept the standard of his group without reflection."

 According to Dewey, ("What Psychology Can Do for the Tearcher" John Dewey on Education: Selected Writings, edited by Reginald Archambault. New York: Random House 1964) "The aim of education is growth and development, both intellectual and moral. Ethical and psychological principles can aid the school in the greatest of all constructions - the building of a free and powerful character. Only knowledge of the order and connection of the stages in psychological development can insure this. Education is the work of supplying the conditions which will enable the psychological functions to mature in the freest and fullest manner."

Kohlberg's method is to record and children's responses...  Kohlberg's viewpoint is structuralist and specifically Piagetian. For both Piaget and Kohlberg, cognition and affect together determine the mental state.Kohlberg emphasized the "indisociable nature of affect and cognition...There exists no pure cognition without affect, just as affect cannot arise in a vaccuum without being chanelled by cognitive structuration... The purest act of cognition relies upon interest from the affective side to energize it. An emotion generated from within the moral sphere will derive its meaning to the individual from the sociocognitive stage of moral development that he is at."  Piaget used the expression 'genetic epistemology' and Kohlberg 'cognitive-developmental' to label the general concept." The classification of moral judgement into levels and stages of development... not yet related to the remainder of biology. However, the results will eventually become incorporated into a broadened developmental biology and genetics.

 

 

Books by Piaget

 

Behaviour  and Evolution (1976)

The Development of Thought (1977)

Adaptation and Intelligence (1980)

 JEAN PIAGET  

 Piaget, Jean. The Moral Judgement of the Child. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1932.

Piaget and his colleagues made careful attempts to train children in problem solving by teaching them new ways of talking about particular tasks and concepts. The general finding: special linguistic training is of no avail to a child unless his level of cognitive development has already reached the point at which it can embrace the relevant concepts represented by the words. Learning does not provide, in our opinion, a ready-made 'lattice' or lens which organizes the child's perceptual world. Rather, the lattice is constructed in the process of the development of intelligence, i.e. through the actions of the child on the environment and the interiorization of these actions to form 'operational structures'. This is to say that the child acts upon the world and builds internal models of the nature of reality on the basis of these actions and their results. nteraction with the environment is both verbal and nonverbal. Piaget was concerned with the development of thought in the child. He emphasized the 'primacy of cognitive maturation, guided by various sorts of experience' JEAN PIAGET - Swiss psychologist originally trained in zoology but with philosophical interests. Piaget made a lifetime study of the evolution of consciouness in the developing child. Since 1927 Piaget and his associates accumulated thousands of factual and theoretical observations on children's mental development. As a result he postulated four developmental periods which represent a gradually expanding level of consciousness: The first is the 'sensory-motor period' (1-2 years). ..development of refelexes such as turning in response to light and sound, grasping dangling objects, sucking in response to touching of the lips, crying and waving the arms when startled...stimulusrespmonse reflex behaviour... The second is the 'preoperational period' (2-7 years)... by age seven consciousness appears... "Piaget made the first effort to define stages of moral reasoning in children through actual interviews and through observations of children (in games with rules). Using the interview material, Piaget defined the premoral, conventional or heteronomous, and autonomous levels or 'stages'. Piaget named and defined the stages of the child's maturational development in terms of 'preoperational', 'operational', and 'formal operational' thinking. ...Piaget emphasized the maturational development of the child through the stages of preoperational, operational, and formal operational thinking. At the premoral level the child has no sense of obligation to rules (up to age four)...At the conventional level or the 'heteronomous' stage the child is obedient to rule with obedience to rules (ages four to eight) ...At the autonomous stage the child is actively coinsiderate of with active consideration of rules (ages eight to twelve). Piaget's three stages of reasoning - 1. intuitive (to age seven) 2. concrete operational - child can make logical inferences, classify, handle quantitative relations about concrete things (seven to twelve ) 3. formal operational - child is capable of abstract reasoning , i.e consider all possibilities, form hypotheses, deduce implications from hypothesses and test them against reality (twelve to eighteen) (Lawrence Kohlberg "The Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education" chapter 12 in Moral Education: It Comes With the Territory (Ed) David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, Berkeley,CA: McCutchen Publishing Co. 1976, 179)

 "The official pedagogy is motivating students against intellectual work." (page 5 Politics of Education) Students refuse to perform and the resulting power struggle (students vs. teachers and administration) leads a stalemate in schools- called "student mediocrity."

Piaget and his colleagues made careful attempts to train children in problem solving by teaching them new ways of talking about particular tasks and concepts. The general finding: special linguistic training is of no avail to a child unless his level of cognitive development has already reached the point at which it can embrace the relevant concepts represented by the words. Learning does not provide, in our opinion, a ready-made 'lattice' or lens which organizes the child's perceptual world. Rather, the lattice is constructed in the process of the development of intelligence, i.e. through the actions of the child on the environment and the interiorization of these actions to form 'operational structures'. This is to say that the child acts upon the world and builds internal models of the nature of reality on the basis of these actions and their results. nteraction with the environment is both verbal and nonverbal. Piaget was concerned with the development of thought in the child. He emphasized the 'primacy of cognitive maturation, guided by various sorts of experience'

JEAN PIAGET - Swiss psychologist originally trained in zoology but with philosophical interests. Piaget made a lifetime study of the evolution of consciouness in the developing child. Since 1927 Piaget and his associates accumulated thousands of factual and theoretical observations on children's mental development. As a result he postulated four developmental periods which represent a gradually expanding level of consciousness: The first is the 'sensory-motor period' (1-2 years). ..development of refelexes such as turning in response to light and sound, grasping dangling objects, sucking in response to touching of the lips, crying and waving the arms when startled...stimulusrespmonse reflex behaviour... The second is the 'preoperational period' (2-7 years)... by age seven consciousness appears... 

"Piaget and his colleagues made careful attempts to train children in problem solving by teaching them new ways of talking about particular tasks and concepts. The general finding: special linguistic training is of no avail to a child unless his level of cognitive development has already reached the point at which it can embrace the relevant concepts represented by the words. See page 163 Inhelder, B., Bovet, M. Sinclair, H. & Smock, C.D. 'On Cognitive development. American Psychologist, 1966, 21, 160-164. "Learning does not provide, in our opinion, a ready-made 'lattice' or lens which organizes the child's perceptual world. Rather, the lattice is constructed in the process of the development of intelligence, i.e. through the actions of the child on the environment and the interiorization of these actions to form 'operational structures'." This is to say that "the child acts upon the world and builds internal models of the nature of reality on the basis of these actions and their results."(Slobin 115) Interaction with the environment is both verbal and nonverbal. Piaget was concerned with the development of thought in the child. He emphasized the 'primacy of cognitive maturation, guided by various sorts of experience'

Piaget made the first effort to define stages of moral reasoning in children through actual interviews and through observations of children (in games with rules). Using the interview material, Piaget defined the premoral, conventional and autonomous levels as premoral with no sense of obligation to rules (up to age four), conventional stage as the 'heteronomous' tage with obedience to rules (ages four to eight) and the autonomous stage with active consideration of rules (ages eight to twelve). (Lawrence Kohlberg "The Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education" chapter 12 in Moral Education: It Comes With the Territory (Ed) David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, Berkeley,CA: McCutchen Publishing Co. 1976, 177)

Piaget's three stages of reasoning - 1. intuitive (to age seven) 2. concrete operational - child can make logical inferences, classify, handle quantitative relations about concrete things (seven to twelve ) 3. formal operational - child is capable of abstract reasoning , i.e consider all possibilities, form hypotheses, deduce implications from hypothesses and test them against reality (twelve to eighteen) Lawrence Kohlberg "The Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education" chapter 12 in Moral Education: It Comes With the Territory (Ed) David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, Berkeley, CA: McCutchen Publishing Co. 1976, (page 179)

Swiss psychologist originally trained in zoology but with philosophical interests. Piaget was concerned with the development of thought in the child.

"On the basis of his observations with children, he considered the child 'ready' to learn any subject at any age, providing it is approached at the right level...on the level appropriate to the age and thus the developmental stage of the developing child." "As it interacts with the environment over time from birth onward, the human organism undergoes a progression of decentrations through which the knower becomes increasingly less egocentric and more objective. Acting upon the environment he invents cognitive structures for more adaptive knowing. The practical intelligence of the sensorimotor period is interiorized as representational thought emerges. Continuing to act upon the environment, the growing child constucts complex interrelated mental action systems for processing information. The external world does not impose meaning upon the person, but through assimilation to one's developmental level and the process of autoreguation the person confers meaning upon the environment. Hence, acts of knowing involve the process of mental formations."

"Piaget made the first effort to define stages of moral reasoning in children through actual interviews and through observations of children (in games with rules). Using the interview material, Piaget defined the premoral, conventional or heteronomous, and autonomous levels or 'stages'. Piaget named and defined the stages of the child's maturational development in terms of 'preoperational', 'operational', and 'formal operational' thinking. ...Piaget emphasized the maturational development of the child through the stages of preoperational, operational, and formal operational thinking. At the premoral level the child has no sense of obligation to rules (up to age four)...At the conventional level or the 'heteronomous' stage the child is obedient to rule with obedience to rules (ages four to eight) ...At the autonomous stage the child is actively coinsiderate of with active consideration of rules (ages eight to twelve). Piaget's three stages of reasoning - 1. intuitive (to age seven) 2. concrete operational - child can make logical inferences, classify, handle quantitative relations about concrete things (seven to twelve ) 3. formal operational - child is capable of abstract reasoning , i.e consider all possibilities, form hypotheses, deduce implications from hypothesses and test them against reality (twelve to eighteen) (Lawrence Kohlberg "The Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education" chapter 12 in Moral Education: It Comes With the Territory (Ed) David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, Berkeley,CA: McCutchen Publishing Co. 1976, 179)

 "Piaget and his colleagues made careful attempts to train children in problem solving by teaching them new ways of talking about particular tasks and concepts. The general finding: special linguistic training is of no avail to a child unless his level of cognitive development has already reached the point at which it can embrace the relevant concepts represented by the words. See page 163 Inhelder, B., Bovet, M. Sinclair, H. & Smock, C.D. 'On Cognitive development. American Psychologist, 1966, 21, 160-164. "Learning does not provide, in our opinion, a ready-made 'lattice' or lens which organizes the child's perceptual world. Rather, the lattice is constructed in the process of the development of intelligence, i.e. through the actions of the child on the environment and the interiorization of these actions to form 'operational structures'." This is to say that "the child acts upon the world and builds internal models of the nature of reality on the basis of these actions and their results."(Slobin 115)

 Interaction with the environment is both verbal and nonverbal.-

He emphasized the 'primacy of cognitive maturation, guided by various sorts of experience'  Piaget made a lifetime study of the evolution of consciouness in the developing child. Since 1927 Piaget and his associates accumulated thousands of factual and theoretical observations on children's mental development. As a result he postulated four developmental periods which represent a gradually expanding level of consciousness: The first is the 'sensory-motor period' (1-2 years). ..development of reflexes such as turning in response to light and sound, grasping dangling objects, sucking in response to touching of the lips, crying and waving the arms when startled...stimulusrespmonse reflex behaviour... The second is the 'preoperational period' (2-7 years)... by age seven consciousness appears...  

 According to Piaget, at the stage of concrete operations, the child has a general tendency to maintain that a physical object conserves its properties of various physical dimensions in spite of apparent perceptual changes. This tendency is 'structural', it is not a specific belief about a specific object. The implication is that both conservation and other aspects of logical operations should appear as a logically and empirically related cluster of responses in development. 4. Cognitive stages are hierarchical integrations. Stages form an order of increasingly differentiated and integrated structures to fulfill a common function. ....If the child goes through qualitatively different stages of thought, his basic modes of organizaing experience cannot be the direct result of adult teaching or they would be copies of the adult thought from the start." (Lawrence Kohlberg "The Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education" chapter 12 in Moral Education: It Comes With the Territory (Ed) David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, Berkeley,CA: McCutchen Publishing Co. 1976, p.179)

 

Piaget made the first effort to define stages of moral reasoning in children through actual interviews and through observations of children (in games with rules). Using the interview material, Piaget defined the premoral, conventional and autonomous levels as...  premoral with no sense of obligation to rules (up to age four), conventional stage as the 'heteronomous' stage with obedience to rules (ages four to eight) and the autonomous stage with active consideration of rules (ages eight to twelve). (Lawrence Kohlberg "The Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education" chapter 12 in Moral Education: It Comes With the Territory (Ed) David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, Berkeley,CA: McCutchen Publishing Co. 1976, 177)

Piaget's three stages of reasoning - 1. intuitive (to age seven) 2. concrete operational - child can make logical inferences, classify, handle quantitative relations about concrete things (seven to twelve ) 3. formal operational - child is capable of abstract reasoning , i.e consider all possibilities, form hypotheses, deduce implications from hypothesses and test them against reality (twelve to eighteen) Lawrence Kohlberg "The Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education" chapter 12 in Moral Education: It Comes With the Territory (Ed) David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, Berkeley, CA: McCutchen Publishing Co. 1976, (page 179)

 

Interaction with the environment is both verbal and nonverbal. Piaget was concerned with the development of thought in the child. He emphasized the 'primacy of cognitive maturation, guided by various sorts of experience'

 JEAN PIAGET - Swiss psychologist originally trained in zoology but with philosophical interests. Piaget made a lifetime study of the evolution of consciouness in the developing child. Since 1927 Piaget and his associates accumulated thousands of factual and theoretical observations on children's mental development. As a result he postulated four developmental periods which represent a gradually expanding level of consciousness: The first is the 'sensory-motor period' (1-2 years). ..development of refelexes such as turning in response to light and sound, grasping dangling objects, sucking in response to touching of the lips, crying and waving the arms when startled...stimulusrespmonse reflex behaviour... The second is the 'preoperational period' (2-7 years)... by age seven consciousness appears...

 

Piaget made the first effort to define stages of moral reasoning in children through actual interviews and through observations of children (in games with rules). Using the interview material, Piaget defined the premoral, conventional and autonomous levels as premoral with no sense of obligation to rules (up to age four), conventional stage as the 'heteronomous' stage with obedience to rules (ages four to eight) and the autonomous stage with active consideration of rules (ages eight to twelve). (Lawrence Kohlberg "The Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education" chapter 12 in Moral Education: It Comes With the Territory (Ed) David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, Berkeley,CA: McCutchen Publishing Co. 1976, 177)

Piaget's three stages of reasoning - 1. intuitive (to age seven) 2. concrete operational - child can make logical inferences, classify, handle quantitative relations about concrete things (seven to twelve ) 3. formal operational - child is capable of abstract reasoning , i.e consider all possibilities, form hypotheses, deduce implications from hypothesses and test them against reality (twelve to eighteen) Lawrence Kohlberg "The Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education" chapter 12 in Moral Education: It Comes With the Territory (Ed) David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, Berkeley, CA: McCutchen Publishing Co. 1976, (page 179)

 

SCIENCE OF ETHICS - SCIENCE OF VALUES "The crucial question to be asked is: can science discover the values by which men should live? I think it can and I have advanced this thesis in various places supporting it with whatever data I could muster... (Maslow : New Knowledge in Human Values, Toward a Psychology of Being,

 

"Piaget and his colleagues made careful attempts to train children in problem solving by teaching them new ways of talking about particular tasks and concepts. The general finding: special linguistic training is of no avail to a child unless his level of cognitive development has already reached the point at which it can embrace the relevant concepts represented by the words. See page 163 Inhelder, B., Bovet, M. Sinclair, H. & Smock, C.D. 'On Cognitive development. American Psychologist, 1966, 21, 160-164.

 

JEAN PIAGET - Swiss psychologist originally trained in zoology but with philosophical interests. Piaget made a lifetime study of the evolution of consciouness in the developing child. Since 1927 Piaget and his associates accumulated thousands of factual and theoretical observations on children's mental development. As a result he postulated four developmental periods which represent a gradually expanding level of consciousness: The first is the 'sensory-motor period' (1-2 years). ..development of refelexes such as turning in response to light and sound, grasping dangling objects, sucking in response to touching of the lips, crying and waving the arms when startled...stimulusrespmonse reflex behaviour... The second is the 'preoperational period' (2-7 years)... by age seven consciousness appears... 

Piaget and his colleagues made careful attempts to train children in problem solving by teaching them new ways of talking about particular tasks and concepts. The general finding: special linguistic training is of no avail to a child unless his level of cognitive development has already reached the point at which it can embrace the relevant concepts represented by the words. Learning does not provide, in our opinion, a ready-made 'lattice' or lens which organizes the child's perceptual world. Rather, the lattice is constructed in the process of the development of intelligence, i.e. through the actions of the child on the environment and the interiorization of these actions to form 'operational structures'. This is to say that the child acts upon the world and builds internal models of the nature of reality on the basis of these actions and their results. nteraction with the environment is both verbal and nonverbal. Piaget was concerned with the development of thought in the child. He emphasized the 'primacy of cognitive maturation, guided by various sorts of experience'  

 "Piaget made the first effort to define stages of moral reasoning in children through actual interviews and through observations of children (in games with rules). Using the interview material, Piaget defined the premoral, conventional or heteronomous, and autonomous levels or 'stages'. Piaget named and defined the stages of the child's maturational development in terms of 'preoperational', 'operational', and 'formal operational' thinking. ...Piaget emphasized the maturational development of the child through the stages of preoperational, operational, and formal operational thinking. At the premoral level the child has no sense of obligation to rules (up to age four)...At the conventional level or the 'heteronomous' stage the child is obedient to rule with obedience to rules (ages four to eight) ...At the autonomous stage the child is actively coinsiderate of with active consideration of rules (ages eight to twelve). Piaget's three stages of reasoning - 1. intuitive (to age seven) 2. concrete operational - child can make logical inferences, classify, handle quantitative relations about concrete things (seven to twelve ) 3. formal operational - child is capable of abstract reasoning , i.e consider all possibilities, form hypotheses, deduce implications from hypothesses and test them against reality (twelve to eighteen) (Lawrence Kohlberg "The Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education" chapter 12 in Moral Education: It Comes With the Territory (Ed) David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, Berkeley,CA: McCutchen Publishing Co. 1976, 179)