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Brenton Hawken 11538282 Due date: Monday 29th August 2016

EED308 Assessment 2: Written Critical Reflection Value: 25%


McDevitt argues: teachers must engage in developmentally appropriate practice adapted to
age, characteristics and the developmental progress (McDevitt et al, 2013, p. 24) of
individual adolescents. By examining the work of leading cognitive development theorists
Piaget and Vygotsky, teachers can better understand how their students learn and adapt their
teaching methods accordingly. Teachers must develop a better understanding of their
students cognitive development, which will lead to the needs of the whole adolescent being
satisfied (Blake & Pope, 2008, p. 59). According to Piagets theory, adolescents are
motivated to understand their world because doing so is biologically adaptive. Adolescents
actively construct their own cognitive worlds through organising experiences. This is
achieved by using schemas: a mental concept or framework that is useful in organising and
interpreting information (Santrock, 2016, p. 93). It is important for high school teachers to
make learning relevant to the student, increasing motivation to participate in class activities
and engage in the content being delivered. If students see a purpose to what they are learning,
they are more likely to be engaged in the work. Piagets fourth stage of development, the
formal operations stage, strongly relates to adolescents. Beginning at eleven years of age and
lasting through to adulthood, this stage is characterised by abstract, idealistic and logical
thought. As teachers develop a better understanding of their students thinking, they can align
their teaching strategies with their students cognitive level, which increases student
engagement and fosters an inspired learning classroom environment (Blake & Pope, 2008, p.
62). Vygotskys theory emphasises that cognitive development is essentially a social
progress. He viewed knowledge as situated and collaborative, meaning knowledge is
distributed among people and their environments. One of Vygotskys most important
concepts, the Zone of Proximal Development, refers to the range of tasks that are too difficult
for an individual to master alone, but can be mastered with the guidance and assistance of
adults or more-skilled peers (Santrock, 2016, p. 99). Teachers should explain, model, and use
guided practice in the classroom, as by modelling what they want their students to do,
students will be better able to work through their assigned tasks. Piagets and Vygotskys
views are both constructivist and identify that teachers should be facilitators and guides, not
directors, who establish many opportunities for adolescents to learn with the teacher and
more skilled peers (Santrock, 2016).