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Similarities and Differences in Piaget s Theory and in Brain research Piaget Both in Piaget s Theory and in Brain research,

the brain is seen Two major principles guide intellectual growth and biological development: adaptation and organization. For individuals to survive in an environment, they must adapt to physical and mental stimuli. Assimilation and accommodation are both part of the adaptation process. Piaget believed that human beings possess mental structures that assimilate external events, and convert them to fit their mental structures. Moreover, mental structures accommodate themselves to new, unusual, and constantly changing aspects of the external environment Brain Research The brain is complex and adaptive. Every brain is uniquely organized.

The brain/mind is social The search for meaning is innate.

Piaget s theory is based on the idea that the developing child builds cognitive structures in other words, mental maps, schemes, or networked concepts for understanding and responding to physical experiences within his or her environment.

Orchestrated immersion is the idea that immersing students into a learning environment will help them to absorb the material more fully than they would from a lecture or book. This type of technique would have children create a classroom environment that emulates a garden where they grow their own plants to learn about the lifecycle of a living organism.

Relaxed Alertness An environment of relaxed alertness would be one where children have no fear of repercussions should they answer a question incorrectly. This would be a classroom where all answers are acceptable and open discussion that includes brainstorming or using educated guessing is encouraged. Assignments would be personalized to help students to relate to prior knowledge. Because this may involve shouting out, or active group participation, this sort of teaching requires a teacher to have solid classroom management skills.

Active Processing Active processing would be analyzing situations in a variety of ways in order to gain knowledge. Students would use all of their senses and experiences to connect to the material they are to learn. Students might use technology, tactile, audial or other forms of learning tools to actively make connections to the learning material.

Innate Meaning

During all development stages, the child The search for meaning occurs through patterning. experiences his or her environment using whatever mental maps he or she has constructed so far. If the experience is a repeated one, it fits easily or is assimilated into the child s cognitive structure so that he or she maintains mental equilibrium. If the experience is different or new, the child loses equilibrium, and alters his or her cognitive structure to accommodate the new conditions. This way, the child erects more and more adequate cognitive structures. His particular insight was the role of maturation Every brain simultaneously perceives and creates (simply growing up) in children s increasing parts and wholes. capacity to understand their world: they cannot undertake certain tasks until they are psychologically mature enough to do so, Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception. Emotions are critical to patterning. Patterning involves the emotions. Learning always involves conscious and unconscious processes.  Jean Piaget made note of certain stages of development that allowed children to learn better. On the other hand, Piaget himself noted, development does not always progress in the smooth manner his theory seems to predict.  The four development stages are described in Piaget's theory as: Sensorimotor stage (birth 2 years old) The child, through physical interaction with his or her In the Brain based Research it is mentioned thedifferent stages of development. However, it is emphasized that each child is an individual and will learn based on his or her own specific neural processes and brain development:  Learning is developmental. There are at least two different dimensions of development. First, there are many stage theories about the development of

environment, builds a set of concepts about reality and how it works. This is the stage where a child does not know that physical objects remain in existence even when out of sight (object permanance). Preoperational stage (ages 2-7) The child is not yet able to conceptualize abstractly and needs concrete physical situations. Concrete operations (ages 7-11) As physical experience accumulates, the child starts to conceptualize, creating logical structures that explain his or her physical experiences. Abstract problem solving is also possible at this stage. For example, arithmetic equations can be solved with numbers, not just with objects. Formal operations (beginning at ages 11-15) By this point, the child s cognitive structures are like those of an adult and include conceptual reasoning.  Research has disputed Piaget's argument that all children will automatically move to the next stage of development as they mature. Some data suggests that environmental factors may play a role in the development of formal operations.

identity and general capacities such as the shift from concrete to abstract thinking. Second, there is a rough progression in the mastery of a discipline, from novice to expert.

Brain based learning relies on the brains ability to look for innate meaning by accessing prior knowledge, emotions and memories. Encouraging new experiences is essential to brain development. Brain based teaching/learning recognizes that each child is an individual and will learn based on his or her own specific neural processes and brain development

Complex learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threatassociated with helplessness and/or fatigue..


Piaget Cognitive development is at the centre of human organism human intelligence is to be adaptive, it must have functions to represent both the transformational and the static aspects of reality. He proposed that operative intelligence is responsible for the representation and manipulation of the dynamic or transformational aspects of reality and that figurative intelligence is responsible for the representation of the static aspects of reality. Piaget focused on accommodation and assimilation. Assimilation describes how humans perceive and adapt to new information. It is the process of taking one s environment and new information and fitting it into pre-existing cognitive schemas. Assimilation occurs when humans are faced with new or unfamiliar information and refer to previously learned information in order to make sense of it. Accommodation, unlike assimilation is the process of taking one's environment and new information, and altering one's pre-existing schemas in order to fit in the new information. Piaget theorized that intelligence is active and constructive. It is active in the literal sense of the term as it depends on the actions which the thinker executes in order to build and rebuild his models of the world. It is also constructive because actions, particularly mental actions, are coordinated into more inclusive and cohesive systems, thus they are raised to more stable and effective levels of functioning. Piaget believed that this process of construction leads to systems of mental operations better able to resist the illusions of perceptual appearances and thus less prone to error. In other words, the gradual construction of the system of mental operations involved in the operative aspect of intelligence enables the developing person to grasp more hidden and complex aspects of the world

Brain Research

There are at least two approaches to memory: archiving isolated facts and skills, and making sense of experience.

Learning is physiological. The brain changes as a result of experience, a phenomenon known as neural plasticity

The Caines' 12 Brain/Mind Learning Principles


1.All learning is physiological. The brain and the body change as a result of experience. So new learning is literally structured in the physiology. This is sometimes called embodied cognition . Implication: Students and staff need adequate sensory engagement, physical movement and action. Sitting still all the time is tiring, boring and counter productive. Students and staff also need to take some action to implement what they study. For example: role playing or making presentations to working on substantial projects that incorporate some of the standards. This applies both to skills and to abstract ideas and concepts.

2.The brain/mind is social. The social nature of human beings is grounded in biology. So the brain/mind is designed to learn by imitation and from modeling. Implication: It is important for students of all ages to have opportunities to sit with, talk to and work with each other. So create communities of practice and opportunities to introduce material through informal conversations between friends, colleagues, and others. In addition, ensure that learners see and experience the new material being used appropriately and naturally.

3.The search for meaning is innate. Everyone tends to filter input, organize information and experience, and ask questions according to what they are interested in and care about. And at a deep level there is a hunger for meaningfulness and purpose. Implication: Find ways to relate new information and practices to authentic learner interests, questions, purposes, ideas, and passions. And find ways to honor and acknowledge authentic student and staff questions and decision making in their learning.

4.The search for meaning occurs through patterning. The brain and mind naturally extract patterns from, and impose patterns on, reality. So meaning is grounded in how things are connected with each other. Cognitive psychologists use many different terms to describe these patterns, terms such as categories, frames, and schemata. Implication: Find ways to assist learners to make connections by way of metaphor, identifying common phases, asking questions, making observations, and discovering links to what is already known. Also use projects and problems that naturally organize information and experience in ways that make sense.

5.Emotions are critical to patterning. Cognition and emotion interact. Emotions are involved in every thought, decision, and response. Powerful learning is enhanced by rich emotional experiences, guided and moderated by higher order functions. The way a person feels about an idea or skill always influences how well it is understood or mastered. Implication: Introduce new material in ways that are inviting, and make it possible for learners to establish a genuinely positive emotional link to that material.

6.The brain/mind processes parts and wholes simultaneously. The brain has modules for discerning specific and separate features of reality. There is also a constant ongoing synthesis of experience at different levels of a hierarchy, culminating in the prefrontal cortex, sometimes called the integrative cortex.Every skill and concept is better understood and mastered when there is an interplay between the specific elements and the concept or skill as a whole. Implication: Introduce and organize new material in terms of natural wholes such as projects, stories and big ideas.

7.Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception. Everyone is continuously immersed in a field of stimuli, and constantly selects a part of that field to attend to. Attention is a natural phenomenon guided by interest, novelty, emotion, and meaning, and paying attention is critical.

In addition, human beings also learn from the background the context that is not consciously attended to. Children pick up behaviors, beliefs, and preferences or dislikes while engaging in life experience. Implication: In addition to finding ways to help learners stay engaged, design the physical context so that it indirectly conveys information, connections, and suggestions that support what is being learned.

8.Learning is both conscious and unconscious. In addition to intentionally trying to make sense of things and master them, the brain/mind also processes information and experiences below the level of awareness. Beyond that, really successful self-regulators are also capable of monitoring themselves by means of the executive functions of their brains (Denkla, 1999) a central feature of higher order functions so that they know their own strengths and weaknesses and can take charge of how they process text. Implication: Incorporate processes, such as the arts, that prime unconscious incubation. And help learners develop their metacognitive capacities so that they become more conscious of, and take better charge of, the ways in which they process and digest experience.

9.There are at least two types of memory. Scientists have identified several different memory systems (Schacter,1996). However, all the different memory systems interact in everyday experience (Fuster, 2003). A key practical distinction is between systems that are used to archive and store information and routines (sometimes by rote memory) and systems that naturally register, make sense of, and store ongoing experience. Implication: Use projects, stories, situations, and problems that organize material into experiences that are naturally remembered. Assist students of all ages to use in-depth observation and analysis of what transpires, and guide them to deeper understanding by ongoing and effective questioning. Memorization techniques, such as creative practice and rehearsal, can then be employed occasionally and as needed.

10.Learning is developmental. There are at least two different dimensions of development. First, there are many stage theories about the development of identity and general capacities such as the shift from concrete to abstract thinking. Second, there is a rough progression in the mastery of a discipline, from novice to expert. Implication: Professional development, and learning in the classroom, should both be scaffolded to take into consideration the capacities of learners and their current state of knowledge and competence. And there should be many opportunities to reflect on experience, and deal with regular feedback, so that insight and understanding can develop over time.

11.Complex learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat associated with helplessness and/or fatigue. A great deal of research from such disciplines as neuroscience (e.g. LeDoux 1996), creativity theory (Deci& Ryan 1987), stress theory (Sapolsky, 1998; Lazarus, 1999), and perceptual psychology, (Combs, 1999) shows that effective mental functioning can be sabotaged by fears associated with helplessness. The brain/mind literally becomes less effective and people lose access to their own capacities for higher order functioning and creativity when the survival response kicks in. LeDoux calls this response the low road (LeDoux, 1996). And Olsen and Sexton (2008) call it threat rigidity. It is triggered by such factors as being overwhelmed, losing control, experiencing excessive stress, and meaninglessness. Implication: Establish good relationships within a classroom or environment so that adults and students, learners and leaders, listen to each other, and students feel safe to ask questions, make suggestions, and try things out. Use projects and processes that make sense, and allow students to pursue their own interests within the context of the projects. And ensure that students have adequate resources and some control over the use of their time and how they will proceed.

12.Each brain is uniquely organized. Although all people have many capacities and qualities in common, everyone is also a unique blend of experience and genetics. There are many ways of identifying individual differences. A good example is Gardner s theory of multiple intelligences (1993). Another is the Myers Briggs personality typology. We have developed our own identity styles profile by synthesizing many of the other options available. And in addition to individual differences, there are social and cultural differences that impact how people learn. Implication: Professional development, and classroom learning, must be designed so that it both treats everyone equally and at the same time, helps individuals to capitalize on their own strengths. It helps to use a good learning style inventory so that participants can grasp some of their own predispositions and preferences. And educators need to develop an awareness of different cultures and customs.

Applying Jean Piaget in the Classroom To apply Jean Piaget s theories in the classroom, the University of Arkansas suggests these six steps to structure preoperational development: 1. Use concrete props and visual aids whenever possible. 2. Make instructions relatively short, using actions as well as words. 3. Do not expect the students to consistently see the world from someone else s point of view.

4. Be sensitive to the possibility that students may have different meanings for the same word or different words for the same meaning. Students may also expect everyone to understand words they have invented. 5. Give children a great deal of hands-on practice with the skills that serve as building blocks for more complex skills like reading comprehension. 6. Provide a wide range of experiences in order to build a foundation for concept learning and language.

Curriculum Educators must plan a developmentally appropriate curriculum that enhances their students logical and conceptual growth. Instruction Teachers must emphasize the critical role that experiences or interactions with the surrounding environment play in student learning. For example, instructors have to take into account the role that fundamental concepts, such as the permanence of objects, play in establishing cognitive structures.