Cognitive development in adolescence

Prepared by Ms. K. S. Rajiah

In his theory Piaget proposed 4 stages of cognitive development
y The Sensorimotor Stage ²Infancy (Birth until about 2 years old)-

Schemes are based on behaviors and perception; schemas don·t yet represent objects beyond a child·s immediate view.
y The Preoperational Stage ²Early childhood to Early Elementary

Years (2 until about 6 or 7 years old )-Schemas now represent objects beyond a child·s immediate view ,but the child does not yet reason in logical ,adult like ways.

y The Concrete-Operational Stage ² Later Elementary to the

Middle School Years (6 or 7 until about 11 or 12 years old.)Adultlike logic appears , but is limited to reasoning about concrete.
y The Formal Operational stage-(11 or 12 through adulthood)-

Logical reasoning processes are applied to abstract ideas as well as concrete objects.

Piaget·s Theory: Formal Operational Stage
Hypothetico-deductive reasoning
hypotheses from a general theory  Pendulum problem 

Concrete Operational children can ´operate on realityµ. scientific thinking.y According to Piaget. In other words. . around age 11 young people enter the Formal Operational Stage. more general logical rules through internal reflection. formal operational adolescents can ´operate on operationsµ. they no longer require concrete things and events as objects of thought but can come up with new. in which they develop the capacity for abstract.

Then they test these hypotheses in an orderly fashion to see which ones work in the real world. When faced with a problem. they start with a general theory of all possible factors that might affect an outcome and deduce from it specific hypotheses(or predictions) about what might happen. young people become capable of hypothetico-deductive reasoning. .Hypothetico-Deductive Reasoning y At adolescence.

concrete operational children start with reality. In contrast.with obvious predictions about a situation. .y Notice how this form of problem solving begins with possibility and proceeds to reality. they cannot think of alternatives and fail to solve the problem. When these are not confirmed.

and (4) the force with which the object is pushed. Formal Operational adolescents come up with 4 hypotheses: (1) the length of the string. Eventually they discover that only string length makes a difference. . (2) the weight of the object hung on it. (3) the height to which the object is raised before it is released. illustrates this new approach. Then. by varying one factor at a time while holding all others constant.y Adolescents· performance on Piaget·s famous pendulum problem. they try out each possibility.

y Adolescents can evaluate the logic of propositions (verbal statements) without referring to real-world circumstances.Propositional thought y A second important characteristic of the formal operational stage is Propositional Thought. children can evaluate the logic of statements only by considering them against concrete evidence in the real world. y In contrast. .

he acknowledged its importance during adolescence. those of higher mathematics. and matter in physics or wonder about justice and freedom in philosophy and social studies. Abstract thought requires language-based and other symbolic systems that do not stand for real things-for example.y Although Piaget did not view language as playing a central role in children·s cognitive development. space. . Formal operational thought also involves verbal reasoning about abstract concepts. Adolescents show that they can think in this way when they ponder the relations among time.

criticism.Consequences of Abstract Thought y The development of formal operations leads to dramatic revisions in the way adolescents see themselves. and indecisiveness often perplex and worry adults. . others. and the world in general. y Although teenagers· self-concern. idealism. they usually are beneficial in the long run.

Self-consciousness and self-focusing y Adolescents· capacity to reflect on their own thoughts means that they think more about themselves. Followers of Piaget suggested that as a result. two distorted images of the relation between self and others appear:  Imaginary audience  Personal fable . Piaget believed that a new form of egocentrism accompanies this stage: the inability to distinguish the abstract perspectives of self and others.

The imaginary audience helps us understand the long hours adolescents spend inspecting every detail of their appearance. a critical remark from a parent or teacher can be mortifying. Imaginary Audience Adolescents· belief that they are the focus of everyone else·s attention and concern. As a result they become extremely selfconscious. It also accounts for their sensitivity to public criticism. . often going to great lengths to avoid embarrassment. To teenagers who believe that everyone is monitoring their performance.

. Many adolescents view themselves as reaching great heights of glory and also as sinking to unusual depths of despair-experiences that others could not possibly understand. Personal Fable Because teenagers are sure that others are observing and thinking about them. they develop an inflated opinion of their own importance. They feel that are special and unique.

As a result. discrimination. Teenagers can imagine alternative family. they often construct grand visions of a perfect world. and they want to explore them. political. and moral systems. . or tasteless behaviour. with no injustice. it opens up the world of the ideal and of perfection. religious.Idealism and Criticism Because abstract thinking permits adolescents to go beyond the real to the possible.

adolescents become faultfinding critics. . Aware of the perfect family against which their parents and siblings fall short.The disparity between teenagers· idealistic view and adults· more realistic one creates tension between parent and child.

Decision Making Although adolescents handle many cognitive tasks more effectively than they did when younger. 2. 3. they often do not engage in a rational process: 1. . Identifying the pros and cons of each alternative Assessing the likelihood of various possible outcomes Evaluating their choice to see whether the goals were met Learning from the mistake and making a better future decision. when it comes to decision making in everyday life. 4.

y Discovery learning y Sensitivity to children·s readiness to learn y Acceptance of individual differences . Three educational principles derived from his theory continue to have a widespread influence on teacher training and classroom practices. especially during early and middle childhood.Piaget and Education Piaget had a major impact on education.

Discovery learning y In a Piagetian classroom. measuring tools. musical instruments and more. table games. teachers provide a rich variety of activities designed to promote exploration. children are encourage to discover for themselves through spontaneous interaction with the environment. . dress up clothing. building books. puzzles. Instead of presenting ready-made knowledge verbally.

But teachers do not impose new skills before children indicate that they are interested or ready. because this leads to superficial acceptance of adult formulas rather than true understanding. Teachers watch and listen to their students. .Sensitivity to children·s readiness to learn Piaget believed that appropriate learning experiences build on children·s current thinking. introducing experiences that permit them to practice newly discovered schemes and that are likely to challenge their incorrect ways of viewing the world.

They are less interested in how children measure up to normative standards. but at different rates. teachers must plan activities for individuals and small groups rather than just for the class as a whole. teachers evaluate educational progress by comparing each child to his or her own previous development. . or the average performance of same-age peers. In addition.Acceptance of Individual Differences Piaget·s theory assumes that all children go through the same sequence of development. Therefore.

Vygotsky believed that the cognitive development was directly related to and based on social development. their social world.Vygotsky·s sociocultural theory y The Russian psychologist Lev Semenovich Vygotsky conducted many studies of children·s thinking. Children learn from the world around them. What children learn and how they think are derived directly from the culture around them. .

. y The importance of social interaction for cognitive development and the Zone of Proximal Development y The concept of scaffolding y The interrelationship between language and thought.y Vygotsky made three significant contributions to our understanding of cognitive development.

y The actual developmental level which is the level at which a learner can successfully perform a task independently.y According to Vygotsky we can understand the cognitive capabilities of children when we consider the two aspects of development. . y The level of potential development is the level at which the learner performs a task successfully with the assistance of a more competent individual.

parents.e tasks found in the ZPD.y Children can perform more difficult tasks in collaboration with people in their surrounding. teachers. y The range of tasks that children cannot perform independently but can perform with the assistance of others is known as the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) y According to Vygotsky children·s cognitive development is promoted when they are presented with tasks and assignments that they can perform with assistance i. peers and others. .

.y As teachers we have to remember that if we want to promote cognitive growth then we have to set task which is found in the ZPD and with children who have different ZPD ¶s then we have to different tasks and assignments. Scaffolding is the support mechanism provided by a more competent person to perform a task found in the Zone of Proximal Development . y The second contribution of Vygotsky is the concept of scaffolding.

thinking occurs independently of language .and when language appears it is first used as a means of communication rather than a mechanism of thought. In the early years.y The third contribution of Vygotsky theory is the interrelationship between language and thought. . y According to Vygotsky. thought and language are separate functions for infants and young toddlers.

y Gradually this self talk becomes inner speech. . where children talk to themselves mentally rather orally. thought and language become intertwined: Children begin to express their thoughts when they speak.y Then around the age of two. and they begin to think in terms of words. self-talk (private-speech) is observed ²the talking to oneself that Piaget interpreted as egocentric speech. y At this point.

both self-talk and inner speech have a similar purpose :children guide and direct their own behaviors in much the same way adults have previously guided them. In a sense they begin to provide their own scaffolding. y Self-talk (private ²speech ) is talking to oneself as a way of guiding oneself through a task. .y According to Vygotsky. y Inner speech is talking to oneself mentally rather than aloud.

The students are taught an ¶action-pan· in which they talk themselves through a task in order to control their performance and monitor their results. It involves the application of a set of procedures designed to teach the students to gain better personal control over a learning situation by use of ¶self-talk· or directions which guide their thinking and actions. or verbal self-instruction. is a closely related approach to metacognitive training (Polloway and Patton 1993). ¶Inner language· is seen as very important fro both cognitive and met a cognitive development and the learner is taught to use language to control his or her own responses .Cognitive Behaviour Modification Cognitive behavior modification.

Cognitive behaviour modification :basic principles y The training procedure for typical cognitive behaviour modification programme usually follows this sequence: y Modelling. Thos modeling involves the teacher asking questions. . making overt decisions and evaluating the results.The students copies the teacher·s model and completes the task with the teacher still providing verbal directions and exercising control. The teacher performs the task or carries out the new procedure while ¶thinking aloud·. y Overt external guidance. giving directions.

y Overt self-guidance. y Faded self-guidance.The learner repeats the performance while whispering the instructions. y Covert self-instruction. The learner performs the task while guiding his or her responses and decisions using inner speech.The learner repeats the performance while using verbal self-instruction as modeled by the teacher. .

I can correct it. I must look at only one problem at a time.y Typical covert questions and directions a student might use would include: What do I have to do? Where do I start? I will have to think carefully about this. That·s good. I·ll need to come back and check this part. I know that answer is correct. but I can come back and work it again. Don·t rush. . Does this make sense? I think I made a mistake here.

error detection and self-correction. Sometimes the instructions. planning. They are applicable across a fairly wide range of academics tasks. . focusing attention. checking.y These self-questions and directions cover problem definition. self-appraisal. cue words or symbols to represent each step in the procedure may be printed on a prompt card displayed on the student·s desk while the lesson is in progress.

literacy activities prompt children to shift to a higher level of cognitive activity. in which they proficiently manipulate and control the symbol systems of their culture. . When formal schooling begins.Vygotsky and Education y A Vygotskian classroom emphasizes assisted discovery through teacher·s guidance and peer collaboration.

.y Educational practice inspired by Vygotsky·s theory include reciprocal teaching and cooperative learning. Western children usually require extensive training for cooperative learning to succeed. in which peers resolve differences of opinion and work towards common goals.

. His stages provide a useful ´road mapµ of cognitive development.Overall Evaluation of Piaget·s theory y Piaget awakened psychologists and educators to children·s active contributions to their own development and inspired the contemporary focus on mechanisms of cognitive change.

Piaget·s notions of adaptation.y At the same time. . Still others deny both Piaget·s stages and his belief that the human mind is made up of general reasoning abilities. some researchers reject Piaget·s stages while retaining his view of cognitive development as an active. Also. children·s cognitive attainments are less coherent and more gradual than Piaget·s stages indicate. Others support a less tightly knit stage concept. y Consequently. organization. constructive process. and equilibration offer only a vague account of how children·s cognition develops.

however. verbal dialogues are not the only means. or even the most important means through which children learn.Evaluation of Vygotsky·s theory y Vygotsky·s theory helps us to understand wide cultural variation in cognitive skills and underscores the vital role of teaching in cognitive development. In some cultures. .

y In focusing on social and cultural influences. Thank you . Vygotsky said little about biological contributions to children·s cognition. exactly how children internalize social experiences to advance their thinking remains unclear. Also.

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