Piaget his youth. He was not especially close

PiagetJean Piaget had a very difficult childhood.

He had a cold, distantfather and a mentally ill mother. Her condition contributed towards atroublesome marriage and family life. Piaget himself had two nervous breakdownsin his youth. He was not especially close to his other siblings or have closefriends of his own age, and depended upon older mentors and self-study to growhis learning. The Swiss culture that emphasized on individuality and freedomperhaps led Piaget to focus on learning from an individual standpoint ratherthan exploring the group influences on learning. (Pass, 2004) He combined hisinterest in biology with his interest in philosophy and began exploring theworld from the age of 11 years old.

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(Sigelman & Rider, 2017)Over the next fewdecades of his life, Piaget worked towards understanding cognitive developmentin children. He viewed intelligence as a process that allows an individual toadjust to his/her environment. This adjustment involves a process of active constructionof understanding of the world based on interactions with it. Children are notborn with an innate understanding of the way that the world works, but ratherlearn through their contact with it. (Sigelman & Rider, 2017)The environment provides the stimuli, both physical and intellectual thatchildren need to construct their knowledge. Piaget used concepts such asschema, accommodation, assimilation and equilibrium to explain the process of cognitivedevelopment and the subsequent growth and learning that takes place. (Iqbal, 2015)Schemas are mentalrepresentations of concepts that are used to make sense of new information.

Children who are in the process of development interact with the world throughthese schemes. When they encounter new information that do not fit into theirpre-existing schema, they experience a process of disequilibrium. This leads tothe process of assimilation or accommodation. Assimilation occurs in thepresence of information that only partially fits into schemas that are alreadypresent. The schemas are adjusted to include the new information. Accommodationoccurs when the information presented is completely new.

New schemas areformed, and the process may involve restructuring basic beliefs. (Johnson, 2014) Once assimilationand/or accommodation have occurred, equilibrium is restored, and meaningfullearning is achieved. (Iqbal, 2015) This is a continuouslyrepeating process, and moves the child along the stages of cognitive development.Piaget proposedfour major stages of development. Additionally, he termed these stages ‘invariantsequence’, implying that children progress through the levels in the suggestedorder, without skipping or regressing to earlier stages. (Sigelman & Rider, 2017) This theory can bestbe characterized as a stage theory.

This implies that the development inchildren occurs in stages, and that the advancement to a higher stage is basedon the completion of tasks of the previous stages. (Johnson, 2014) However, taking intoaccount factors like heredity, environment, and experiences for cognitive simulation,different children may progress through these stages at different paces. Thefour stages are: sensorimotor stage (0-2 years old), pre-operational stage (2-7years old), concrete operational stage (7-11 years old), formal operationsstage (11-12 and older). Sensorimotor stage: Infants use their senses and motor skills to explore theworld. They are born with just innate reflexes, but slowly develop ‘intelligent’actions as their interactions with the world increase. Infants at the end ofthis stage are characterized by the capability of symbolic thought using imagesand words thus leading to solution-planning. Pre-operational stage: This stage involves the development of language, pretendplay and problem-solving. Thinking is distinctly egocentric and illogical to alarge extent.

Concrete operations: Children in this stage acquire concrete logical operationsthat enable them to mental classify, and act on concrete objects in theirheads. They have the ability to solve practical, real-world problems throughthe process of trial and error, but they struggle with abstract or hypotheticalproblems. Formal operations: Hypothetical thinking and abstract conceptualizations is thecharacteristic feature of this stage.

Individuals in this stage can formhypotheses and test them systematically using the scientific method. (Sigelman & Rider, 2017) VygotskyLev Vygotsky, likePiaget, had a very difficult childhood. He grew up a Jew in Czarist Russia, andfaced overt prejudice and discrimination on an everyday basis. In his childhoodhe witnessed two pogroms; the second one prompted his father to take up arms todefend his family and neighbours. Subsequently, his father had to defendhimself in court. Vygotsky was exposed to a difficult socio-politicalenvironment for the majority of his life; the first world war, the RussianRevolution, and finally Stalin and his purges. Due to his slight build, hebecame infected with tuberculosis in 1918, a disease which eventually killedhim in 1934, when he was just 38 years old.

The difficult conditions that Vygotsky had to live in for such a large portionof his life led him towards researching the intellectual development inchildren. (Pass, 2004)