CTET Exam 2017: Understanding Piaget’s Stage Theory of Cognitive Development

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CTET Exam 2017: Understanding Piaget's Stage Theory of Cognitive Development

CTET Exam 2017: Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) is organized by Central Board of Secondary Education for aspirants having desire to join Central Government Schools such as NVS/ KVS/ Tibetan School etc as a Teacher. It is an All India level entrance exam conducted every year.

CTET Exam 2017 notification is expected to come in a few days. Many of the CTET Aspirants have started preparing for the same. Let us help them by explaining one of the most important topics i.e Piaget’s Stage Theory of Cognitive Development.

 

CTET Exam 2017: Understanding Piaget’s Stage Theory of Cognitive Development

Swiss biologist and psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) observed his children (and their process of making sense of the world around them) and eventually developed a four-stage model of how the mind processes new information encountered.

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STAGE ONE: The Sensorimotor stage (From birth to approx. 2 years old)

During this stage, information is received through all the senses. The child tries to make sense of the world during this stage, and as the name suggests, only senses and motor abilities are used to do so. The child utilizes innate behaviours to enhance this learning process, such as sucking, looking, grasping, crying and listening. To make this even more complex, there are 6 sub-stages of this one stage. To begin, the child uses only reflexes and innate behaviour. Towards the end of this stage, the child uses a range of complex sensorimotor skills.

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The infant builds an understanding of himself or herself and reality (and how things work) through interactions with the environment. It is able to differentiate between itself and other objects. Learning takes place via assimilation (the organization of information and absorbing it into existing schema) and accommodation (when an object cannot be assimilated and the schemata have to be modified to include the object.

STAGE TWO: The Pre-operational Stage (2-7 years of age)

The mental representation of the sensorimotor stage provides a smooth transition to semiotic functioning in the pre-operational stage. This essentially means that a child can use one object to represent another (symbolically). For example, a child swinging their arms in a circular motion might represent the wheels on a train, or sticking their arms out and running might symbolise the movement of an aeroplane. This shows the relationships children can form between language, actions and objects at this stage.

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The child is not yet able to conceptualize abstractly and needs concrete physical situations. Objects are classified in simple ways, especially by important features.

STAGE THREE: The Concrete Operational Stage (7-11 years of age)

This stage sees another shift in children’s cognitive thinking. It is aptly named “concrete” because children struggle to apply concepts to anything which cannot physically be manipulated or seen. Nevertheless, the child continues to improve their conservation skills, and by the age of 11 they can conserve numbers, weight and volume (acquired in that order). The child can also understand principles of  “class inclusion”; perspective tasks become much easier, and children begin to understand that other people actually have different views to themselves. Simple maths, such as addition/subtraction become much easier. However, as this stage is concrete, Piaget suggests children will struggle to apply any prior knowledge to abstract situations. For example, when asked seriation tasks such as “Ram is taller than Shyam. Ram is shorter than Krishna. Who is tallest?” , concrete children often fail to provide a correct answer as the situation is too abstract. However, when dolls are used to represent Shyam, Krishna and Ram, the children are able to answer – as the situation is bought back to a concrete one with physical representations.

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As physical experience accumulates, accommodation is increased. The child begins to think abstractly and conceptualize, creating logical structures that explain his or her physical experiences.

STAGE FOUR: The Formal Operational Stage (11 years of age onwards)

Children at this stage acquire the ability to think hypothetically and “outside the box”. Logical conclusions can be inferred from verbal information, and “concrete”, physical objects are no longer necessary. When presented with a problem, children at this stage can consider solutions to the problem in a logical manner. The child becomes increasingly “adult-like” with regards to their cognitive abilities. Scientific reasoning is apparent in this stage, and is indicated by Piaget and Inhelder’s Pendulum Task (1958). When asked to determine the effect different weights and rope length have on the speed of a swinging pendulum, formal operational children came to consistent and logical conclusions.

Cognition reaches its final form. By this stage, the person no longer requires concrete objects to make rational judgements. He or she is capable of deductive and hypothetical reasoning. His or her ability for abstract thinking is very similar to an adult.

Here we conclude our article on CTET Exam 2017: Understanding Piaget’s Stage Theory of Cognitive Development. We hope this article will help you in preparing for your upcoming examination.

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