There are two classical theories of cognitive development. The one that I will focus on is Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Jean Piaget, a Swiss, educated, mollusk biologist lived from 1896 to 1980. He hypothesized that learning is a physical, biological function of dealing with successfully with the environment. (Phillips, 1998) This is the basis for his theory. Looking at Piaget’s theory of cognitive development in more detail we find that he based it on two biological tendencies. The two tendencies are organization, and adaption. Organization as Piaget saw it said that humans are designed to organize their observations and experiences into coherent sets of meanings. ( Eggen, 1999) This organization of observation makes the thinking process more efficient. If a person can put the things they observe in some sort of order the easier it is to remember and apply their observations. If we did not organize our observations and experiences we would have little bits of information floating around in our brains with no connection between them. Adaption is according to Piaget’s theory is the tendency to adjust to the environment. Adaption is a process by which we create matches between our original observations and new one
As we use our adaption and organization we constantly get things to fit together. In this stage the child is also very egocentric. Normal growth of a person helps a person to adapt and perceive things better. Our original observations and conceptions are called our schemas. This stage occurs from 2 - 7 years of age and in it children master many symbols and concrete concepts. We learn to use others thought relationships to help them fit their schemas together better. On the other hand the last two stages Piaget overestimated the abilities of humans to master the stage. Since Piaget"tms theory revolves around the biological adaption to environment we need to teach so that students can see relationships between concepts. ( Eggen, 1999) To apply Piaget"tms theory in the classroom, we should remember the students developmental level and gear our teaching toward that. If the observations don"tmt fit nicely into our existing schemas we use the second of the adaption techniques. We accommodate or change our schema to fit our observation. Our schemas are based on our own observations and experiences. They have a hard time looking at more than one characteristic of the object their experiencing. Piaget used the two biological tendencies and other biological functions of humans to come up with four stages of cognitive development . In this highest of the stage of development learners start to use complex language forms such as metaphors and the like.