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Cognitive Psychology

Focus on attention on how

individual process information
and how they monitor and
manage thinking.
Theories of Cognitive Development
Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory
Jean Piaget (pee-ah-ZHAY)

 (1896–1980) Swiss psychologist who became

leading theorist in 1930’s
 Developmental psychologist who introduced a 4
stage theory of cognitive development
 Believed these stages were BIOLOGICAL and
occurred in same order but environment & culture
could change how fast we progress through them.
 Believed that children actively try to make sense
out of their environment rather than passively
soaking up information about the world.
Piaget’s Theory of
Cognitive Development

 Piaget believed that “children are active

thinkers, constantly trying to construct more
advanced understandings of the world”
 These “understandings” are in the form of
structures he called schemas

 Concepts or mental frameworks that people use

to organize and interpret information
 Sometimes called schemes
 A person’s “picture of the world”
Development of Schemas

 Schemasare frameworks that develop to help organize

 Assimilation—process of taking new information or a
new experience and fitting
it into an already existing schema
 Accommodation—process by which existing schemas
are changed or new schemas are created in order to fit
new information
As children assimilate new information and experiences, they
eventually change their way of thinking to accommodate new
Piaget’s Approach
 Primary method was to ask children to solve
problems and to question them about the
reasoning behind their solutions
 Discovered that children think in radically different
ways than adults
 Proposed that development occurs as a series of
‘stages’ differing in how the world is understood
Piaget’s 4 Cognitive Developmental Stages
1. Sensorimotor stage,
 from birth to age 2
2. Preoperational stage,
 from age 2 to age 7
3. Concrete operational stage,
 from age 7 to age 11
4. Formal operational stage,
 begins during adolescence and continues into
 Each new stage represents a fundamental shift in
how the child thinks and understands the world
Contributions of Piaget's Theories to Current Practice

focus on active, hands-on learning

play is important
to a child's current level of
acceptance of individual differences
Assessing Piaget’s Theory
 Scientific research has supported Piaget’s most fundamental
idea: that infants, young children, and older children use
distinct cognitive abilities to construct their understanding of
the world
 Piaget underestimated the child’s ability at various ages.
 Piaget confused motor skill limitations with cognitive
limitations in assessing object permanence during infancy.
 Piaget’s theory doesn’t take into account culture and social
Critique of Piaget’s Theory
 Underestimates children’s abilities
 Overestimates age differences in thinking
 Vagueness about the process of change
 Underestimates the role of the social environment
 Lack of evidence for qualitatively different stages
 Some adults never display formal operational thought
processes outside their area of expertise
How are we going to apply Jean Piaget’s
theory in the classroom?
Today many teachers still use Piaget's
theories to enhance students' educations.
Piaget studied knowledge development in
people of all ages, including young children,
and his theories are relevant for K-12
classrooms. Applying Piaget's theories to your
curriculum is simple, effective and beneficial
for students and teachers alike.
Step 1
Research Piaget's developmental theory. Piaget believed that
children reach distinct stages in cognitive development. Between ages 2
and 7, children are egocentric and have trouble understanding different
viewpoints or empathizing with others. They classify objects by a single
characteristic, such as color or shape, without acknowledging other
qualities. From ages 7 to 11, children are capable of logical thought
about objects or events. They classify objects by several different
characteristics. Young people over the age of 11 are able to think
abstractly and hypothetically. They feel more concern for ideological and
moral issues, not just concrete reality.
Step 2
Guide the students. Piaget recommended that teachers
take an active, mentoring role toward students. Instead of
pushing information at students while they sit and listen
passively, share the learning experience and encourage
students to be active and engaged. Take your students
seriously and respect their ideas, suggestions and opinions.
Supplement traditional lectures with relevant, hands-on
classroom activities that let students experience the content
for themselves.
Step 3
Encourage students to learn from their peers. This is
especially relevant for children in the 2 to 7 age range but
applies to students of all ages. Learning to listen thoughtfully
and sensitively to their peers and respect a variety of different
viewpoints will provide lifelong benefits for your students. Since
different students excel at different areas of knowledge,
learning from peers also provides a thorough education.
Step 4
Allow students to learn from their mistakes. Piaget
believed that children develop knowledge about the world
through trial and error. Mistakes can be frustrating for the
students as well as the teacher, but try to model patience and
guide the student toward a different conclusion. Mistakes show
that the student is actively interacting with the world around her
and trying out new ideas for herself.
Step 5
Focus on the process as well as the result. Instead of
focusing on having one right answer, pay attention to the many
different steps it takes to reach a finished product. For instance,
during an art lesson ask the students to notice the different
ways they create a painting. Some may start at the bottom
edge of the easel while others begin at the middle.
Step 6
Respect each student's individual interests,
abilities and limits. Different children reach developmental
stages at different times. Rather than pressuring every child to
adapt to one learning style, pay attention to each child's
developmental stages and adapt the lessons accordingly.
Piaget encouraged independent, hands-on learning and
opportunities for discovery. Plan a variety of classroom
activities that accommodate different learning styles, such as
visual or auditory.
Lev Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory
Who is Lev Vygotsky?
 Lev Vygotsky was born in Russia in 1896.
 He died at the young age of 37 from
 Due to his early death, most of his
theories were left undeveloped.
 His work in the last 10 years of his life
has become the foundation of much
research and theory in cognitive
Areas were social interaction can influence
cognitive development…

 Engagement between the teacher and student

 Physical space and arrangement in learning environment

 Meaningful instruction in small or whole groups

 Scaffolding/Reciprocal teaching strategies

 Zone of Proximal Development

What is the Zone of  The zone of proximal development is the
Proximal Development? area of learning that a more knowledgeable
other (MKO) assists the student in
developing a higher level of learning.

 The goal is for the MKO to be less involved

as the student develops the necessary skills.

 Vygotsky describes it as “the distance

between the actual development level as
determined by independent problem solving
and the level of potential development as
determined through problem solving under
adult guidance or in collaboration with
more capable peers” (Vygotsky, 1978).
• Teachers provide scaffolds
• Vygotsky defined so that the learner can
scaffolding instruction as accomplish certain tasks
the “role of teachers and they would otherwise not
others in supporting the be able to accomplish on
learners development and their own (Bransford,
providing support Brown, & Cocking, 2000).
structures to get to that
next stage or level” • The goal of the educator is
(Raymond, 2000). for the student to become
an independent learner and
problem solver (Hartman,
Reciprocal Teaching

 Reciprocal Teaching is summarizing

used to improve a
students ability to learn
from text through the
practice of four skills: Reciprocal
summarizing, clarifying, Teaching clarifying

questioning, and
Biological & Cultural Development

 Vygotsky (1978) states: “Every function in the child’s

cultural development appears twice: first, on the social
level, and later on the individual level; first, between
people and then inside the child. This applies equally to
voluntary attention, to logical memory, and to the
formation of concepts. All the higher functions originate as
actual relationships between individuals.”

 Simplified: community plays a central role in the process of

“making meaning” (McLeod, 2007).
 Languageplays a central role in
mental development

 Language is the main means by

which adults transmit
information to children

 Language itself becomes a very

powerful tool of intellectual
How can we practically
apply Vygotsky’s theories to
our everyday classrooms?
Physical Arrangement
in the Classroom

 Arrange student desks in


 Arrange other work spaces

for peer instruction,
collaboration, and small
group instruction.
Scaffolding Strategies

Break the task Provide some

Motivate the
down into direction to
child’s interest
manageable keep the child
in the task.
steps. focused.

Model and
Reduce factors
define the
that cause
expectations of
the activity.
Reciprocal Strategies
 Use props to illustrate each of the four
skills to be practiced: summarizing,
clarifying, questioning, and predicting.

 Have students buddy read and practicing

using the reciprocal strategies.
Lesson Content
• Create lessons that engage
student interest and give
them a basis for language
when socially interacting.

• Use technology and hands on

activities to further engage them
in learning
Discussion Question

What can you

change in your

to improve your
students social
development skills and
move them to a higher
level of learning?
Piaget vs. Vygotsky
Piaget Vygotsky

Emphasis Discrete Modeling and

hierarchal stages guided learning
of the individual
Which comes development social learning
first: social
learning (chicken)
or development

* Discuss examples: Toilet

learning, attention span
Gardner’s Theory on
Multiple Intelligence
Howard Gardner

Harvard Graduate School of

 Hobbs Professor of Cognition
and Education
 Co-Director of Project Zero
Boston University School of
 Adjunct Prof. Of Neurology
Author of 16 books
Are you smart?
We are all smart!
We are smart in different ways.

One way is not better than another.

What is intelligence?
 “The ability to solve problems or to create products
that are valued within one or more cultural settings.”
Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
 “A biopsychological potential to process information
that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve
problems or create products that are of value in a
Intelligence Reframed (1999)

 What are the eight intelligences identified by


 How do you know how you are smart?

 How can we incorporate MI theory into our teaching?

Multiple Intelligences
Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence

 Listens and responds to the

spoken word.
 Enjoys reading, writing, and
 Remembers what has been said.
 Remembers what has been read.
 Speaks and writes effectively.
 Can learn other languages.
 Likes math and
 Is familiar with the using technology to
concepts of solve complex
quantity, time, and problems.
cause and effect.
 Expresses interest
 Uses abstract in careers such as
symbols to accounting,
represent concrete computer
objects and technology, and
concepts. law.

 Prefers to touch, handle, or

manipulate what is to be learned.
 Develops coordination and a sense of timing.
 Learns best by direct involvement and participation.
 Remembers most clearly what was done, rather than
what was said or observed.

 Enjoys concrete learning experiences such as field

trips, model building, or participating in role play,
games, assembling objects, or physical exercise.
 Demonstrates skill in acting, athletics, dancing,
sewing, carving, or keyboarding.

 Learns by seeing and observing. Recognizes faces,

objects, shapes, colors, details, and scenes.
 Thinks in pictures and visualizes detail.
 Uses visual images as an aid in recalling information.
 Enjoys doodling, drawing, painting, sculpting, or
otherwise reproducing objects in visible form.
Musical Intelligence

 Listens and responds with interest to a variety of

sounds including the human voice, environmental
sounds, and music, and organizes such sounds into
meaningful patterns.
 Is eager to be around and learn from music and
 Develops the ability to sing and/or play an instrument.

 Bonds with parents and interacts with others.

 Forms and maintains social relationships.
 Perceives the feelings, thoughts, motivations,
behaviors, and lifestyles of others.
 Expresses an interest in interpersonally-oriented
careers such as teaching, social work, counseling,
management, or politics.

 Is aware of his range of emotions.

 Is motivated to identify and pursue goals.
 Works independently.
 Establishes and lives by an ethical value system.
 Strives for self-actualization.
Naturalist Intelligence

 Recognizes and can name many different types of

trees, flowers, and plants.
 Has an interest in and good knowledge of how the
body works and keeps abreast of health issues.
 Is conscious of tracks, nests, and wildlife on a walk
and can “read” weather signs.
 Has an understanding of, and interest in, the main
global environmental issues.
How you are smart . . .

Impacts the way you teach.

The Effects of Teachers’ Learning Styles on Teaching

Learning Style Effect on Teaching

The This teacher stresses a curriculum

Verbal/Linguistic based on language—reading, writing,
Learner and speaking.

Stay alert to students with more concrete learning styles.

The Effects of Teachers’ Learning Styles
on Teaching
Learning Style Effect on Teaching

The Logical/Mathematical This teacher tends to concentrate

Learner on concepts that are both logical
and abstract.

Make a deliberate effort to focus on the fact

that it is appropriate for students to be
artistic and to think in intuitive leaps.
The Effects of Teachers’ Learning Styles on
Learning Style Effect on Teaching

The Visual/Spatial This teacher will provide a great

Learner learning environment for visual
learners. The artistic students will do
well in this classroom.

Build in adequate opportunities for students

who are linguistic learners and for those
who feel artistically inhibited.
The Effects of Teachers’ Learning Styles
on Teaching
Learning Style Effect on Teaching
The Bodily/Kinesthetic This teacher will encourage
Learner experiential learning and have lots
of movement in class. It may be a
challenge to both the logical learner
and the intrapersonal learner.
The Effects of Teachers’ Learning Styles
on Teaching
Learning Style Effect on Teaching
The Musical/Rhythmic This teacher will tend to have a
Learner relaxed classroom but may find it
harder to relate to those students who
are not “in tune with” music.
The Effects of Teachers’ Learning Styles
on Teaching
Learning Style Effect on Teaching
The Interpersonal This teacher generally uses cooperative
Learner learning in the classroom. Students will
feel free to interact and are expected to
do so; perfect for the extrovert.

Be sensitive to the students who need to

be alone in order to create, to learn, or
just to be.
The Effects of Teachers’ Learning Styles
on Teaching
Learning Style Effect on Teaching
The Intrapersonal This teacher will be a great support
Learner for the student who has trouble
functioning in groups.
MI Lesson Planning Guide

Logical/Mathematical Visual/Spatial Intrapersonal

How can I use How can I use How can I provide
numbers, lists, visualization, art, choices or involve
classifications, logic, colors, or metaphors? personal memories
scientific inquiry? or feelings?
Musical - How can
Theme/Concept I use music,
How can I use language rhythm, songs,
(stories, poems, reader’s raps, chants, or
theater)? Bodily/Kinesthetic instruments?
How can I use
Naturalist – How can
Interpersonal - How movement or hands-
on activities? I get students to
can I use partners or
collect data or observe
cooperative group
Information-Processing Theory
•George A. Miller (1920-2012)
•Atkinson and Shriffin (1968)
•Craik and Lockhart (1972)
•Bransford (1979)
•Rumelhart and McClelland (1986)
Exponents of this theory perceive that we are a processor
of information. It means that we are not merely responding
to stimuli rather we process the information we receive.
They equate our mind to a computer, which receives
information and follows a certain program to produce an
Information-Processing Theory
 Development does not occur in stages
 Human input is comparative to the input functions of a
 People manipulate information, monitor it, and then
strategize about it
 An individual’s ability to process information gradually
increases and becomes more complex
 Older children have more complex and a larger variety of
mental processes than those of younger
children (Gale Research 1998)
Information-Processing: George A. Miller
 George A. Miller (Kearsley 2010)outlined major
concepts to information-processing
 Basic principles to Miller’s theory
 Chunking – short-term memory can only
comprehend 7 (plus or minus 2) chunks of
 Concepts of human processing: gathering
and encoding information; retention of
information; retrieval of
information (Cooper 2009)
Information-Processing: Allan Paivio
 Dual-encoding theory
 Verbal and non-verbal encoding occurs
 Verbal and non-verbal encoding are both equally
important to processing
 Research based on Paivio’s dual-encoding theory
has been beneficial and used in bilingual
education (Kearsley 2010)
Information-Processing: In the Classroom
 Starting class:
 Gain attention
Visual cues, voice inflection, movement
 Access Prior Knowledge
Review previous materials

Chart (Huitt 2003)

Information-Processing: In the Classroom
 Teaching new materials
 Highlight important information
 Help/Teach organization skills – helping to
relate new information to prior knowledge
 Teach in “chunks” of material

Chart (Huitt 2003)

Information-Processing: In the Classroom
 Have them “use” the information – show learning
 Comparing and Contrasting
 Displaying information/data
 Mnemonic clues

Chart (Huitt 2003)

Information-Processing: In the Classroom
 Reinforce basic skills and knowledge
 Drills
 Repetition of lesson main points
 Memory games

Chart (Huitt 2003)