Jean Piaget Contents
Biography Jean Piaget was born in Neuchatel in the Francophone region of Switzerland on August 9,1896. His parents were Arthur and Rebecca, Arthur was a professor of medieval literature at the University of Neuchâtel. Jean was the oldest of his siblings. At the age of 10 Jean would spend many hours at the museum of natural history looking at the specimens especially mollusks. He attended Neuchatel Latin High School where he wrote short scientific papers which his papers on mollusks were published with people thinking he was an expert on the topic and unaware of his age. Jean went on to college at The University of Neuchatel studying zoology and graduated with his Ph.D. in natural science in 1918. Under the mentoring of Carl Jung and Paul Eugen Bieuler at the University of Zurich he spent a semester studying psychology. During that time, he developed an interest in psychoanalysis. He went on and studied abnormal psychology at the Sorbonne in Paris (Editors, 2014). Piaget married in 1923 to Valentine Chatenay. The couple had three children that Jean studied from infancy on. At the University of Neuchatel where he had once studied, he was a professor of psychology, sociology, and the philosophy of science. In 1929 he was offered and accepted the post of Director of the International Bureau of Education where he was the head of it until 1968. Even after he still drafted the Director’s speeches. In March of 1964 Piaget was invited to serve as a chief consultant at two conferences one at Cornell University and the other at the University of California. Both conferences addressed the relationship of cognitive studies and curriculum development. In 1979 he was awarded the Balzan Prize for his work in social and political science. On September 16,1980 in Geneva Switzerland Jean Piaget died of unknown causes. He was laid to rest with his family and per his request had an unmarked grave in the Cemetery of Kings (Jean Piaget, 2018). Impactful Ideas In the 1920’s when Piaget was studying psychology, he investigated the hidden side of children’s minds. He thought that children went from an egocentrism to sociocentric. To prove this, he combined studies of psychological and clinical methods that he performed. He started his interview with the children by asking standardized questions and depending on the answers he then asked nonstandard questions. He asked questions that were not expected which he was looking for what he called “spontaneous conviction.” He noticed that there was a progression from intuitive to scientific and socially acceptable responses. His theory was that children did this because of the social interaction with younger children’s ideas by the ideas of children who were more advanced. This research would later in 1936 gain him a doctorate with Harvard University (Jean Piaget, 2018). While he was employed at the Binet Institute during the 1920’s having to develop French versions of English written intelligence test questions, he was intrigued with children’s wrong answers to logical thinking questions. He realized this had an importance in children verse adult thinking (McLeod, 2018). Piaget was not happy how research was conducted with the study of children when he was studying with his colleagues using a traditional data collection method. He wanted a way that would produce more valid and less guided research that would give more empirically valid results. Developing new methods, he wrote a book called The Language and thought of the Child. This aimed at the methods he used which involved naturalistic observations, psychometrics, and the psychiatric clinical examination when studying the conclusion children gained and how they got to those conclusions from different situations. He wanted to observe how a child responded and articulated certain situations in their own views and reasoning while examining their thought process. Many studies later he found a significant difference in the way adults and children reason. He aimed his focus on the intellectual development since he was not satisfied with the path of logical reasoning and the unspoken thoughts children had. Writing his third book, The Child’s Conception of the World, he addresses some of the difficulties of his prior theories in discussed in his first book and had to include the importance of psychiatric clinical examinations (Jean Piaget, 2018). Connection to Children and Education Jean was the first psychologist to make a methodical study of cognitive development. In this method there are stages of a child’s cognitive development, this study is a stage theory of cognitive development, detailed observation studies of cognition in children, and a series of ingenious test that reveal different cognitive abilities. Piaget was not so interested in how well children could count, spell, or problem solve but the way in which fundamental concepts like the idea of numbers, time, quantity, and so on emerged. He proved that children compared to adults think very differently where before his research the assumption in psychology was children are less competent thinkers than adult. Children when born have a genetically inherited mental structure in which all learning and knowledge is based. In his theory he wanted to pinpoint the process and the mechanics of how infants turn into a child and then into an adult who develop as an individual who can reason and think using hypotheses Piaget believed that children built an understanding of the world that was around them. That the cognitive development was a continuing reorganization of mental processes from biological maturation and environmental experience. Looking at the world around them children can understand it and then compare discrepancies between what they know and what they can discover. His theory consists of three stages. Schemas (building blocks of knowledge), adaptation (process that transition from one stage to another), and the final stage is cognitive development consisting of four stages (sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational) (McLeod, 2018). Educators Using this theory educators focus on student’s as learners. This allows teachers to look at students as individual learners who build on their existing knowledge and understanding. Teachers provide experience-based education opportunities, look at individual qualities and attitudes of the students while building their curriculum. They also allow students insight that may alter the curriculum to match the learner’s curiosity. Taking emotions into play to create a safe learning environment is also crucial (Jean Piaget, 2018).
References Editors, B. (2014). Retrieved from The Biography.com: http://www.biography.com/people/jean-piaget Jean Piaget. (2018, 10 17). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org McLeod, S. (2018). Simply Psychology. Retrieved from Jean Piaget's theory of Cognitivve Development : http://simplypsychology.org/piaget.html