Opinion piece on Piaget’s stages


Write a two to four page opinion piece on Piagets stages and what context they provide for one of the four ideas below:

Developmentally appropriate practices in schools.
Parent controls on childrens computers/phones.
Movie and video game ratings guidelines.
Grade level book restrictions in school libraries.

Include at least three references to the material from the readings.

Learning Content
Jean Piaget is seen as the father of cognitive developmental theory. As a child he had an interest in marine biology and published papers beginning at age 11 and until his death in his eighties. When he began working at Alfred Binets school in France he was responsible for interviewing children for placements. He began noticing that children around the same age made the same errors of reasoning. He became obsessed with figuring out why. 
Schemas. He hypothesized that our brains had mental mechanisms and he called those, schemas. This mechanism was biological and the foundation of our learning and ability to adapt. As humans, he said, we are scientists trying to understand the world around us, even as infants. We use schemas in at least two ways. First, we assimilate when we discover new information by putting that information in an existing schema. For example, when we learn about mathematics, we usually approach new formulas by referencing what we already mastered. Do you remember learning about fact families in second grade? That process was to assist in broadening your math schemas by adding subtraction to what you already knew about addition. Piaget also said we accommodate when new information comes in that does not fit an existing schema, necessitating the development of a new schema. For instance, my sister-in-laws family had a yellow gray dog that had a long tail and pointy muzzle. When my sister-in-law took her two year old daughter to the zoo, her daughter burst into tears at the wolf enclosure. Crying, she asked her mother why someone put their dog in that pen. My poor niece saw the wolf and due to overgeneralizing and thinking the yellow gray dog-like creature she saw was her dog, she just broke down. Her mom quickly had to help her create a new schema: wolf. Teachers and parents spend a good bit of time with young children helping them assimilate and accommodate to increase understanding and create accurate schemas. On our own, as we develop our schemas become increasingly complex and elaborate. You may have some fun family stories about accommodating for your own errors.
Stages. Piaget also believed as we develop that new abilities and operations come online in stages. As we grow and change, we are able to do increasingly more complex thinking. During the sensorimotor stage (0 to age 2) infants are more able to navigate and understand the world around them. One big operation that develops is object permanence. Babies who do not yet have this ability will not search for a toy when it is covered up. Once they acquire the ability to understand that object does not disappear, they look for the toy. Children in the pre-operational stage (ages 2 to 7) continue their quest for discovery by relying on intuitive answers to their investigations as logic has not kicked in yet. They experience a language explosion and ask a million questions! Why? Because they can, Piaget says. Fortunately, logic comes online in the concrete operations stage (ages 7 to 11). This stage sees creating a series, envisioning it backwards: smallest to largest or fewest to most. Children begin to group objects and create categories. It appears that they like collecting things. You might have been the child who knew all the names of the dinosaurs and whether they were herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores. Perhaps, you were the sports enthusiast who knew lists of factoids and statistics about your favorite team or athlete. All of these are elements of concrete operations. As children begin to understand the finer or more subtle aspects of groups their thinking becomes more sophisticated. Last, Piaget envisioned the formal operational stage (age 11 and up) where abstract thinking comes online. Early adolescents come to understand hypothesizing and deductive reasoning. Another big leap in this stage is developing a social consciousness. Often early teens begin to think about the wider world and the solutions to big problems.
Required Readings
Suggested Readings

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