Developmental Theory Essay

1726 Words Oct 25th, 2010 7 Pages
Summary of the Contributions and Shortcomings
Of Piaget’s Theory.

This essay will be summarising the contributions and shortcomings of the Cognitive-Developmental theory and firstly explore the background and key concept’s of Piaget’s work behind child development. Secondly Piaget’s ideas about cognitive change and the four stages of development from birth which are the sensorimotor stage, the pre-operational stage, the concrete operational stage and the formal operational stage and how this impacts development. Thirdly the main weaknesses of the cognitive theory and why, and look at whether any studies/theories support or refute Piaget’s theory and if they are credible to apply to real life. Finally determining whether Piaget’s theory
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Piaget's explanation of cognitive development is an important theory that is used by many, but by learning all of the other theories that are associated with the cognitive development we can see that even Piaget's theory has its own weaknesses. Vygotsky’s Sociocultural theory for example emphasises the effects of rich social and cultural contexts of children’s thinking whereas Piaget’s theory looks at the biological side of cognitive development. Vygotsky who found a flaw in Piaget’s work believed that language helps children think about mental activities and children speak to themselves for self guidance he called this ‘private speech’. Piaget however had different ideas and come to the understanding that ‘egocentric speech’ which was the meaning he gave it, happens when the child is attempting to converse with others but was failing. Piaget also theorized that ‘egocentric speech disappeared with age because the child learned to consider the viewpoint of others while talking’ (Piaget, 1971). Many studies have been conducted and almost all have supported Vygotsky’s perspectives of language (Berk&Harris, 2003) Vygotsky and Jerome Bruner both emphasized that language is a lot more important than what Piaget’s theory implied. Piaget’s theory has also suffered from criticism for some of his case studies on whether all individuals automatically move to the next cognitive stage as they biologically mature. Psychologists believed that Piaget