Piaget described the mechanism by which the mind processes new information. He said that a person understands whatever information fits into his established view of the world. When information does not fit, the person must re-examine and adjust his thinking to accommodate the new information. Piaget described four stages of cognitive development and relates them to a person's ability to understand and assimilate new information.Cognitive development of children is therefore divided into 4 stages. These PiagetHYPERLINK "http://www.buzzle.com/articles/piagets-stages-of-development.html"'HYPERLINK "http://www.buzzle.com/articles/piagets-stages-of-development.html"s stages of development are described below.
Sensorimotor: (birth to about age 2)
Preoperational: (begins about the time the child starts to talk to about age 7)
Concrete: (about first grade to early adolescence)
Formal Operations: (adolescence)
At the secondary classroom level, most of the students will be at their formal operations level where they should be able to reason hypothetically and deductively. It is characterized by an increased independence for thinking through problems and situations. Adolescents should be able to understand pure abstractions, such as philosophy and higher math concepts. During this age, children should be able to learn and apply general information needed to adapt to specific situations. They should also be able to learn specific information and skills necessary for an occupation. A major component of the passage through adolescence is a cognitive transition. Compared to children, adolescents think in ways that are more advanced, more efficient, and generally more complex. This ability can be seen in five ways.
First, during adolescence individuals become better able than children to think about what is possible, instead of limiting their thought to what is real. Adolescents are able to consider what they observe against a backdrop of what is possible; they can think hypothetically.
Second, during the passage into adolescence, individuals become better able to think about abstract ideas. For example, adolescents find it easier than children to comprehend the sorts of higher-order, abstract logic inherent in puns, proverbs, metaphors, and analogies. The adolescent's greater facility with abstract thinking also permits the application of advanced reasoning and logical processes to social and ideological matters. This is clearly seen in the adolescent's increased facility and interest in thinking about interpersonal relationships, politics, philosophy, religion, and morality.
Third, during adolescence individuals begin thinking more often about the process of thinking itself, or metacognition. As a result, adolescents may display increased introspection and self-consciousness. Although improvements in metacognitive abilities provide important intellectual advantages, one potentially negative byproduct of these advances is the tendency for adolescents to develop a sort of egocentrism, or intense preoccupation with the self.
A fourth change in cognition is that thinking tends to become multidimensional, rather than limited to a single issue. Whereas children tend to think about things one aspect at a time, adolescents can see things through more complicated lenses. Adolescents describe themselves and others in more differentiated and complicated terms and find it easier to look at problems from multiple perspectives. Being able to understand that people's personalities are not one-sided or that social situations can have different interpretations depending on one's point of view permits the adolescent to have far more sophisticated and complicated relationships with other people.
Finally, adolescents are more likely than children to see things as relative, rather than absolute. Children tend to see things in absolute terms-in black and white. Adolescents, in contrast, tend to see things as relative. They are more likely to question others' assertions and less likely to accept facts as absolute truths. This increase in relativism can be particularly exasperating to parents, who may feel that their adolescent children question everything just for the sake of argument. Difficulties often arise, for example, when adolescents begin seeing their parents' values as excessively relative.
As a teacher I need to take all the above into considerations before planning my lessons and organising learning in the class. To enhance the students cognitive development I will need to:
Understand the diverse needs of the students
The children assume adult responsibilities at an early age, and generational boundaries between child and parent are often blurred in age-condensed family structures. Family expectations for assuming adult roles and responsibilities at home are often misunderstood by teachers and school administrators, who view and interact with these students as if they were children rather than adults. These conflicting expectations for behavior-adult at home and child at school-are often troubling to students who want to be acknowledged and respected for the adult responsibilities they have.
Despite differences in the social class backgrounds of teachers and students, I should be able to strike a delicate balance between exercising authority in the classroom and engaging and interacting with students as peers.
Classroom management practices that are individually tailored to students' needs and backgrounds are most effective.
Student motivation is essential for learning and social behavior. Goal-orientation theory should be applied to teacher education. Two types of goals have received attention: Mastery (learning a goal or task goal [how to do a task]) and performance (ego goal [demonstrating ability by comparing one's performance with that of others] or relative ability). Mastery goals that focus on "interest" rather than "result" (e.g., final grade) enhance intrinsic motivation and are related to positive outcomes. Children who have a mastery goal orientation tend to have long-term academic efficacy, high self-esteem, and robust peer relationships. Performance goal orientation is less adaptive than mastery goal orientation, especially for children who have low perceived competence (the view of one's ability to successfully carry out an activity).
3. Emphasize the centrality of development rather than the centrality of passing on information.
As a teacher, my main role involves more than helping students merely acquire content and information. Rather, it involves helping students develop the social, emotional, and ethical qualities that will enable them to have success in school and success in later life.
Include adolescents in discussions about a variety of topics, issues, and current events.
Encourage adolescents to share ideas and thoughts with you.
Encourage adolescents to think independently and develop their own ideas.
Assist adolescents in setting their own goals.
Stimulate adolescents to think about possibilities of the future.
Compliment and praise adolescents for well thought out decisions.
Assist adolescents in re-evaluating poorly made decisions for themselves.