Human Development and Learning FHT4: 601.2.1-02
Piaget and Vygotsky – Two Approaches to Cognitive Development
Jean Piaget and Lev S. Vygotsky are two of the greatest psychologists associated with the development of the human mind. Both developed theories that are still in use today, regarding how the developing minds of children are affected by their environment, and how educators can best use these theories to more effectively instruct their students. This paper will discuss both theories and how they compare. But first, we need to start with a definition.
What is Cognitive Development Theory?
As a person grows from birth to adulthood, they undergo many processes of development, including physical development, social development, language development and, for the purposes of this discussion, cognitive development. Cognitive development is the process by which a person develops from infancy into a thinking, rational adult. It involves a continuous development of methods of knowledge acquisition, improvement of critical thinking skills, learning ability, reasoning and abstraction. In many respects, cognitive development theory is the study and analysis of how we, as human beings, develop those qualities that make us “human”. Cognitive development theory encompasses many different schools of thought and is not without controversy and heated debate. One such ongoing debate has been the importance of genetics and experience on how the human mind develops. This issue, more commonly referred to as the Nature (genetic) vs. Nurture (experience) debate raged for most, if not all of the 20th Century and continues even today. Fortunately, as Saul McLeod noted in 2007: In practice hardly anyone today accepts either of the extreme positions. There are simply too many “facts” on both sides of the argument which are inconsistent with an “all or nothing” view. So instead of asking whether child development is down to nature or nurture the question has been reformulated as...