EDUCATIONAL
PSYCHOLOGY
REFLECTION FOR ACTION
Canadian Edition
O’Donnell, D’Amico, Schmid, Reeve, Smith
CHAPTER 2
Cognitive Development
Chapter 2 Cognitive Development
• Themes of the Chapter
– Biology and maturation underlie all
developmental processes
– Growth-promoting experience must
occur in order for cognitive development
to be fully realized
– There are many school-related
experiences that help learners realize
their developmental potentials
Educational Psychology, Canadian Edition
Guiding Questions
• How does education enrich brain development?
• How does Piaget explain cognitive
development?
• What are the stages of cognitive development?
• How can teachers apply Piaget’s theory in the
classroom?
(continued)
Educational Psychology, Canadian Edition
Guiding Questions (continued)
• How does Vygotsky explain sociocognitive
development?
• How can teachers apply Vygotsky’s theory
in the classroom?
• How does language develop?
• How can teachers use their knowledge of
cognitive development when working with
diverse learners and students with special
needs?
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Brain Development
• Brain structure and function
• How does experience (education) affect
brain development?
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Brain Structure and Function
• Hippocampus – processes a person’s
new experiences
• Amygdala – generate negative
emotions as the brain’s warning system
• Neurons – make all brain functions
possible
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Figure 2.1 Brain Structures and
Their Functions
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Brain Structure and Function
• Exposure to a stimulating environment will
stimulate neurons
• When stimulated, neurons reach out to
neighbouring neurons
• With repeated stimulation, the number of
connections between neurons increases and
the neurons bond together
• This pattern of connections is known as
memory
Educational Psychology, Canadian Edition
Brain Structure and Function
Educational Psychology, Canadian Edition
How Education Affects Brain
Development
• Neural plasticity – brain’s capacity for
structural change as the result of
experience
• Stimulating environments give the brain
a great deal of information to process,
store, remember, and later use to solve
problems
• The information may facilitate greater
neuronal connectivity
Educational Psychology, Canadian Edition
Cognitive Development
• Piaget’s Theory
– Adaptations are inborn process of adjusting to the
demands of the environment
– Schemas are basic structures for organizing
information
• Behavioural schemas are mental representations of
physical actions
• Symbolic schemas are language-based mental
representations of objects and events
• Operations are mental actions to solve a problem
Educational Psychology, Canadian Edition
Assimilation and
Accommodation
• Assimilation is a process of
incorporation in which some outside
event is brought into a person’s way of
thinking
• Accommodation is a modification
process in which an existing schema is
changed or modified to make sense of
something that is new and different
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Disequilibrium
• Disequilibrium is a state of cognitive
conflict that arises when one’s existing
way of thinking is not confirmed by
experience
– Using adaptation a person can move
from disequilibrium to equilibrium
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Figure 2.3 Origins and
Consequences of Disequilibrium
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Piaget’s Stages in Cognitive
Development
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Sensorimotor Stage
• Primary circular reactions (1-4 months) Some actions
are satisfying and repeated
• Secondary circular reactions (4-8 months) Some
actions are found to have interesting effects on the
environment
• Goal-directed behaviour (8-12 months) Intentions
replace reflexes
• Tertiary circular reactions (12-18 months) Curiosity
leads to experimenting with objects
• Symbolic problem solving (18-24 months) Symbolic
images of environmental objects are created
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Sensorimotor Stage
• Object Permanence – understanding
that objects continue to exist even when
they cannot be seen or detected by
other senses
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Preoperational Stage
• Children create symbolic schemas to
represent the objects and events
around them
• Children take part in pretend play
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Concrete Operations Stage
• Children can develop an internal mental
activity that allows them to revise or
alter a symbol or image to reach a
logical conclusion
• This mental manipulation can only be
with concrete objects and events that lie
in front of them
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Capacities of ConcreteOperational Thinking
• Animism
– Belief that all things are alive and living
– In concrete operations children can tell the difference
between animate and inanimate objects
• Centration
– Focusing on an object’s most salient feature while
neglecting equally important but less perceptually
salient features
– In concrete operations children can focus on more
than one item at a time
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(continued)
Capacities of Concrete-Operational
Thinking (continued)
• Transductive reasoning
– Causal understanding in which a child
thinks that when two events occur
simultaneously, one must have caused
the other
– In concrete operations children have a
better understanding of cause-andeffect relationships than in the
preoperational stage
(continued)
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Capacities of Concrete-Operational
Thinking (continued)
• Egocentrism
– Viewing the world from one’s own
perspective while failing to recognize
that other people might have a different
perspective or point of view
– In concrete operations children are
more aware of others’ perspectives
than they were in the preoperational
stage
(continued)
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Capacities of Concrete-Operational
Thinking (continued)
• Reversibility
– Capability to reverse an action by mentally
performing its opposite
– In concrete operations children can
mentally undo an action
• Classification
– Grouping objects into categories
– In concrete operations children advance to
two-dimensional classifications
(continued)
Educational Psychology, Canadian Edition
Capacities of Concrete-Operational
Thinking (continued)
• Seriation
– Mentally arranging or ordering a set of
objects along a quantifiable dimension,
such as height
– In concrete operations children arrange
objects in serial order from shortest to
longest
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Conservation
• This is the crucial operational schema
that defines the concrete operations
stage
– It is the understanding that
appearance alterations do not
change the essential properties of
an object
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Figure 2.5 Three Piagetian Tests of a
Child’s Capacity to Conserve
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Capacities of Concrete-Operational
Thinking
• Generate a list of classroom activities
that will involve the following:
– Transductive reasoning
– Conservation
– Animism
– Reversibility
– Classification
– Seriation
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Formal Operations Stage
• With formal-operational thinking,
thinking can be independent of concrete
reality and involve systematic problem
solving
– Inductive reasoning is the abstraction of
a general principle from a variety of
examples
– Deductive reasoning is drawing
information or hypotheses out of a
general premise or a sample of
evidence
Educational Psychology, Canadian Edition
Your Turn
• Develop a task for each stage of
Piaget’s theory of cognitive
development
• Justify why each task is appropriate for
each stage
(See p. 49 in your textbook for teaching
techniques to enrich formal operations in the
classroom)
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Three Applications of Piaget’s Theory
• Be sensitive to individual differences
• Motivate by stimulating curiosity
– Guessing and feedback
– Suspense
– Controversy
• Promote discovery-based learning
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Limitations of Piaget’s Theory
• Sometimes underestimates the
intellectual capacity of infants,
preschoolers, and elementary school
students
• Errs when it says that development is
marked by qualitative changes
• Robbie Case at University of Toronto
– Studied the development of learning strategies
in terms of changes in control structures
involved in the solution of specific problems
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Limitations of Piaget’s Theory
• Discovery learning is not as effective as
guided discovery learning
• Neglects the importance of culture and
social guidance in cognitive
development
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Sociocognitive Development
• Vygotsky argued that cognitive
development emerges mostly out of the
child’s social interactions with parents,
teachers, peers, and other competent
members of society
• Vygotsky advocated guided
participation instead of discovery
learning
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Zone of Proximal Development
• Predevelopment is a level of competence at
which a student is unable to solve problems in
that domain
• Zone of proximal development is a level of
competence on a task in which the student
cannot yet master the task on his or her own but
can accomplish that same task with appropriate
guidance from a more capable partner
• Actual development is a level at which students
are capable of solving problems independently
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Scaffolding
• The guidance, support, and tutelage provided
by a teacher during social interaction designed
to advance students’ current level of skill and
understanding
– Provides support
– Extends the range of what a learner can do
– Allows the learner to accomplish tasks
otherwise impossible
– Used only when needed
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Instructional Conversations with
Groups of Learners
• IRE discourse model: conversation during
teaching that follows an initiate, respond,
evaluate script
• PQS discourse model: conversation during
teaching that follows a probe, question,
scaffold script
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Socially Shared Cognition
• A shared understanding of a problem
that emerges during group interaction
that would not have been achieved by
any individual member of the group
acting alone
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Intersubjectivity
• The unique product that arises from
social interaction in which the
interaction partners come to a shared
understanding of how to manage the
problem-solving situation
• What are some examples of
intersubjective experiences?
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Transfer of Responsibility
• Transfer of responsibility occurs as the
student accomplished subgoals of the
activity, gains skill and understanding,
and shows less need for assistance
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Role of Language in Cognitive
Development
• For Piaget, thought precedes language, and
language is a by-product of cognitive
development
• For Vygotsky, language is a social bridge to
connect a mentor’s advanced development
with a novice’s immature development, and
language creates cognitive development
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Three Types of Private Speech
• Self-guidance – remarks about one’s
own activity that are public but not
directed to anyone in particular
• Reading aloud – reading books or other
materials aloud, sounding out words, or
silently mouthing words
• Inaudible muttering – quiet remarks that
cannot be heard by an observer
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Influence of Cultural Tools
• First level of sociocognitive development –
face-to-face, one-on-one interaction between
a competent member of the culture and a
less competent member
• Second level of sociocognitive development –
through the culture’s history and technology,
effective cultural tools for solving problems
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Importance of Peers to
Development
• Sociocognitive development (Vygotsky)
– more able peers can help as much as
a teacher and are usually closer to the
learner’s zone of proximal development
• Cognitive development (Piaget) – peers
can create cognitive conflict and thus
promote development
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Applications of Vygotsky’s
Theory
•
•
•
•
Teacher as a guide, mentor
Peers as guides, mentors
Culture as guide, mentor
A new view of motivation
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Canadian Research into Practice
– Kieran Egan at Simon Fraser
University, proposes a “modified
Vygotskian approach” that draws upon
and extends the notion of cognitive
tools
• By definition, oral experience has to
precede literacy
• “Cognitive Toolkits” enable us to make
sense of the world
• Teachers should draw upon the sense
of wonder
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Language Development
• Innate language acquisition device
– Children learn the language of their culture
naturally, mostly by listening (18 months to six
years of age)
– Syntax: children have a biological preparedness
for structure of language
– Phonology and semantics: these develop
rapidly from age 2 through preschool
• Role of a teacher: to provide many
opportunities for children to use language to
interact socially
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Language Disabilities and Brain
Functioning
• Dyslexia – reading disability in which
words are read from right to left and
letters of the same configuration are
reversed
• Aphasia – language disability in which
the person has difficulty understanding
or producing speech
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Technology Support for Young
Readers & Readers with Special Needs
• Talking books for young readers
– Digital or computerized versions of traditional
picture storybooks can promote phonological
awareness, vocabulary development, and
reading comprehension
• Electronic books for students with special
needs
– Books with large print or audio and text-tospeech capabilities function as assistive
technology
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Text-Based Scaffolding Devices
• Transitional resources – convert text to
speech or definitions
• Illustrative resources – add pictures, charts
and videos to the text
• Summarizing resources – overview of text
with concept map or chapter outline
• Notational resources – promote interaction
with note taking or outlining
• Enrichment resources – informational
sidebars, historical background, and links
to primary resources
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Second Language Acquisition and
Bilingualism
• Second language acquisition
– Relatively easy during childhood
– Noticeably more difficult after puberty
• Bilingualism
– The use of two or more languages in
everyday life
– Proficiency in one language is highly
related to proficiency in a second language
Educational Psychology, Canadian Edition
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