Cognitive Development
and Language
Cluster 2
Modules 3 – 6
Educational Psychology, ALE, 11th Edition
ISBN 0137144547
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Focus Questions
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What are the three questions that cut across theories of
development and three general principles of agreement?
How does language usually develop during the school years, and
what happens if children are learning tow languages at once?
How does children’s thinking differ at each of the four stages of
development Piaget described?
How do cultural tools and social influences shape thinking in
Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development??
What is the zone of proximal development?
What are the similarities and differences between Piaget’s and
Vygotsky’s ideas about cognitive development?
What are the implications of Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories for
teaching students of different ages?
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
2
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
What would you do?

Review “What would you do?” on p. 29

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What do these students’ reactions tell you
about children’s thinking?
How would you approach this unit?
What more would you do to “listen” to your
students’ thinking so you could match your
teaching to their level of thinking?
How would you give your students concrete
experience with symbolism?
How will you decide if the students are not
developmentally ready for this material?
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
3
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Three Big Questions

Nature vs. Nurture
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Which drives development?
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Continuity vs. Discontinuity
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Impossible to separate influences; both are critical
Does progress ebb and flow or does it build
gradually?
Critical Periods

‘Sensitive periods’ better descriptors for points
where children are best able to learn
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
4
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Three Guiding Principles
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Different rates of development
Development is orderly
Development is gradual
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
5
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Development

Orderly, adaptive changes we go through
from conception to death
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What does this mean?
Types of development: physical, personal,
social, cognitive
Maturation (nature rather than nurture)
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Changes are genetically pre-determined
Similar across individuals and cultures
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
6
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Brain Physiology

Parts of the brain:
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Neurons and their components
Lobes and cortex (hierarchical functions)
Hemispheres and their role in cognition
(lateralization)
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Left associated with language processing and
creativity
Right associated with visual-spatial
organization
Less pronounced for left-handed persons and
women
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
7
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
8
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Neurons

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Communication mechanisms in the brain
Control transmission of chemicals called
neurotransmitters
Action potentials, or tiny electrical surges,
guide communication
Neurotransmitters are absorbed by other
neurons’ dendritic branches, which continues
the communication process.
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
9
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Physiology and Instruction
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Individual experiences
Direct instruction
“Types” of learning
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Direct (vertical, oblique, horizontal)
Indirect (situational)
Behavioral
Emotional
Cognitive
Others?
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
10
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Instruction

Learner cognitive preferences or strengths

Some students will learn better with visual tasks, others with
auditory tasks, etc.


Plasticity and development

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Vary classroom activities to both cultivate a variety of skills and
allow individuals opportunities to “shine” in their areas of
strength
Young children have extremely plastic minds; they are
heavily influenced by extreme events and flourish in rich
environments that include diverse but controlled tactile,
visual, auditory and other stimuli.
Many behavioral and cognitive disorders are
neurological
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
11
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Jean Piaget
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
Piaget was a Swiss psychologist who spent
thousands of hours observing and writing
about children in the early and middle 20th
century
Piaget’s body of research (research corpus or
research programme) focused on ways in
which children’s development progresses as
they grow older
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
12
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Piaget
Piaget is best known for two major ideas
that serve as fundamentals of
educational psychology:
•
•
Organizational structure of the mind
Stages of childhood development
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
13
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Piaget: Organization


Hypothesized learning is an on-going process
of taking in and organizing new information
The mind is a network of nodes connected by
links (much like neurons) that, together,
function as frameworks for experiences and
expectations. He called these schema
(Woolfolk calls them “schemes”).
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
14
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Piaget: Organization
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

Schemata (plural of schema) are like “scripts”
for our beliefs about certain situations
They are adaptive and help us function both
in new and in frequent experiences
Piaget theorized that we all have schemata
for many situations and develop them at an
early age
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
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© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Piaget: Organization
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Assimilation – fitting new information into
existing schema
Accommodation – altering schema or creating
new schema to fit new material
Equilibration – search for balance between
existing schemata and new input
Disequilibrium – lack of balance between
existing schemata and new input

Piaget hypothesized disequilibrium motivates us to
engage in learning and work to establish
equilibrium by means of accommodation.
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
16
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Piaget: Stages

Sensorimotor (0-2 years)
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Imitation, memory and thought develop
Recognize object permanence
Reflex to goal-directed activity
Preoperational (2-7 years)
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Language acquisition and use
Symbolic thinking
Logical reasoning (A will lead to B)
Egocentric
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
17
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Piaget: Stages

Concrete operations (7-11 years)
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Solve logical problems through manipulation
Laws of conservation
Understands reversibility
Formal operations (11- adult)
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Abstract thinking
Scientific (logico-mathematical) reasoning
Social, multi-layered, complex thinking
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
18
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Piaget: Stages

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Limitations of stage model
Value of stage model
What comes after formal operations?
Other terms of interest …
 Object identity
 Compensation (e.g. height for width)
 Classification (grouping)
 Seriation (sequential ordering)
 Reversibility (follow thinking in multiple
directions)
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
19
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Neo-Piagetian Views


Case (1992/98) suggests children
develop stage-wise across discrete
domains, so they may advance more
quickly in one domain than in another
Other ideas or explanations for Piaget’s
findings?
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
20
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Piaget: Implications

Select materials and activities appropriate to
students’ comprehension abilities


Challenge students, but provide adequate support
in order to ensure they are able to move fluidly
from disequilibrium to equilibrium and so on.
Knowledge is constructed

Children must interact with reality in order to
learn. Opportunities to manipulate (e.g. play) and
apply classroom material is critical.
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
21
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Lev Vygotsky



Russian psychologist (1896-1934), much of whose
work was suppressed until the dissolution of the
USSR
Focused on sociocultural theory, the idea that all
development takes place in social settings and is
therefore influenced by social forces
Developed theories as he worked to improve his
own teaching and looked for ideas that might help
explain and guide his experiences as an educator
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
22
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Sociocultural Theory


Information is passed in two phases:
interpsychologically and then intrapsychologically
Experiences are co-constructed; both the
teacher and the learner participate in the
process of knowledge acquisition or
construction
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
23
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Role of Social Interaction




Piaget: Disequilibrium is the key to learning.
Vygotsky: Encounters with more experienced
people (experts) is key to learning.
Piaget: Peer-to-peer interaction is the best
source of motivation to learn.
Vygotsky: Adult or older person-to-child
interactions as ideal sources of learning.
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
24
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Cultural Tools


Tools employed in the culture, in frequent
social situations (e.g. calculators, blogs, wikis,
PDAs, cell phones, etc.) are critical to
cognitive development
People are best able to represent their
thoughts when they are familiar with
commonly accepted forms of communication
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
25
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Language


Language is central to sociocultural theory
because it is the primary means of
information transmission between expert and
learner
Private Speech vs. Egocentric Speech:



Piaget viewed egocentric speech as evidence of
children’s social immaturity
Vygotsky viewed private speech as a tool for
simplifying complex tasks
Have you ever found yourself talking out loud
while trying to solve a difficult problem?
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
26
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Zone of Proximal Development

The Zone of Proximal development is
known as the ZPD
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
27
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Scaffolding


“Scaffolding” is the work required by
the expert necessary to bring the
learner from that which they are
capable of doing alone to that which
they are capable of doing with
assistance.
It is also used to describe the act of
assistance itself.
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
28
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Language



Language development is a part of the
manner in which many of us learn about
nuances of our culture and appropriate forms
of interaction.
Those who have mastered one language are
better able to learn others.
Thus, young children actually tend to learn
foreign languages more slowly than children
in middle childhood and adolescence.
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
29
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Language
 Pronunciation, however, ought to be taught
early; adolescents and older people tend to
speak languages with an accent if they
learned them after about age 12-14.
 Your book provides an overview of language
development stages in early childhood.
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
30
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Cultural Notes


Western children seem to progress
through development at different paces
than non-Western children
Cognitive development and language
development also seem to develop
differently, though many variables must
be taken into account
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
31
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Instruction


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
Pronunciation
Grammar
Vocabulary and meaning
Pragmatics (appropriate use of language)
Metalinguistic awareness
Partnership with families
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
32
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Review


Piaget and Vygotsky suggest a
paradigm of cognitive development
through physical and social stimulation.
Cognitive development requires sensory
stimulation; high variability in sensory
experiences leads to high levels of
cognitive development.
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
33
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Review


Children should have opportunities to
play.
Students should not be assisted with
that which they are able to do by
themselves; they should be assisted to
achieve slightly more than they might
on their own.
Educational Psychology, ALE. 11th Edition
Anita Woolfolk
ISBN 0135094100
34
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
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Cognitive Development Part I