Thursday, April 9, 2009

Piaget's development and learning...and 2 examples!

So this is how I understand Piaget's description of learning and development for knowledge...It seems pretty clear to me...but pretty blurry at the same time!

For Piaget, development for knowledge is related and associated with the individual’s physical development, and certainly comes before learning, and also explains learning (through the stages of development that he describes). Development is a process that knowledge is based upon, for completeness and structure. On the contrary, learning occurs through situations (instead of physical progress), and therefore, it is not spontaneous (as is development). It concerns situations, problems and structures. Without development, learning cannot occur, since there need to be the adequate mental structures that will host learning (the structures develop in 4 stages; sensory-motor, pre-operational representation, concrete operations and operations on abstract ideas).

For example, learning to ride a bike requires first physical development (body and brain-mental structures) before the individual manages to cycle effectively. Apart from the body parts that need to be developed, the brain developed is crucial for the individual’s perception of speed, depth and coordination. Without these schemata developed, it would be impossible to learn how to ride a bicycle effectively. Similarly, when the case is learning to read, there needs to be physical development prior to learning, since the child would have to the function of eye coordination (something that would occur between the sensory-motor and the pre-operational representation stage). Once the physical development is done, then learning can take place effectively, and the student can manage to read.