Discussion question ( please respond to initial and classmate post)

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 Stage Theories
Please respond to the following:

  • Evaluate the merits of Piaget’s stage theory for explaining cognitive development.
  • Discuss evidence that supports his theory as well as evidence that calls it into question.
  • Discuss your personal opinions about stage theories in general. Who are some of the major detractors and how would you address them?

Respond to classmate post: 

Stage Theories

Please respond to the following:

•Evaluate the merits of Piaget’s stage theory for explaining cognitive development.

Piaget’s cognitive development theory is a comprehensive theory that deals with nature and development of human intelligence. The theory deals with the nature of knowledge and how humans acquire, construct, and use knowledge. Piaget’s theory is mainly known as a developmental stage theory. Piaget believed that children construct an understanding of the world around them, based on their experiences of what they already know and what they discover in their environment, then adjust their ideas accordingly. Moreover, Piaget claimed that cognitive development is at the center of the human organism, and language is contingent on knowledge and understanding acquired through cognitive development.

•Discuss evidence that supports his theory as well as evidence that calls it into question.

Piaget contributions offers a field of cognitive development. His theory covers a broad age span and bringing together a large variety of children’s achievements at any given age. Piaget offers a wealth of observations and gives a better understanding to philosophers, parents, and teachers. The sequences of stages are culturally invariant with formal operations inevitably reached. Not all cultures show evidence of formal operations. Even in western culture, people fail to reason at the formal operational level much of the time. There is a qualitative change in cognition from stage to stage and consistency of reasoning within a stage. Children learn more at given stages that Piaget thought, and they do not always reason consistently within the stage. Children exhibit the characteristics of each stage includes all the competence of the previous stage (hierarchization). Children are sometimes egocentric beyond the preoperational stage. Preoperational children are not egocentric all the time. Global restructuring characterizes stage shifting. Reasoning appears to be more domain-specific than global.

•Discuss your personal opinions about stage theories in general. Who are some of the major detractors and how would you address them?

The contribution of Piaget’s theory to education is great. He introduced new understanding to the developmental learning process; “Learning is all about making connections”, as Piaget said. Based on this definition of learning, educators are required to pay more attention to the learner’s prior knowledge while planning for new teaching activities. For example, teachers much pretest their students on their level of content to better focus their attention on areas of study the learner is unfamiliar with. The stages in the theory of cognitive development helped educators design learning activities and curricula that are appropriate for learners at each stage. Science educational researchers developed teaching methods (e.g., Conceptual Change Model) based on the contributions of the Piaget’s theory.  One well known detractor of Piaget’s theory is Vygotsky, who chastises Piaget for his inattention to culturally specific influences on cognitive development. The children Piaget studied grew up in Geneva, a Western culture where children attend school and are trained in certain forms of thinking. Yet Piaget largely ignored this influence and attributed each child’s intellectual growth to the individual’s cognitive reaction to the environment. While there is some credibility to what Vygotsky must say he is not replacing Piaget’s theory with more creditable evidence and Piaget’s theory is still being use today despite what Vygotsky has to say.


Driscoll, M. Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

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