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Piaget's and Vygotsky's Theories of Cognitive Development

Synthesize Piaget's theory of cognitive development and Vygotsky's, including in each the important aspects of their theories. Compare and contrast the two theories. Finally, explain the strengths and weaknesses of each theory. Include, where applicable, real-life examples.

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(a) Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development

Two processes underlie Piaget's theory: (a) the way children organize observations and experiences of the world, and (b) the way in which individuals adapt to the world (i.e., through assimilation and accommodation). Assimilation is the process of incorporating new information and experience with existing knowledge. For example, if a child is first given a sponge, than later given an object that looks like a rock, the child will try to fit the object into his knowledge of rocks. However, if the object does not have the trait of a rock, he may assimilate the object as a sponge. Accommodation is the change that occurs in existing knowledge or experience as a result of assimilating new information (Plotnik, 1986, p. 379). For instance, the child comes to understand through his or her experiences.

Piaget's cognitive development theory was based on the assumption that children go through four stages: (1) Sensorimotor stage [describing their world]), (2) Preoperational stage [child utilizes symbols and images], (3) Concrete operations stage [child develops logical mental operations], and (4) Formal operations stage [thinking and reasoning is developed] ...

Solution Summary

This solution stnthesizes the cognitive development theories of Vygotsky and Piaget