Four Stages of Cognitive Development
According to Piaget’s theory, children progress through a sequence of four major developmental stages:
(a) the sensorimotor stage of infancy- involving the senses and motor activity;
(b) the preoperational stage of early childhood- the stage before a child masters logical mental operations;
(c) the concrete operational stage of middle childhood- mental tasks are tied to concrete objects and situations; and
(d) the formal operational stage of adolescence to adult- mental tasks involving abstract thinking and coordination of a number of variables.
Sensorimotor Birth-2 years
Object permanence Child begins to understand that objects do not cease to exist when they are hidden. Eg.: Showing the child a toy, hide it under a cloth. The child would take out the toy by removing the cloth.
Goal-directed Actions that are produced actions consciously to achieve a desired end. Eg.: Hitting a musical toy to elicit a sound
Preoperational 2-7 years
Semiotic Begins to use gestures, signs, function sounds and words to represent and convey meaning. Eg.: Waving goodbye; pointing to something of interest.
One-way logic Able to think operations through logically in one direction. Eg.: Students treat addition and subtraction as two unrelated processes.
Lack of Believes that amount changes conservation when a substance is reshaped or rearranged, even when nothing is added or taken away. Eg.: Not understanding that there will be same amount of paper, even if it is torn into several pieces.
Egocentricism Have difficulties seeing things from another person’s point of view, they think their own perspective is the only one possible. Eg.: If a little boy is afraid of dogs, he may assume that all children share this fear.
Concrete 7-11 years
Reversibility Understands that certain operational processes can be reversed. Eg.: Students start recognizing that subtraction is the reverse of addition.
Conservation Recognizes that amount stays the same if nothing has been added or taken away, even if a substance is reshaped or rearranged. Eg. Students can prove that there will be same amount of paper, even if it is torn into several pieces, by taping the pieces back
Classification Recognizes that objects may belong to several categories simultaneously. Eg. A student may acknowledge that a mother can be a doctor, a sister and a spouse.
Deductive reasoning Able to draw a logical conclusion from two or more pieces of information. Eg:If all children are human beings and if all human beings are living things, then all children must be living things.
Formal operational 11-adult
Abstract and hypothetical reasoning Ability to reason about abstract, hypothetical, and contrary-to- fact ideas. Eg. A student understands negative numbers and is able to use them effectively in mathematical procedures.
Adolescent egocentrism Understand that others may have different perceptions and beliefs; they become focused on their own ideas, beliefs and attitudes. Eg. “The whole class thought my answer was dumb”.