Discuss the application of cognitive theories to education

Dicuss the application of cognitive theories to education (8+16 marks)

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Discuss the application of one or more theories of cognitive development to
education (8 + 16 marks)
Many aspects of theories of cognitive development have been applied to
education; cognitive theories which were suggested by psychologists, such as
Piaget and Vygotsky, many years ago are still being applied to today's education.
Piaget's theory of cognitive development has had a huge impact on the
education system, he believed that cognitive development was a result of
maturation and therefore children can only be taught certain things at certain
ages when they are biologically ready. This is what Piaget referred to as
readiness and is applied to education. For example, in schools across the country,
children are taught arithmetic skills after a certain age (around six or seven years)
when they are biologically ready and are at a certain stage to fully understand
how to use the skill. However, some psychologists argue against Piaget's theory is
culturally biased due to the fact much of Piaget's work was based on children
from one culture which was an individualist society; therefore, some psychologists
argue that his theories cannot be applied to all cultures.
Piaget theories have helped to form much of the educational programme; his
theories helped to form The Plowden Report's recommendation that primary
education should be more child-centred than teacher-led. This would mean that
the role of the teacher is not to teach, but instead to provide children with
opportunities to explore and learn about the world around them; this is known as
`discovery learning', and supports Piaget's view that children are like `little
scientists' who explore their environment. This recommendation also supports
Piaget's view that children have an innate tendency to learn about the real world
and things which they have not yet discovered.
Vygotsky, a psychologist who also developed a theory for cognitive learning, has
had an impact on education and how children are taught. Vygotsky suggested
that children's learning is highly influenced by social interactions and therefore
collaborative learning is the best way to learn. He also identified the zone of
proximal development; this is the gap in between what child can do and what they
can do with the support of a more knowledgeable other. These ideas have
helped to develop the education system as in most schools, children at different
intellectual abilities work together towards a common goal; this is because it is
easier to find solutions through shared understanding. Also, Vygotsky's concept
of the more knowledgeable other has helped to form peer tutoring in which one
pupil, of a high ability, works with their peer, who is of a lower ability, to help them
to better understand and find a solution for their work. However, Slavin would
argue against the idea that peer tutoring, based on Vygotsky's ideas, help a pupil

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He claims that peer tutoring often occurs in addition to normal
lessons and therefore they can just be seen as extra lessons rather.
Overall, in conclusion, cognitive theories by both Piaget and Vygotsky have
helped to shape the education system; however, some sociologists argue that
the Piaget's theory can't be seen as a valid one as it is culturally biased,
questioning whether the education system in one country can be applied to
another country.…read more



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