Comparing Vygotsky and Piaget

Similarities between Piaget and Vygotsky

Piaget - places emphasis on both nature and nurture: adaptive processes and maturation of brain and body (nature) combined with children responding to the demands of the environment in ways that meet their own goals (nurture)

Vygotsky - places emphasis on both nature and nurture: believed heredity (nature) and dialogues with more expert members of society (nurture) contribute jointly to development.

Vygotsky also agreed with Piaget about the basics:

  • Children's reasoning abilities develop in sequence (through age)
  • Knowledge is contructed from interaction with the environment.
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Differences between Piaget and Vygotsky

  • Piaget believed that cognitive development is driven by a child's inbuilt tendency to adapt to new experiences, whereas Vygotsky believed that cognitive development is driven by social interaction and experience within a culture.
  • Piaget believed that cognitive development is mostly the same universally, whereas Vygotsky believed that cognitive development differs from culture to culture and one historical era to the next.
  • Piagetbelieved that learners progress through the stages with age, and learn increasingly more complex information and skills as they get older, whereas Vygotsky believed that children learn increasingly more complex information and skills as they get older through the performance of more difficult tasks with the help of a more advanced other.
  • Piaget believed that knowledge is acquired through direct experiences, whereas Vygotsky believed that knowledge is acquires through the internalisation of the expert's understanding.
  • Piaget believed that individual egocentric processes and language become more social, whereas Vygotsky believed that social processes or interactions with others become individual psychological processes.
  • Piaget believed that a child will learn only when they are ready, whereas Vygotsky believed that cognitive development can be accelerated.
  • Piaget believed that language develops as a result of cognitive development. Outward monologues are meaningless and egocentric speech is incidental to thought, whereas Vygotksky believed that the ability to use language is a key to cognitive development. Outward monologues direct thinking and later become internalised as thought.
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