Applying Piaget to Education

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In the 1960s the Plowden Committee investigated the deficiencies in education and decided to incorporate many of Piaget’s ideas in to its final report published in 1967, even though Piaget’s work was not really designed for education.   The report makes three Piaget-associated recommendations:

·      Children should be given individual attention and it should be realised that they need to be treated differently.

·     Children should only be taught things that they are capable of learning

·     Children mature at different rates and the teacher needs to be aware of the stage of development of each child so teaching can be tailored to their individual needs.

Piaget and Education (simplified).

When to teach

Only when the child is ready.  I.e. has the child reached the appropriate stage?

How to teach

Child-centred approach.  Learning must be active (discovery learning.

The order of teaching has to be determined by development of stages, so curricula are needed.  E.g. teach conservation of number before conservation of weight.

Rate of learning

Stages of development are biologically determined so the rate of learning cannot be speeded up. (Bruner believed that increasing language ability would speed up rate of learning, but this appears not to be true).

 Role of teacher (intellectual midwife)

·     adapt lessons to suit the needs of the individual child.

·     be aware of the child’s stage of development (testing).

·     provide stimulation through a variety of tasks.

·     produce/provide resources,

·     produce disequilibrium, i.e. a scenario that is outside the child’s current understanding.  E.g. density.

·     use concrete examples when describing abstract concepts, e.g. ships floating for density, pumping water around    houses for flow of current in a circuit.

 Examples of use in Education





Very detailed notes, thank you!

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