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Jean Piaget was born on 9th August, 1896 in Neuchatel,
He died on 16th September, 1980.
He was the eldest son of Arthur Piaget and Rebecca
Jackson. Jean Piaget received his PhD in Biology from the
University of Neuchatel in 1918.
He was married to Valentine Chatenay, one of his first
graduate students, in 1923.
He had three children namely Jacqueline,
Lucienne and Laurent. Piaget studied the
intellectual development (from infancy to
language) of these children.
He was a psychologist with a fundamentally
He called his general theoretical framework “genetic
”. The term "genetic" has been restricted to the mechanisms of
heredity in the English-speaking world. The term can be coined
to mean “development”. The term “epistemology” refers to the
study of knowledge. In contemporary terms “genetic
epistemology” would mean “developmental theory of
. Piaget believed the child’s cognitive structure increased
The term cognition is derived from the Latin word
“cognoscere” which means “ to know” or “to recognize” or
It refers to the mental processes an organism learns,
remembers, understands, perceives, solves problems and
thinks about a body of information (Arul, 2012).
Piaget gave four stages of cognitive
sensorimotor (birth to age 2),
preoperational (2 to 7 years),
concrete operational (7 to 11 years),
and formal operational (11 years on).
The child is focused solely on sensation and
The child’s knowledge is limited to sensory
perceptions and simple motor activities such
as looking, sucking, and grasping.
This stage begins when the child starts to use symbols
This is a period of developing language and concepts. The
child becomes egocentric.
The child is capable of more complex mental
representations, that is, words and images.
Children are able to focus on only one aspect of a
situation, problem or object, and so cannot see the big
picture (Arul, 2012).
This stage is characterized by the appropriate use of logic.
The child is able to sort objects in an order according to size,
shape or any other characteristic.
For instance, if you give them different-shaped objects, they
may make a colour gradient.
The child understands that quantity, length or number of items is
unrelated to the arrangement or appearance of the object or
items. Again, the child eliminates egocentrism.
The individual’s thought becomes increasingly
flexible and abstract.
The child develops the ability to systematically
solve a problem in a logical and methodical way.
Develops skills such as logical thought, deductive
reasoning, and systematic planning.
It is based on three principles
The process of taking in new information into our
previously existing schemas.
It refers to making associations between new
information and what is already known.
Assimilation takes place when a child uses an
existing schema to deal with a new object or
Refers to the process of changing our existing
schemas in light of new information or
Eg the child who had assimilated the guinea
fowl as a hen will eventually accommodate
more information and thus realize the different
features between a hen
Equilibration is a balance between assimilation and
When a child’s schemas can deal with most new
information through assimilation, we say equilibrium
has taken place.
However, when new information cannot be fitted
into existing schemas, we say an unpleasant state
of disequilibrium has occurred
children enter school at the preoperational stage. It
follows, therefore, that teachers must recognize that
they (children) cannot learn concrete-operational
strategies until the students have mastered the
preoperational schemas. In other words, learners
must start at the basic first stage and master it
before they can progress well to higher stages
Furthermore, since children create knowledge for themselves
teachers must arrange classroom activities that will assist and
Again, teachers must select appropriate learning experiences
for their lessons. It should be based on their developmentaltal
Moreover, teachers should encourage group work in order to
help eliminate the egocentrism that children develop during the
preoperational stage of cognitive development.