Piaget and Vygotsky came up with various theories that attempted to explain cognitive development. The fulcrum of Piaget’s theories was the interconnection of cognitive and biological development. On the other hand, the base of Vygotsky’s theories was that development occurred mainly through interaction with a person’s culture (Lee & Smagorinsky, 2000).
Piaget sees cognitive development using a biological perspective. He believes that intelligence comes from adapting and organizing. He believes that a child organizes ideas into schemes, which are useful for the assimilation of new information (Piaget, 2001). On the contrary, Vygotsky posits that a child transforms and internalizes information via language. He holds that social interaction is the main impetus for the development (Veresov, 1999).
According to Piaget, development precedes learning. This means that the child is an introvert who moves, on his own accord, from himself to the society as he develops. Vygotsky’s believes that development starts with socialization and the acquisition of language, which result into developmental learning.
Vygotsky thinks that learning is social, while Piaget holds that it is solitary. According to Vygotsky, what drives development is the enjoyment from others. On the contrary, Piaget believes that maturation is most significant in driving the development (Piaget, 2000). While Piaget thinks that thought drives language, Vygotsky holds that language drives thought.
Despite the differences, both the theorists attempt to explain child development. Besides, their basic focus is on cognition. They also accept that everyone is different in the character of interaction.
- How can Piaget's idea that children are naturally curious about their world and actively seek out information inform approaches to education? This might inform the choice methods of teaching children. Instead of using teacher-centered approaches like lecturing, the teacher should use learner centered (participatory) approaches like debates, role-plays and experiments.
- If you were a teacher, explain how you could scaffold your students' efforts to master a skill? How would you modify the scaffolding process over time? First, I would show them how to do the new skill. Then, I would encourage them to try it on their own while I offer maximum assistance. I would modify the scaffolding process by setting up new tasks about the skill and allowing the children to perform and make use of their knowledge independently.
- Did Piaget and Vygotsky see eye-to-eye regarding the role that social interaction plays in cognitive development? No. Piaget believed that the child’s cognitive development is independent of social interaction. On the contrary, Vygotsky believes that the child’s cognitive development depends on social interaction.