Social Constructivism & Cognitive Development Theory

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  • 1. Social Constructivism & Cognitive Development Theory

2. Sites and reliability
Wikipedia is generally a reliable site. There is indeed some dabate about the content on the site, as was indicated in Johns post. In view of the fact that what the Wikipedia says about the two learning theories is consistent with what I read in the book and my prior knowledge about the theories, I think that is a fairly reliable source.
This website is created by Dr. Kearsley, who received his PhD in educational psychology from the University of Alberta in 1978 and has written many books and articles about technology and education. The Theory Into Practice (TIP) database contains descriptions of over 50 theories relevant to learning and instruction. On the introduction page, it says that all theories on this site come from published literature. The database does not include theories of learning that have limited scientific support.
The Berkeley site has valuable resources about learning theories. Since this is an official website of the university, we have reasons to believe that the content is quite reliable.
3. Theory 1:Social constructivism---Vygotsky
Social constructivism focuses on the artifacts that are created through the social interactions of a group. It emphasized the profound influence of social contexts in the advances in the levels of knowing.
4. Theory 1:Social constructivism--Vygotsky
One key concept of Vygotskys social constructivism theory is that, knowledge construction is both a social and cognitive process.
Knowledge and meanings are actively and collaboratively constructed in a social context mediated by frequent social discourse.
In a social constructivist learning environment, effective learning happens only through interactive processes of discussion, negotiation, and sharing.
5. Theory 1:Social constructivism---Vygotsky
Cultural influences on cognitive development
Like Piaget, Vygotsky claimed that infants are born with the basic materials/abilities for intellectual development. Eventually, through interaction within the socio-cultural environment, these are developed into more sophisticated and effective mental processes/strategies which he refers to as Higher Mental Functions.
6. Theory 1:Social constructivism-Vygotsky
2. Social influences on cognitive development
Vygotsky believes that young children are curious and actively involved in their own learning and the discovery and development of new understandings/schema.
Much important learning by the child occurs through social interaction with a skilful tutor. The tutor may model behaviours and/or provide verbal instructions for the child.
The child seeks to understand the actions or instructions provided by the tutor (often the parent or teacher) then internalises the information, using it to guide or regulate their own performance.
7. Theory 1:Social constructivism-Vygotsky
Two main principles of Vygotsky's work:
More Knowledgeable Other
It refers to someone who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. The key to MKOs is that they must have (or be programmed with) more knowledge about the topic being learned than the learner does.
8. Theory 1:Social constructivism-Vygotsky
Two main principles of Vygotsky's work (continued)
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)
This is an important concept that relates to the difference between what a child can achieve independently and what a child can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled partner.
Vygotsky sees the Zone of Proximal Development as the area where the most sensitive instruction or guidance should be given - allowing the child to develop skills they will then use on their own - developing higher mental functions.
9. Theory 1:Social constructivism-Vygotsky
10. Theory 1:Social constructivism-Vygotsky
3. Language in cognitive development
Language is an accelerator to thinking/understanding. Language develops from social interactions, for communication purposes. Later language ability becomes internalized as thought and inner speech.
Language plays 2 critical roles in cognitive development:
1: It is the main means by which adults transmit info to children.
2: Language itself becomes a very powerful tool of intellectual adaptation.
11. Theory 1:Social constructivism-Vygotsky
Application in literacy learning
Reciprocal teaching
Teacher and students collaborate in learning and practicing four key skills: summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting. The teacher's role in the process is reduced over time.
A teacher or more advanced peer helps to structure or arrange a task so that a novice can work on it successfully.
Collaborative learning
Group members should have different levels of ability so more advanced peers can help less advanced members operate within their ZPD.
12. Theory 2: Cognitive Development Theory ---Piaget
Basic components:
Schemas (building blocks of knowledge)
Processes that enable the transition from one stage to another (assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration)
Stages of Cognitive Development (sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, formal operational)
13. Theory 2: Cognitive Development Theory ---Piaget
Piaget called the schema the basic building block of intelligent behavior a way of organizing knowledge.
When a child's existing schemas are capable of explaining what it can perceive around it, it is said to be in a state of equilibrium, i.e. a state of cognitive (i.e. mental) balance.
Piaget emphasized the importance of schemas in cognitive development. A schema can be defined as a set of linked mental representations of the world, which we use both to understand and to respond to situations.
14. Theory 2: Cognitive Development Theory ---Piaget
Assimilation and Accommodation
Assimilation using an existing schema to a new situation.
Accommodation happens when the existing schema (knowledge) needs to be changed to take in new information.
Equilibration the force which moves development along. An unpleasant state of disequilibrium happens when new information cannot be fitted into existing schemas (assimilation.) Equilibration is the force which drives the learning process as we do not like to be frustrated and will seek to restore balance by mastering the new challenge (accommodation).
15. Theory 2: Cognitive Development Theory ---Piaget
3. Stages of development
Piaget believed that children think differently than adults and stated they go through 4 universal stages of cognitive development.
These different levels is that they are qualitatively different. In other words, at each successive stage, it's not just a matter of doing something better, but of doing a different thing altogether.
16. Theory 2: Cognitive Development Theory ---Piaget
17. Theory 2: Cognitive Development Theory ---Piaget
Some concerns:
It seems to me that Piagets cognitive development theory underestimates children's abilities to some extent.It also seems to overlook influence of cultural and social groups on childrens cognitive development and learning.
18. Comparison of Social Constructivism & Cognitive Development Theory
Both theories are based on the premise that cognition is the result of "mental construction".
They both believe that learning is affected by the context in which an idea is taught as well as by students' beliefs and attitudes.
Also, both of them believe that the boundaries of cognitive growth were established by societal influences.
19. Comparison of Social Constructivism & Cognitive Development Theory
Piaget's theory is most concerned with the mechanisms of intellectual development and the acquisition of knowledge.
Vygotsky's main contribution was to our understanding of the way in which culture influences development, through language and the social and material structure of society.
20. Comparison of Social Constructivism & Cognitive Development Theory
Vygotsky's theory differs from that of Piaget in a number of important ways:
1: Vygotsky places moreemphasis on culture affecting/shaping cognitive development - this contradicts Piaget's view of universal stages and content of development. (Vygotsky does not refer to stages in the way that Piaget does).
2: Vygotsky places considerably more emphasis on social factors contributing to cognitive development (Piaget is criticized for underestimating this).
3: Vygotsky places more (and different) emphasis on the role of language in cognitive development (again Piaget is criticized for lack of emphasis on this).

21. Comparison of Social Constructivism & Cognitive Development Theory
22. To be continued.


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