Cognitive development

Cognitive development between the ages of 7 and 11 is impressive, beginning with improvements in control processes, and increase in processing speed and capacity, and a growing foundation of knowledge. This chapter in our book discusses the views of Piaget and Vygotsky regarding the child’s cognitive development, which involves a growing ability to use logic and reasoning (as emphasized by Piaget) and to benefit from social interactions with skilled mentors (as emphasized by Vygotsky). According to Piaget, school-age children are much better able than preschoolers to understand logical principles, provided the principles are applied to concrete examples. Because the school years are also a time of expanding moral reasoning, this chapter also looked at Kohlberg’s stage theory of moral development as well as current evaluations of his theory.

Additionally this chapter explores the information-processing perspective on cognitive development, beginning with the Gibson’s concept of affordances. It then discusses changes in the child’s processing speed and capacity, control processes, knowledge base, and metacognition. Linguistic development during the school years is also extensive, with children showing improvement in vocabulary and pragmatics. This is clearly indicated by their newfound delight in words and their growing sophistication at telling jokes. If you have ever spent time in a second grade classroom you can immediately tell what stage the children are in by who is telling and who is getting the jokes. Jokes become very funny to children at this age because of their newfound ability to hold 2 or more concepts in their head at the same time allowing them to fully understand the humor in the jokes they are telling and hearing.

  1. Which main theory of cognitive development (Piaget, Vygotsky, Information Processing, etc) stands out the most to you? Why?
  2. Which theory of language development (social learning, assimilation and accomidation, or operant conditioning) stands out the most to you? Why?
  3. Share a personal experience (first hand or someone you know, respecting confidentiality) with learning disabilities and/or special education/inclusion.
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