Jean Piaget (1896-1980)
A Swiss psychologist and genetic epistemologist, Jean Piaget is best known for looking at how children develop intellectually from birth to adulthood.
Piaget had three children himself whom of which served as the basis for his theories. Prior to his research, children were simply referred to as ‘mini-adults’ and it was his early work with Binet’s intelligence tests that led him to conclude that children and adults think differently, a revolutionary idea at the time. This inspired him to research into how children understand knowledge which lead him to develop his research on children’s cognitive development.
Piaget’s own children served as a basis for his theories. He studied their intellectual development and identified four theories relating to the stages that children pass through in the development of intelligence and formal though process.
The Sensorimotor stage – birth to two years old – children know the world through their senses and motor movements
The preoperational stage – two to seven years old – children develop through language and symbolic play
The concrete operational stage – seven to eleven years old – logical thought emerges but children still struggle with abstract and theoretical thinking
The formal operation stage – age 12 to adulthood – the ability to critically analyse situations and think in more abstract terms.
Piaget’s revolutionary theories are an important part of the study of human development and they continue to be studied by psychologists. In 1966, the UK government used his theory to develop the educational policy and teaching practice and is largely used in teaching and learning today. To read more about Jean Piaget’s revolutionary theory, click here.
The EduStaff Team