The classroom is the venue with which a child learns how to use his/her cognitive abilities for greater understanding and mastery of educational skills like reading, problem solving, critical thinking and hypothesis testing. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development shows that each person undergoes cognitive milestones which have to be attained by a child before he/she can go into the next stage. Each stage is composed of cognitive skills that have to do with the cognitive processing of information (Atherton, 2005).
For example, in the early stages a child first knows that he/she is separate from other people. Next, he/she is able to use language and can identify objects and what they represent. The school age child normally is able to think logically; makes use of number, mass and weight conservation and classify objects in terms of various characteristics. The last stage is when the child can think abstractly and test hypothesis as well as be concerned with ideological thinking and problems (Atherton, 2005).
The classroom offers different activities that promote the learning of this cognitive sills, as well as delivering information and knowledge in ways that are cognitively appropriate for their age. This developmental profile report shows how the teacher supports the cognitive development of her students through the instructional approaches he/she uses in the classroom. Ms. Lisa is a 4th grade teacher, she is well aware that children are still in the concrete stage and that they are more able to understand the lessons if it is presented using concrete examples and models that the children could touch and feel or observe.
For today’s lesson, Miss Lisa is introducing the concept of classifications; she has Amber, Stacy and Luis to help her in the lesson presentation. Ms. Lisa presents the 3 children with colored balls and in different shapes, She firsts asks Amber to describe what she sees and then to arrange the balls in size. Amber seems to smile because she knows that her task is very simple, she first places the golf ball in the line, followed by the baseball, then the volleyball and the basketball. Ms.
Lisa check Amber’s work and is satisfied, she then asks the class why the balls are correctly lined up. Now Ms. Lisa tells Stacy to arrange the balls by color, Stacy claps gleefully as she proceeds to arrange the balls with the golf, baseball and volleyball on one side and the basketball on the other side. Stacy seeks the approval of her teacher as she asks whether her answer is correct. Ms. Lisa tells her it is correct and she smiles even more. Finally, Ms. Lisa tells Luis to arrange the balls in shape.
The class fell silent and Luis scratched his head and made inquisitive looks to his teacher. He approached the balls not really sure of what to do since all the balls looked the same. Then Ms. Lisa encouraged him to go and try out his answer so he would know if it was right or not. In an instant, Luis eyes brightened and became rounder, he then went to the balls more confident and then went on to lump the balls in one pile. He smiled and said “that’s it, they are all round, and they are balls”. Ms. Lisa smiles and tells the class that Luis is right. The process that Ms.
Lisa used to demonstrate classification of different characteristics using the same objects showed that the children have achieved the ability to classify objects, in the process the teacher have contributed to the self-esteem and confidence of the student in working with her class demonstration. Amber definitely knows she has the right answer and Ms. Lisa did not have to encourage her, on the other hand Stacy was unsure but tried her best, and Ms. Lisa affirmed her answer. Ms. Lisa however spent more time with Luis since he had difficulty with the task, but in a moment of insightful thinking, he was able to give the correct answer.
Atherton, J. (2005). Learning and Teaching: Piaget’s developmental theory. Retrieved
November 12, 2007, from http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/piaget.htm
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