This is a review of the article, entitled “Stages of Cognitive Development”, which was retrieved from http://ace.schoolnet.org.za/cd/ukzncore1a/documents/core1.Piaget_ stages.htm. In the article, the writer discusses the topic about four basic stages of children’s development identified by Piaget. It can be inferred that the purpose of the writer is to give the readers information about the four stages’ characteristics that they can use as a guide for the practice of teaching young learners. I think the intended readers of this article are teachers because the writer frequently connects the discussion of the topic to the teaching and learning of young learners.
The writer starts writing the article by giving an overview about the topic, showing two different pictures drawn by 6 and 11 years old boys. By comparing the pictures, as Piaget’s theory said, the writer explains that the cognitive of a child changes as he/she grows up and matures. Before discussing the main topic, the writer reviews the key point of Piaget theory that apparently has been discussed in his/her previous writing. It includes the process of mental development, which is assimilation and accommodation. Piaget thought that children’s thinking changes in the certain range of ages. According to him, children’s schema and cognitive develop naturally as they face with new situations and experiences in their lives. Piaget grouped the children’s cognitive development into four stages.
- Firstly, the sensorimotor stage (ages 0-2) involves two important development processes which include the child’s development of five senses and motor development. Children learn by interacting physically with the environment to recognize things or objects.
- Secondly, the preoperational stage is ranged from ages 2 to 7. At this stage, children are not able to think abstractly so that they need concrete situations to process the ideas.
- Thirdly, in the concrete operation stage (ages 7-12), children have enough experiences to begin to think logically and do some abstract problem solving, such as manipulating figures or symbols and classifying, though they still learn best by doing.
- The last stage is formal operation stage (12 years onward). At this stage, children are able to use abstract thinking like adults. For examples, they begin to think about “what if…questions”, work with hypotheses, and think about possibilities then check them against the reality.
Furthermore, the writer also makes implications about this Piaget’s belief for teachers in the classroom. He/she suggests that the teaching and learning need to be flexible and student-centered. The teacher needs to facilitate students learning by providing the appropriate supports so that the learners’ individual potentials can be fulfilled at their own pace. Personally, I agree with his/her suggestion. The theory can be applied in this illustration. In order to teach vocabulary on kind of fruits to students in the age of 2-7, it is better to provide the concrete object, such as pictures of the fruits. This illustration can afford the better learning outcomes as the basis of providing these teaching aids is because children in those ages learn best using concrete objects.
As teachers, we can use the theory of Piaget and his ideas about characteristics of children in the certain age ranges as a guide for improving our teaching practices. Actually we do not need to apply all the concepts in the theory to our classroom, but we need to adjust them. Although our students’ ages within the range that Piaget described, we still need to consider their different cognitive development because they may have different experiences. On the other hand, we also need to adjust our teaching with students learning styles. It can be seen that some students may learn better when they interact with others rather than rely on their cognition.
Overall, I think this article can present the information clearly and in well order. It begins with the overview of the Piaget’s theory, the description of characteristics of four stages of cognitive development then ends with the writer’s implication about theory for the teaching and learning practices. I like the way the writer starts the article with an overview and the review. This really helps the reader recall what they know or build the background knowledge about the theory of Piaget. Then, some characteristics of the stages are explained clearly using the illustration and pictures, which increase reader’s understanding on the theory because they also can visualize it.