Intelligent behavior helps organisms adapt to their environments.

Humans use their experiences to construct new understandings (learn!).

Humans are motivated to learn when there is a mismatch between existing "schemas" and observed events or phenomena. This state is called disequilibrium.

Assimilation and accomodation are processes involved when humans act upon the world. (Accomodation takes place when existing schemas don't work. You can't use an existing understanding to assimilate, so you must modify your understanding. Accomodation means modifying schemas.

Stages: Sensorimotor, pre-operational, concrete operational, formal operational

Piaget's perspective on developmental questions:

Humans have inborn tendencies that are generally positive (curiosity, activity, motivation to learn).

Both nature and nurture are important. (Interactionism)

Humans move through universal stages (due to maturation), but rate depends on experiences.

People are (by nature) active contributors to their own development.

Discontinuity theory (there are stages).

Cognitive abilities change substantially from one stage to the next. (Qualitative changes.)

Stages are universal (We should see patterns that transcend cultural differences.)

Stages are sequential, invariant, involve major structural reorganization, and universal.

The American Question (Piaget's expression): How can we speed up developmental process?

Educational implications: Creating developmentally appropriate learning environments and experiences for children. Children need to act on environment (hence, use of manipulatives for teaching math). Children are like little scientists.

Last update: 2/11/03 / jka.

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