Jean Piaget was a developmental psychologist who shaped many aspects of current education with his theory about how a child's thinking develops. His theory includes four stages of comprehension in a child's growth: sensorimotor stage -- age 0 through 2 years, preoperational stage -- age 2 through 7 years, concrete-operational stage -- age 7 through 11 years and formal operational stage -- age 11 through 15 years. It is in these last three stages where Piaget believed that educators and the classroom experience play a crucial role in the developing a child's awareness and growth. He outlined some steps that teachers can use in their lessons to complement the ways children think and learn.
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Present only tasks that each child is ready for. An initial assessment should be made to determine a child's current stage of cognitive development. When tasks are tailored to his needs, he will be more successful and therefore more motivated to achieve.
Create disequilibrium in the tasks assigned. There should be a balance between tasks that will be accomplished through teacher assistance and tasks that can be achieved by the child alone through his own exploration and discovery.
Provide the students with educational ideas and occasions that help them to move on to the next developmental level. By achieving success, they will feel encouraged and be anxious to advance in the learning process.
Watch the process of the learning child and not the end product. See how much the child is getting out of putting pen to paper, and not whether he spelt all his words correctly or drew a fabulous picture.
Put the children in groups of two or more for small group learning. Piaget observed that children learn from each other. This is also a constructive way for children to realise that they are not the centre of the universe; other people have views that may not be like their own.
Act as a guide on the child's path of learning and the discovery of new concepts. Show each child the way based on his own individual intellectual growth.
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