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Educational Learning Theories: Chapter 2 Introduction

Chapter 2 Introduction

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Jean Piaget (1896-1980), a Swiss psychologist, is best known for his pioneering work on the development of intelligence in children. His studies have had a major impact on the fields of psychology and education. Piaget was born August 9, 1896, in Neuchâtel. He was educated at the University of Neuchâtel and received his doctorate in biology at age 22. Piaget became interested in psychology and he studied and carried out research first in Zürich, Switzerland, and then at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he began his studies on the development of cognitive abilities. He taught at various European universities while he continued his research and writing. In 1955, he became the director of the International Center for Epistemology at the University of Geneva, and later he was the co-director of the International Bureau of Education. He died in Geneva, on September 17, 1980.

In his work Piaget identified the child’s four stages of mental growth. In the Sensorimotor Stage, occurring from birth to age 2, the child is concerned with gaining motor control and learning about physical objects. In the Preoperational Stage, from ages 2 to 7, the child is preoccupied with verbal skills. At this point the child can name objects and reason intuitively. In the Concrete Operational Stage, from ages 7 to 11, the child begins to deal with abstract concepts such as numbers and relationships. Finally, in the Formal Operational Stage, ages from adolescence to adulthood, the child begins to reason logically and systematically. Among Piaget’s many books are The Language and Thought of the Child (1926), Judgment and Reasoning in the Child (1928), The Origin of Intelligence in Children (1954), The Early Growth of Logic in the Child (1964), and Science of Education and the Psychology of the Child (1970).