The cognitive teaching methods aim at helping students in the process of assimilating new ideas into an already existing knowledge. In this case, they are enabled to make the correct modifications to their intellectual foundations in order to accommodate that information. Cognitive constructivism is based on the ideas of the psychologist Jean Piaget (Shaffer and Kipp 293). The devised theory has two major areas that include “ages and stages.” These components predict what children can and cannot understand at different ages and how children develop various cognitive abilities. This study focuses on Paiagets’ development theory as used by cognitive constructivists during teaching and learning processes.
Piaget’s cognitive development theory asserts that human beings cannot be “offered” information that they immediately use or understand. Rather, they must “construct” their own specific knowledge through experience. In this case, humans create mental models through experiences stored in their heads. According to the theory, such schemas are enlarged, changed, and made more complicated through the implementation of two complimentary processes. Knowledge is made up of active systems of intentional mental representations hat are acquired from the past learning experiences. Therefore, each learner interprets experiences and information based on the extent of their knowledge, their cognitive development stage, as well as their cultural background. Besides, the theory affirms that learners use these factors to analyze and organize their experience and to select as well as transform new information. Therefore, the learner actively constructs the knowledge rather than passively absorbed. Essentially, it is dependent on the perspective in which the learner approaches it (Nevid 353).
The fact that knowledge is actively constructed, learning is offered as a process of active discovery. In this case, the role of the instructor is not to force knowledge through consistent repetition or goad them into learning through carefully employed rewards and punishments. Instead, their role is to enhance discovery through the providence of the necessary tools. Additionally, instructors take into account the knowledge that the learner possess when deciding how to design the curriculum. The learning process should be authentic, whole, and “real.” Therefore, Piaget’s theory facilitates the understanding that meaning is constructed as children interact in meaningful ways in the environment around them (Shaffer and Kipp 291).
In a class that implements the Piaget’s theory, students must be given opportunities to design knowledge through their own experiences. The teacher can therefore not “tell” them. It is worth mentioning that cognitive constructivism involves less emphasis on direct teaching especially on specific skills. Rather, there is more emphasis on learning in a meaningful context. Through the availability of technology, various opportunities are provided. In this case, through technology supports such as videodisks, teachers can offer a learning environment that assists in the expansion both the theoretical as well as practical foundation of the reader. It is pertinent to identify that technology provides significant tools with which to accomplish the goals of a constructivist classroom (Nevid 355).
Providing students with practice questions to design their reading enables them to relate it to previous material in their own words. Asking students to explain a new material in their own words enables them to assimilate it by making them re-express the new ideas in their already developed vocabulary. On the other hand, questions enable students in highlighting certain part as well as accommodate the new ideas by providing a clear organization structure. The cognitive constructivism theory allows the learning process to be both subjective and objective because the instructor and the students are equally involved. The problem is therefore the interface between the instructor and the learner.
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