In chapter six of the book, McDevitt and Ormrod (2013) explore cognitive development using the Piaget theory. Children have been described by Piaget as learners who are more active than adults. Children can construct an amazing world around them. Piaget documented four different stages of cognitive development. The sensorimotor stage is the first phase of cognitive development. During this stage, perception and behavioral patterns are the main cognitive functions.
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The preoperational stage is the second phase of development. During this phase, the prevalence of language and symbolic thoughts can be witnessed among children. Concrete operation is the third phase of development. The stage is associated with the gradual emergence of logical reasoning. Finally, the formal operations stage marks the last phase of development. A child is capable of developing simple logical thinking and making a sound hypothesis.
The cognitive theory of development developed by Vygotsky asserts that when children are assisted by seniors to carry out challenging tasks, their cognitive development is greatly enhanced.
From the above summary, it is evident that the development of a child passes through various levels or phases. While adults have a stronger cognitive ability than children, it is surprising to note that children have been identified as faster learners than adults. The cognitive development theory by Piaget is a clear indication of how children swiftly transform themselves from one stage to another. I have personally witnessed the aspect of rapid-learning ability in children.
It can take a child a very short time to acquire some form of simple knowledge compared to an adult. On the same note, children who are assisted by adults to maneuver around difficult tasks are highly likely to develop more stable cognitive abilities than children who are left to struggle on their own. In fact, it is the role of parents, guardians, and caregivers to mold the desired behavioral patterns in children while they are transiting from one stage of development to another.
Chapter seven of the book explores a number of subthemes such as basic cognitive processes, cognitive strategies, and meta-cognition, information processing theory and the cultural element, construction of theories by children, modern perspectives in cognitive development, and information processing as well as the associated exceptionalities (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2013). According to the information processing theory, the memory capability of a child is an important parameter in the course of processing information.
A number of cognitive processes are also bound to change as a child develops from one phase to another. Moreover, the abilities that are likely to be modified with the passage of time can be explained using social, cultural elements. Information processing theory seems to be offering evidence on how basic cognitive processes can be enhanced.
Nonetheless, it does not fully highlight the difference between reasoning and thinking, especially during the early phases of development. In addition, it may not be uniform across the board to argue that long term memory is only prevalent among children who are bright in academic work.
Perhaps, it is necessary to create a clear distinction between long term memory and the working memory required on a daily basis. There are instances when some children may not be able to sustain certain facts in their memories over a long period, largely due to the composition of their inherent personalities. In regards to sensation and perception, the information processing theory has explicitly explained how memory and the individual ability of a child can influence the two factors.
McDevitt, T. M., & Ormrod, J. E. (2013). Child development and education (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Pearson.