Introduction to the Psychology of Jean Piaget is our latest release. Written by Rafael E. Lopez-Corvo with Ana M. Lopez-Corvo, it introduces the reader directly to the concepts and fundamental contributions of the work of Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget. Here, we take a look at Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and ask why it is still relevant today.
Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist who was the first to make a systematic study of the acquisition of understanding in children. He is widely regarded as the major figure in 20th-century developmental psychology.
Jean Piaget’s work in the field of cognitive and developmental psychology is still relevant in 2023 for several reasons. First, his theory of cognitive development, which suggests that children move through four stages of intellectual development in a fixed order, is still widely studied and used today in understanding how children learn and develop. Second, Piaget’s emphasis on active involvement in learning is still relevant, as it is widely recognized that children learn best through hands-on, experiential learning. Third, Piaget’s work on the mental development of children and his identification of important milestones in that development has generated interest in cognitive and developmental psychology, and continues to be relevant in research today.^ Finally, the Jean Piaget Society, founded in 1970, continues to have an international, interdisciplinary membership of scholars, teachers, and researchers interested in exploring the nature of developmental psychology, indicating that Piaget’s influence is still felt and valued in the field.
Jean Piaget’s cognitive development theory has had a significant impact on education. One of the main features of his educational theory is discovery learning, which emphasizes the idea that children should be given the freedom to explore and discover new information on their own. Piaget believed that premature teaching, or teaching a child something before they are ready, can be worse than no teaching at all, as it leads to superficial acceptance of adult formulas rather than true cognitive understanding. He also emphasized the importance of active involvement in learning, stating that “You cannot teach concepts verbally; you must use a method founded on activity.”
Piaget’s work continues to influence education, with his principles still being used in classrooms today. He offered a unique experimental method for determining children’s cognitive abilities, as well as a detailed explanation of how children develop logical and mathematical thinking. Piaget reached his conclusions about child development through observations of and conversations with his own children and others, asking them ingenious and revealing questions about simple problems he had devised. Piaget’s impact on education has been significant, with his theories and principles continuing to shape educational practices and approaches to learning in classrooms worldwide.