Part 1: Developmental Theorist and Concepts
The developmental concept which I believe is relevant to comprehending my participant’s narrative is Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory. The cognitive theory highlights the development of an individual’s thought process (Ginsburg, 1988). It further examines how these thought processes impact how individuals interact with and understand the world. Piaget presented a thought that seems apparent now, but helped transform how people think about child development: Children think differently than adults (Piaget, 1970). Theorist Piaget then presented a theory of cognitive development to rationalize the sequence and steps of children’s intellectual development.
The Sensorimotor Stage – A period between birth and age two whereby an infant’s understanding of the world remains restricted to his or her motor activities and sensory perceptions. Behaviors are restricted to simple motor responses resulting from sensory stimuli (Crain, 2015).
The Preoperational Stage – A period between ages two and six in which a child adopts the use of language. During this stage, children cannot mentally interpret information, cannot fully comprehend concrete logic, and are incapable of adopting the viewpoints of other people (Crain, 2015).
The Concrete Operational Stage – A period between ages seven and eleven in which children acquire an increased understanding of mental operations. Children start reasoning about concrete events, however, experience difficulties in understanding hypothetical or abstract concepts (Crain, 2015).
The Formal Operational Stage – A period between ages twelve to adulthood during which individuals develop the capacity to contemplate abstract concepts. Skills such as deductive reasoning, systematic planning, and logical though also emerge during this stage (Crain, 2015).
The goal of Theorist Piaget’s concept is to clarify the processes and mechanism through which the infant, who grows into a child, develops into a person who can think and reason using hypotheses.
Part 3: Theoretical Interpretation
The significance of possessing a strong working knowledge of theories is critical to a developmental analysis. Having a broader understanding of Piaget’s cognitive development theory and qualities affiliated with each sequential developmental stage is advantageous in meeting the needs of the participant to increase positive growth (Case, 1985). By integrating Piaget’s theory into my theoretical approach, I acknowledge several assumptions. One of the main assumptions asserted within this constructivist approach underscores that a person is an active participant in the learning process by continually exploring and making sense of new knowledge. The person is also innately motivated to learn (Broderick, 2010). While this fits with my theory that accepts the client-centered approach towards self-actualization, it also brings challenges. This approach assumes that the person is self-directed and self-aware, initiating much of his or her learning (Green, 2002). This task might be a complicated one for persons who have difficulties in executive functioning skills such as self-examination.
Another key theoretical assumption with Theorist Piaget’s theory I have integrated the notion that development is continuous and discontinuous. Piaget’s model acknowledges the small, moderate changes that happen during development (continuous); however, it also recognizes specific times in development whereby all children’s mental structures are similarly distinguished and organized by stages (discontinuous) (Broderick, 2010). Nonetheless, a weakness to this assumption lies within recent research blurring the boundaries of Piaget’s stages of development. This is evident when younger children depict more complex thought when presented with different tasks (Broderick, 2010).
Broderick, P.C., & Blewitt, P. (2010). The Life Span: Human Development for Helping Professionals (3rd ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson
Case, R. (1985). Intellectual development: Birth to adulthood. Academic Pr.
Crain, W. (2015). Piaget’s Cognitive-Developmental Theory. In Theories of development: Concepts and applications (pp. 132-170). Routledge.
Ginsburg, H. P., ; Opper, S. (1988). Piaget’s theory of intellectual development. Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Green, S.K., & Gredler, M.E. (2002). A review and analysis of constructivism for school-based practice. School Psychology Review, 31(1), 53-70. Retrieved from http://www.nasponline.org/publications/spr/abstract.aspx?ID=1639
Piaget, J. (1970). Piaget’s theory.