Piaget and Vygotsky; Similarities and Differences
Cognitive psychologists Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky continue to give educators in the 21st Century knowledge of how children learn along with patterns on how to introduce concepts and ideas to children. Their theories continue to be taught today in classes for teachers. It is impressive that two psychologists could give birth to ideas that are still being used in the classrooms today. Both psychologists had similar along with differences in their methodology, but both are relevant in today’s teaching. According to Both Piaget and Vygotsky thought that they were accurate in saying that their philosophies were correct. Piaget states that his theory of cognitive development is comprehensive and is the only perspective that we should view as conclusive. On the other hand, Vygotsky argued that his method of cognitive development is the apparent choice for explaining how a child learns and develops. Both Piaget and Vygotsky were leaders in their fields and brought a new understanding of how children learn. I believe that through there differences and similarities that educators can use implement this information while working with children of all ages.
A Brief Summary of the Theories of Piaget and Vygotsky
While researching, I came across this concise explanation of Piaget’s theory “In Piaget’s theory; all mental structures are built, transformed and connected into functional units in the interplay of two complementary processes, namely assimilation and accommodation” (Dodonova, Yury S.* Dodonova, Yulia A., 2011). I believe that when breaking this theory down it is imperative to look at the stages of development that Piaget used for classifying children into age groups. See the figure below. (Skyeducation, 2018)
Figure 1. Piaget’s 4 stages of Cogniative Development
Using this figure we can see that children go through stages from birth and forward. Using this figure to help educators work with children at their age level and how their brain is processing the information.
Vygotsky proposed a different theory to explain how children learn. He believed firmly that community plays a central role in the process of “making meaning.” (“Vygotsky (1930-1934/1978, para. 3)”. Vygotsky taught that learning for children comes from social interaction with another person. This person uses a normal task while using oral instructions. The oral instruction helps the child understand the actions or instructions provided by a person, once they have this information they need to internalize and using it as a guide to regulate their actions. Vygotsky also states that:”learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process of developing culturally organized, specifically human psychological function.” (“Vygotsky (1930-1934/1978)” Vygotsky also had stages that he had developed as shown in the figure below; (Figure 2)
Figure 2. Vygotsky;s stages
Similarities in the Theories of Piaget and Vygotsky
Piaget and Vygotsky may not have had the same views about there philosophies but did agree on some points of view. Both of the philosophers share the same beliefs about genetics, dialectical approach, non-reductionist view, non-dualistic thesis, emphasis on action, processes over external contents or outcomes (Lourenço, 2012).