Reflection on Cognitive Development

The developmental theory that has impacted me most is Piaget’s 4 stage theory on cognitive development. Of particular interest to me is the concrete operational stage, which includes students from elementary age to pre-adolescence. Also of interest to me is the formal operational stage, which includes early adolescence. I am interested in these two stages because I will have these students in my classroom this year. For those in the concrete operational stage, my classroom practice must include concrete learning activities and making sure I don’t have too many elements of learning. An example of concrete learning is handing out balloons, having students blow them up and rub the hair on their head to make static electricity. We can talk about what the electrons are doing, going from their hair to the balloon. This is concrete because they have the balloon in their hands, and with instruction, can learn what the electrons are doing to make static electricity. For the formal operational stage students, they will not need as much concrete learning activities because they can think more hypothetically and in possibilities. I can ask them what my happen if I take a statically charged balloon and move it toward an uncharged metal object. They can think this way and I can do things a bit differently in my classroom. In conclusion, no matter where our students lie on the developmental stage, creating a safe environment for learning is one of my top priorities. I would like to thank Rebecca Carlson for her post in the in our discussion forum and include a quote from our reading. “If someone does not feel safe with a teacher or boss, he or she may not be able to perform as well. If a student feels misunderstood because the teacher cannot connect with the way the student learns, the student may become isolated…relationships matter when attempting to teach human beings” (Medina, 2008, p. 46). Medina, John (2008). Brain Rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.

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