Children portray certain behaviors, such sucking looking and grasping to almost anything that comes their way, one may not understand and even fail o explain this they behave this way, but it’s one way that children discover or explore the world around them. Through these behavioral actions which mostly are motor skills oriented, a child tend to develop not only physically but cognitively as well this happens through various processes like assimilation, accommodation and equivocation.
The aim of this essay therefore is to explain Jean Piglet’s concept of assimilation, accommodation, equilibrium as learning processes in child cognitive development. According to Pigged, children are naturally curious explorers who are constantly trying to aka sense of the world by interacting with their environment and with others (Lenient, 1994). In this process, they construct schemas or schemata which are simply mental networks of organized information.
Shaffer and Skip, (2010) further explains that schemas are knowledge base by which children interpret their world or means by which children interpret and organize experience, schemas in effect, are representations of reality. Pigged (1954) adds that as the child seeks to construct an understanding of the world, the developing brain creates schema. Once formed, schemas can be used to identify and understand new information based on past stored experiences (Moreno, 2010). A baby’s schemes are structured by simple actions that can be performed on objects.
According to Shaffer and Skip (2010) the earliest schemes, formed in infancy, are motor habits such as rocking, grasping, and lifting, which prove to be adaptive indeed. For example, a curious infant who combines the responses of extending an arm (reaching) and grasping with the hand is suddenly capable of satisfying her curiosity by exploring almost any interesting object that is no more than an arm’s length away. Simple as these behavioral schemes may be, they permit infants to operate toys, to turn dials, to open cabinets, and to otherwise master their environments.
Older children on the other hand have schemas that include strategies and plans for solving problems. For example, a 6-year-old might have a schema that involves the strategy of classifying objects by size, shape, or color (Contracts, 201 1). One may wonder what children use to construct their knowledge of the world. Pigged believed that children use three cognitive processes to develop their schemas over time these are assimilation, accommodation and equivocation. Assimilation takes place when individuals use their existing schemas to make sense of the events in the world.
This involves trying to relate to something new to something that we already know (Moreno, 2010). An example is first time a child sees a ca, he may say ‘doggy’ because he has a schema of his pet dog but has not yet learnt about any other animals yet. Another example is a child sees a plane flying and calls it a birdie’ because child has a schema of all flying things are birds. Accommodation on the other hand takes place when an individual changes or adjusts an existing schema so that it can explain the new experience.
This happens when the new information does not fit well with our existing schemas, causing us to expand or elaborate on the older schema to make sense of the new information. For example a child who interacts with enough cats and dogs will eventually accommodate his animal schemas to include differentiated cat and dogs categories. When new experiences arise, individuals will usually try to use their schemas ( assimilation), when these don’t work, they will modify or add to their old schemas until the new information makes sense in their mind accommodation (Moreno, 2010).
However if the new information has no relation to any prior schema neither assimilation no accommodation can happen (Cob, 2007). Equivocation is a mechanism that Pigged proposed to explain how children shift from one stage of thought to the next. The shift occurs as children experience cognitive conflict, or disequilibrium, in trying to understand the world. Eventually, they solve the conflict and reach a balance, or equilibrium, of thought (Contracts 201 1).
Moreno, (2010) equivocation is the balance between assimilation and accommodation that is responsible for the growth of thought. For example, if a child believes that the amount of a liquid changes simply because the liquid is poured into a container with a different shape-?for instance, from a container that is short and wide into a container that is tall and narrow-?she might be puzzled by such issues as where the “extra” liquid came from and whether there is actually more liquid to drink. The child will eventually resolve hose puzzles as her thought becomes more advanced.
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