Piaget's Stages of Development

Teaching Young Language Learners, by Annamaria Pinter, Chapter 1

Jean Piaget

  • Active learning, children learn actively through their environment.

  • Constructivism, children construct their knowledge by actively making sense of the world through assimilation and accommodation.

  • Assimilation: The child assimilates one knowledge to towards a new one.

  • Accommodation: A child will at a later stage adapt or accommodate the new knowledge to their assimilation. 

  • According to Piaget, learning  does not happened without both assimilation and accommodation.

Piaget’s four stages:

  • Sensory-motor (0-2 years): The child learns to interact with the environment by manipulating the objects around it.

  • Pre-operational (2-7 years): Egocentrism (difficulty seeing things from another point of view, than their own), and a lack of logical thinking.

  • Concrete operational (7-11 years): The turning point is in cognitive thinking is age seven. The children starts to develop logical thinking. The children’s logical thinking is restricted to the area they are working on in that moment though, as they cannot generalize their understanding just yet.

  • Formal operational (11- ) Children can now think more abstract manners.

Lev Vygotsky

  • Social constructivism: Children learned through social interactions.

  • Every child were unique learners.

  • Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD describes the difference between the child’s current knowledge and the potentian knowledge.

  • Scaffolding: Instructional strategy, that ensures the children can gain confidence or take control of or part of the task as soon . It is important that the student is offered immediate backup, should they get stuck.

Howard Gardner

  • Multiple intelligences and refers to them as frames of mind.

  • There are 8 intelligences/frames of minds: Linguistic, logico-mathmetical, musical, spatial, bodily-kinaesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist.

  • Other personality features are the cognitive categories such as analytical and global learners.

  • Analytical: Learners are the people who pay close attention to detail.

  • Global: Learners are those who have a more holistic approach. 


Emil Alexander Holm Thorsen