Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

Jean Piaget was a man that took into child psychology analysis from his early years. He was however not always this keen on the issue. Jean Piaget who later became a Philosopher and a developmental […]

Jean Piaget was a man that took into child psychology analysis from his early years. He was however not always this keen on the issue. Jean Piaget who later became a Philosopher and a developmental psychologist started off as a keen biologist. He is now known for his studies in epistemological studies which encompass the growth of children from responsive to intellectual growth. Born in 1896, Jean Piaget was not always a developmental psychologist. He started off as a keen biologist. He was a precocious child that grew in curiosity that saw him bag some accolades at a very tender age. Jean has already published several papers on Mollusks at the age of 15. He studied at the University of Neuchatel and shortly at the University of Zurich. He also published two papers on philosophy showing his way of thinking on the matters but later dismissed them as adolescent. He started developing an interest in psychoanalysis about the same time the field was hitting the science world. He later went to Paris in France from Switzerland where he taught boys at the Grange-Aux belles Street School.

This would be the turn of events for him. The man we know today was formed at this school where he worked as a marker for intellectual tests. He realized with time that certain children answered questions incorrectly when it came to specific ones. This trend aroused curiosity in hm. He realized that as they got older, they changed their answers to more correct ones. The basis for his life’s work was set. He spent time finding out the reason why this change came about when the children grew older. The premise of his work was developed on the intellectual ability of the children.

He later moved back to Switzerland in 1921 where he later married Valentine Châtenay. He took the director’s job at the International Bureau of Education in 1929 and remained till 1968. He was called upon to be chief at two conferences that took place in Cornell University and the University of California that handled cognitive studies and the development of curriculum. His studies for the development of the children took root as he discovered what made children chance with time. This development he retaliated shifted from egocentrism and later to sociocentrism. His explanation from the studies showed that children began from a point of dealing with reflexes, learning from them and then evolved slowly to more intellectual ways of thinking. An example was given where children are born with an instinct to suck. They later use this same reflex to learn as they will put everything the lay their hand on into their mouths. They later learn that not everything that is put in the mouth is beneficial in terms of drawing milk. This is where they start involving their intellect and avoid putting everything ion their mouths.

In latter developmental stages, they will also deal with situations in a certain way as long as they do not have prior knowledge to the right reaction. There is however a situation that they will respond to in certain ways because of having seen adults do the same. This was done in an experiment that put children on a hot seat for various questions. Jean Piaget asked them normal questions and later random questions they were not expecting. The children would answer questions to the best of their ability according to the social assimilation they had acquired. Assimilation and accommodation were coined. Assimilation referred to the response children gave due to schema. This was a set way of response developed from learnt conditions. Accommodation referred to their response to new things. They developed a way to deal with something new on their own. He has also written books in line with the same schools of thought namely Equilibration of Cognitive Structures and The Central Problem of Intellectual Development. He explained that assimilation and accommodation were not only affected by biological but by intellectual or cognitive interactions.

The development of children through logic and biological interactions were the basis of epistemology. He included genetics and other factors that affected the child’s ability to learn from the surroundings. Jean Piaget remains an authority in child development and his work a major reference point to many intellectuals in the same field.

Jean Piaget biography and photo