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DEVELOPMENT OF THE THOUGHT-PROCCESS


To get to the bottom where thinking begins and where it leads, there is no way around Piaget and Vygotsky. The two great researchers of thinking, dealt with the first steps of it and the various influences on it.


Piaget divides the development of thinking into different stages and also names different concrete processes that modify thinking.


Thinking is first initiated by the perception of stimuli through the sensory organs and then behaves accordingly. With advancing age, thinking then becomes increasingly symbolic, but is still characterized by devastating errors in thinking. For example, processes cannot be thought backwards. Finally, the last stage is characterized by the ability to systematically test hypotheses and to think different variables in isolation from each other in the thinking process.


Piaget also mentions essential processes, such as assimilation and accommodation, whereby the child's schemata can be constantly improved. Through assimilation, new environmental influences are adapted to the existing schemata, and through accommodation, existing schemata are adapted to the environmental influences. Usually both processes occur simultaneously.


Vygotsky considers the child's thinking in a more social context and sees the child as a being who develops his own thinking in the context of the thinking of other persons. Thus, the child's thinking develops and changes in the sociocultural context.


He defines the concept of "guided participation", according to which more knowledgeable persons guide the child in learning new skills. Elementary in this process are "psychological tools", such as the language or the art of the corresponding culture, through which the child can organize and control thinking.


If one compares the theories of the two researchers with each other, one finds that both regard the child as an active learner, which is in a cognitive conflict, whereby its own understanding changes in the context of a changing environment. There is also agreement that development decreases with age.


Focusing on the differences, there are important questions that are answered in opposite ways.


After all, does learning take place more individually (Piaget) or in the social realm (Vygotsky)? And can development rather be classified in stages and phases (Piaget) or is it not classifiable because different cultures differ too much from each other (Vygotsky)? Another important difference is the different interpretation of the child's egocentric perspective. For example, Piaget sees it as an inability to adopt the perspective of others and Vygotsky presents it more as an aid for children to organize and regulate thinking.


However, both agree on the importance of "play."


Playing as much as possible promotes thinking in motoric aspects, serves to stimulate the world of thought, and leads to an engagement with everyday things.

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