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Differences between Piaget and Vygotsky

Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky were two theorists who have greatly influenced the methods and orientations in the teaching and learning processes. These presented important studies on cognitive development at early ages, which has contributed to the development of education and psychology.

Their theoretical proposals, despite having the different stages of child development as a point of coincidence, differ from each other depending on the way in which learning occurs for each one of them. It is for this reason that, in this article, we present the differences that exist between both theorists, starting from the description of their theories and statements.

Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget was a Swiss epistemologist, psychologist and biologist who made important contributions to the study of childhood and who also developed the constructivist theory of intelligence development, drawing on the theories of authors such as Lev Vygotsky and David Ausubel.

He published several studies on Child Psychology, fundamentally based on the detailed observation of children’s growth, he developed the theory of sensorimotor intelligence, which describes the development of a practical intelligence that is based on action. This intelligence is seen from a biological, logical and psychological perspective, so he formed a new epistemology with these studies.

Piaget’s theory of learning posits that children pass through specific stages according to their intellect and ability to perceive mature relationships. These stages of child development occur in a fixed order in all children, however, the age may vary slightly from one child to another. According to Piaget, cognitive development occurs naturally in children and is structured in stages that he called stages of child development.

On the other hand, according to Piaget’s studies, knowledge is a process of interaction between the subject and the physical environment, since its development occurs naturally, he also considers that the human being at birth is a biological individual with cognitive potentiality that will be developed according to the different stages of development. Likewise, Piaget considers that knowledge is built individually and development occurs in the same way for everyone.

Lev Vygotsky

We can say that Lev Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist of Jewish origin considered one of the most outstanding psychologists in psychology. He was the founder of historical-cultural psychology from which the socio-cultural theory that delves into the influence of the sociocultural environment on the cognitive development of children emerges.

According to Vygotsky’s theory, the proactive participation of minors with the environment that surrounds them is essential, since cognitive development is the result of a collaborative process between the child and society. According to Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory, the role of adults and more advanced peers is to support, direct, and organize the child’s learning. This orientation is more effective for children to cross what she called the zone of proximal development (ZPD), which is nothing more than the gap between what children are already capable of doing and what they cannot yet achieve on their own. .

Similarly, according to Vygotsky, knowledge is a process of interaction between the subject and the environment from the cultural and social point of view, in addition, he considers that the human being at birth is a social individual whose cognitive potential depends on the quality of social interaction and the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) of the subject.

On the other hand, Vygotsky considers that knowledge is built as the child socializes and development occurs differently in each child and also varies according to the culture of each child.

As can be seen, despite the fact that both theorists based their studies from the constructivist point of view, the way of approaching learning and knowledge is different for both, in that sense we find that:

Jean Piaget Lev Vygotsky
According to Piaget, knowledge is a process of interaction between the subject and the physical environment. According to Vygotsky, knowledge is a process of interaction between the subject and the environment from the cultural and social point of view.
It says that the human being at birth is a biological individual. It says that the human being at birth is a social being.
Piaget indicates that the cognitive potential of the individual will be developed according to the different stages of development. Vygotsky indicates that cognitive potential depends on the quality of social interaction and the subject’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD).
He says that knowledge is built individually and that development occurs in the same way for everyone. It indicates that knowledge is built as the child socializes and that development occurs differently and varies according to the culture of each child.

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