Development and Learning: Conflict or Congruence?

Development and Learning: Conflict or Congruence?

Development and Learning: Conflict or Congruence?

Development and Learning: Conflict or Congruence?

Synopsis

This volume juxtaposes two different domains of developmental theory: the Piagetian approach and the information-processing approach.

Articles by experts in both fields discuss how concepts of development and learning, traditionally approached through cognitive-developmental theories such as Piaget's, are analyzed from the perspective of a task analytic, information-processing approach.

Excerpt

The members of the Board of Directors of the Jean Piaget Society hold a diverse set of opinions about developmental epistemology. However, probably all share a commitment to the Piagetian view that conflict, and the disequilibrium it provokes, act as powerful forces in motivating cognitive progression--not only for the developing child, but also for the mature academician. As a result, scholars invited as Plenary Speakers at the Annual Symposia of the Society are only occasionally those who would be readily labeled as Piagetians. Far more commonly, invited speakers are scholars who offer alternative approaches to the study of developmental phenomena.

These alternatives are sometimes couched in terms of challenges to Piagetian theory, in which the fundamental question is whether Piagetian theory can maintain its integrity in the face of critiques (as in a recent Symposium focused on new theories of concepts, see Scholnick, 1983). Sometimes the alternatives are couched in terms of content domains that received relatively little attention from Piaget, in which the central question is whether Piagetian theory can assimilate those domains (as in a Symposia focused on various aspects of emotional development, see Overton, 1983; Bearison & Zimiles, 1986; or as in one focused on constructivism and computers, see Forman & Pufall, in preparation). Sometimes--as in the Symposium on which the present volume is based--the alternatives are drawn from research programs addressed to contents similar to those studied by Piaget, but couched within a different language and employing different empirical paradigms. Here, the fundamental question is whether these alternatives are fundamentally compatible with Piagetian theory, offering progressive refinements of that theory, or instead, are fundamentally distinct, "competing" approaches.

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