Piaget vs. Vygotsky Cognitive Constructivism Essay

Pages: 4 (1213 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

Unlike Piaget, Vygotsky addressed the social and cultural influences that children have in their cognitive development (Davies, 2004). Quite different from what Piaget thought, Vygotsky emphasized the importance of the roles that older individuals play on the cognitive development of children. He thought that interaction with adults, such as parents, teachers, and older children, allowed them to learn what their role would be. He believed that children once getting help from these older figures, would eventually learn to think on their own and be able to function intellectually without the assistance of anyone (Palincsar, 1998). With babies, he thought that they were born with innate capabilities to understand and learn form the people around them, but in the end, their cognitive development was due to their interaction with the older influences in their lives.

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Vygotsky thought that learning objectives and cognitive development were based on three key integrated levels. The first of these is cultural. He thought that children depended on the generation before them and it was this generation from whom they learned from, that would allow them to develop correctly. Concepts such as counting, reading, learning, are all things that were based down from their older figures. The interpersonal level involves children learning how to deal with their own problems and how to resolve them by learning how another person approaches them, such as when a tutor teaches a child how she or he solves a particular issue. In the individual level, although not much was said about this concept, was that the child in a way does seek these experiences from which to learn about (Kall & Cavanaugh, 2010).

Essay on Piaget vs. Vygotsky Cognitive Constructivism Assignment

Instructional techniques in Vygotsky's theory of cognitive development would be the teacher being in charge of a classroom, kind of what the status quo is now. According to Vygotsky, children cannot actively seek and learn from something from which they have not received any formal instruction for. When children are presented with topics that they cannot fully understand, the teacher should always be there to help them out (Palincsar, 1998). Without formal education, children would not be able to develop cognitively. Instruction and guidance would be the ideal teaching method, according to his theory.

In conclusion, Piaget and Vygotsky's theories over and under lap in a variety of ways. They were both psychologists who contributed immensely to the field of cognitive development and are the most talked about theorists in this branch. Education all over the world is based on the theories that each of them respectively thought of. In contradiction of each other though, they each had their focus on their theories which were sort of opposites of each other. Piaget viewed individuals as having very little influence in their cognitive shaping of children's thoughts, while Vygotsky thought that without having role models, children would never be able to develop as well or as completely. Piaget saw cultural and social factors as having very little to do with why children learned, while Vygotsky saw social and cultural factors as the reason why children developed cognitively. In terms of instructional methods, Piaget saw teachers as being facilitators in a child's learning process, while Vygotsky saw them as being a leader and a director.


Martin, J. & Sugarman, J. (1997). The social-cognitive construction of psychotherapeutic change: Bridging the social constructionism and cognitive constructivism. Review of General Psychology. 1(4): 375-388.

Palincsar, A.S. (1998). Social contructivist persepctives on teaching and learning. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 49: 345-375.

Davies, D. (2004). Child Development. Second Edition. Guilford Press.


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