Piaget did enormous work during his lifetime on studying children’s intelligence and behavioral patterns. In traditional psychology, children’s thinking was seen as more primitive than adults’. However, according to Piaget, “Children’s cognitive behavior is intrinsically rather than extrinsically motivated” (Flaveli, 1996, p. 200). Piaget characterized the child’s thinking as qualitatively different, original, and distinctively special in its properties.
In developing his theory, Piaget came up with a then-unique method of watching children play, “he suggested a new way of looking at this behavior: the actions themselves are creating thought” (Miller, 2016, p. 12). Piaget developed his method when working with children – a method of collecting data through a clinical conversation, during which the experimenter asks the child questions or suggests certain tasks and receives answers in a free form. The clinical conversation aims to identify the causes leading to the onset of symptoms.
What is most surprising in Piaget’s intellectual legacy is that he “solved the problem of the origins of knowledge, to have bridged the nativist-empiricist split” (Newcombe, 2011, p. 157). Considering what kind of work, the psychologist has done, it is not difficult to agree that he revealed the nature of thinking, at least in children. Besides, surprise is the concept of the main life goal of the individual. The source of knowledge is the subject’s activity, aimed at restoring homeostasis. The balance between the organism’s impact on the environment and the reverse impact of the environment is ensured by adaptation.
Piaget’s theory stimulated the development of educational programs for preschool education, which were built based on learning through discovery and direct contact with the environment. In addition, Piaget launched a new evolutionary stage in the development of the general philosophy of constructivism, which later formed the basis of the modern philosophy of child development. The outstanding psychologist undertook tremendous efforts to discover the secrets of the human intellect and achieved significant success.
Flaveli J. H. (1996). Piaget’s legacy. American Psychological Society. 7(4), p. 200-202.
Miller, P. (2016). Theories of developmental psychology. Worth Publishers.
Newcombe, S. N. (2011). What is neoconstructivism? Child Development Perspectives. 5(3), p. 157-160.