As a 3-year-old, Mateo was afraid of Santa Claus, believed his shadow was following him, and expected that all adults knew his name. He could sing the ABC song and count by rote to 10. By the time he was 8 years old, Mateo loved sitting on Santa’s lap, used his hands to make shadow characters, and was able to disagree with a friend without getting upset. He could read simple text and add, subtract, and multiply.
Think about the previous example from Piaget’s point of view and then from Vygotsky’s. What do you think each would say about how Mateo’s developmental changes came about? From Piaget’s point of view, consider the development of stages and egocentrism. From Vygotsky’s point of view, consider the Zone of Proximal Development and the adult’s role in providing cultural knowledge.
Contrast Piaget’s theory to Vygotsky’s theory. Using the example above, describe how Piaget and Vygotsky differ in their views about how cognitive development progresses. Be sure to include all of the following in your answer:
- The main ideas of the stages of development from Piaget and the Zone of Proximal Development from Vygotsky
- A description of the adult’s role in the process from the point of view of each theorist
- A clear explanation of Mateo’s developmental progress from the point of view of each theorist
- A clear explanation of the differences between the two theorists’ approaches