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Mathematics & Economics
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Cognitive Theory & Math learning (Essay Sample)

Instructions:

This is an essay that applies a theory of cognitive development to the numeracy skills or mathematical knowledge demonstrated in the Early Years Learning Framework or Australian Curriculum.

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Content:

Cognitive Theory & Math learning
Student’s Name
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Cognitive Theory & Math learning
Introduction
Cognitive developmental theories that entail mental actions via which we gain knowledge are significant to learning and the creation of structures for education (Keenan & Evans, 2009). The study of human cognition itself is a broad topic researched by many prominent individuals. In this report, the discussion will focus on Vygotsky and Piaget’s theory of cognitive development in relation to math learning and the Early Years Learning Framework.
Vygotsky’s Theory of Cognitive Development
According to Vygotsky’s study cognitive development, a child embeds in the family and culture of his or her community. For these reasons, much a child’s learning and development is culturally specific (Gordon, 2012). This position appears very true, based on findings of a study that indicates much of the reason indigenous Australians perform poorly in math is due to poor communication skills (Perry eta l., 2011).
According to Vygotsky, there are three essential socio-cultural concepts that should be understood effectively to participate in learning. The primary is (ZPD) the Zone of Proximal Development. This describes a relationship between a mentor and a learner aiming to provide the necessary support to ensure the learner can complete new tasks successfully. In this regard, Vygotsky indicates the importance of parents in ensuring children constantly expand their ZPD. Another essential concept is scaffolding, or the creation of necessary support structures to facilitate learning. These include hints, advice and other pointers that support the learning process. The third key concept is private speech, which helps the child to communicate their needs as their circle of interaction continues to expand (Gordon, 2012).
Based on the above concepts, Vygotsky highlights five implications for early childhood. At the outset is the requirement to engage family and the way of life in the learning process. In this regard, the teacher should embrace the reality that the child’s first teacher is the family. The second implication is that the teacher or child relationship should enhance learning. The third implication is the importance of tools for facilitating learning. The fourth implication of the theory alludes to the value of play while the last implication is to accommodate individual differences (Gordon, 2012).
Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory
This theory established by Piaget on cognition and cognitive progress is amongst the most significant to come up from the study of human development. The main contrast of the theory in comparison to other behaviorist theories is the fact that Piaget propose that children actively explore their environment and construct their reality (Keenan & Evans, 2009). Key to Piaget’s theory is the concept of adaptation and organization. Based on these two concepts, Piaget proposed that cognitive development stands on the ability to organize and adapt to new interactions and experiences (Keenan & Evans, 2009). In addition to the above concepts, Piaget further proposes that cognitive development takes place in four distinct stages (Rathus, 2007).
Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)
It is in 2009 that the EYLF comes into action in Australia as the first national curriculum to provide support for early childhood education. The curriculum is unique due to support for diversity in theories, in relation to child development. In reference to this position, the curriculum accommodates a wide variety of options for play learning (Fleer, 2013). The framework places very strong emphasis on play based learning as well as communication and language (Elliot-Johns & Jarvis, 2013). The framework ensures that children from indigenous Australian communities receive an education that allows them perform at par with children from other regions of the country.
Discussion on which Theory suits EYLF
The framework aims to produce children who possess a strong sense of identity, connection and children who contribute to their world or have a strong sense of well being. In addition to this, it aims to produce children who are confident, effective communicators and involved learners (Flinders, 2012). Based on these outcomes, it is evident that Vygotsky’s theory suites and applies to the EYL framework. In addition to this, Piaget’s theory has numerous shortcomings, which make it unsuitable for EYLF. For example, it is evident that the theory underestimates cognitive competence of infants while overestimating the same in adolescents. Other critics also state that the theory is vague in relation to processes and mechanisms that cause change. In this regard, concepts such as assimilation which are essential to the theory are difficult to measure scientifically. Furthermore, the theory does not appear to account for variability of children’s performance. It places very little emphasis on the value of the socio-cultural environment in relation to learning (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2011).
The fact that the theory does not consider the socio-cultural impact on learning ignores the fact that, in reality, the child’s first teacher is the parent and community. Ignoring this important fact hampers any progress the teacher may intend to make as it does not account for what the children already know. In addition to this, research shows that play learning ...
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