Essay PART 1




Question1:Suppose you and another teacher are discussing various ways to teachphysicalenvironment (e.g., desert, forest, etc) of the regions of Californiato children in grade4.Compare and contrast the way Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theorieswould tell you to approach teaching the topic you chose to childrenin the indicated grade. What are the similarities? What are thedifferences?

Theoriesof human development have had great influence especially ineducational theories. Jean Piaget’s work concentrated mainly on therole of maturation in the capacity of children to comprehend theirworld. In the current question, I chose to explore 4thgraders in how teachers can prepare teaching of physical environment.Most children in grade four are aged between 9 and 10 years whichdepend on their date of birth. At this stage, the child is physicallyand cognitively able to learn complex relations with the environment.

Choosinghow to teach children on the said topic would largely be based on theknowledge of their level of understanding as explained bypsychologists. Looking at Piaget’s view of cognitive development,children in grade four are at the concrete operational stage. Thechildren are able to think in a logical manner in regard to objectsand events. Teaching about the physical environment in Californiaregion such as forests, it would be a great idea to approach thetopic by providing the children with insights. For example, askingthe children what kind of trees species are found in forests aroundtheir area. In regard to deserts, children can be asked to list anycharacteristics of deserts. This will provide the teacher with aninsight of how to guide the students in the topic. In Piaget’sconcrete operational stage, a child can be able to classify objectsbased on different characteristics and can also serialize objectsalong one dimension like size, type or even cause (Atherton, 2013).Piaget would thus advice teaching this topic by visiting a few placesin California forests and deserts to identify the various aspects inthese environments.

Vygotskyon the other hand came up with the Sociocultural development theory.In his theory he emphasized on the importance of social interactionfor learning to occur. According to Vygotsky teaching children willbe best achieved by first equipping them with basic knowledge forproblem solving. He called this the Zone of proximal development. Assuch, he would advise teaching the children the basics of thephysical environment such as vegetation, various climatic factors andtheir effects, types of forests and deserts. Vygotsky would alsorecommend scaffolding which is basically assistance provided to takestudents from basic knowledge to solving the problem. Scaffoldingincludes guiding questions, thinking aloud and prompts. This willequip learners with prior knowledge of the topic before they caninteract with the environment. In addition, just like Piaget he wouldalso recommend a visit to the scenes in California and be able toassociate what they already know with their interaction with theenvironment.

Oneof the similarities between Vygotsky and Piaget’s theories of humandevelopment is that the two psychologists believe that learningoccurs through interaction with the social environment. However,several differences emerge from the two theories including the roleof language development. Piaget believed that learners are active inmanipulating objects while Vygotskyisfor the idea that learners are active in social environment andrelations. With regard to instructional implications, Piagetadvocated for designing of experiences that interrupt equilibriumwhile Vygotskyadvocatedfor provision of scaffolding and guided interaction.


Question2b:How can Erikson’s stages of Psychosocial Development help indesigning a high school orientation for 8thgraders (in a K-8 school) who will attend a 9-12 high school nextyear?

Childrenin grade 8 are usually in their first years of adolescent and arestarting to know themselves or try to find their identity. At thisstage, they are vulnerable to manipulation as peer pressure takescourse. It is basically the transition from childhood to adulthood. Achild at this stage starts to view life differently as they becomemore independent and begins to focus on future in regard to career,relationships and even families. As such, the school plays a greatrole in helping children in this transition.

Understandingof the Erickson’s stages of psychosocial development can help aschool come up with programs for teenagers preparing to join highschool. In stage five of Erickson’s theory, he talks of identityvs. role confusion. Children will usually find their identity throughexperimenting and find their identity from the results of theirexperiences. As such, the school should provide an ample environmentfor these juniors before they leave grade 8. Introducing careerguidance for teenagers is one of the roles that a school can play tomould them. Career guidance helps children chose what they want to bein the society. Failure to this as Erickson explains will lead torole confusion which can make a child to be confused.

Sexualidentity is also an important aspect during adolescence. Teenagersstart experiencing changes in their bodies and if not guided may feelembarrassment of confusion. The school should also look into this byintroducing guidance and counseling for teenagers. This will enablethem express their fears, worries and expectation even inrelationships. It is for the school to ensure that children in gradeeight are prepared for the future.


AthertonJ. S (2013). Learningand Teaching Piaget`s developmental theory. Retrieved13 March 2016 from