Back to: Learning and Teaching – Unit 2
Meaning of Cognitive Development
Cognitive development is the way children think, explore, and observe the things around them. It involves the development of knowledge, disposition, and problem-solving skills which helps them to get a better understanding of the world around them. Cognitive development includes brain development. Jean Piaget is referred to as the father of cognitive development. He was a Swiss psychologist who observed the intellectual development of children during childhood. According to Jean Piaget,
“Cognitive development is a progressive reorganization of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience.”
Socio-Cultural Factors Influencing Cognition and Learning
The socio-cultural factors that affect the cognitive development of learners are as follows:
Environment plays a key role in influencing the cognitive development of an individual. To ensure proper cognitive development in children, a motivating and encouraging environment is necessary. Lucurto (1990) observed that a child’s intelligence increased when they were surrounded by an encouraging and positive environment.
A child’s home environment can also affect their cognitive development. If a child is exposed to early learning experiences, their intellectual functioning quickens and therefore, they are able to have a relatively faster cognitive development.
Socio-economic status refers to the social status and economic health of an individual. A child belonging to a good socio-economic background is likely to gain better educational attainment than someone who comes from a poor socio-economic background.
Heredity refers to the transmission of physical, emotional, cognitive, and other characteristics from parents to children. Heredity is responsible for determining when a child’s cognitive senses are ready and mature to develop cognitive skills.
Piaget believes that the experiences children witness in the physical and real world has a major influence on their cognitive development.
The learning environment and opportunities a child is surrounded with can have a major influence on their cognitive development. A child who is given learning opportunities from an early age can reach milestones sooner.
Nutrition plays an important role in affecting cognitive development. A nutritious and balanced diet is required to ensure the proper development of a child’s cognitive skills.
According to Vygotsky, “Cognitive abilities are socially guided and constructed.” Teachers and parents should take all the above factors into consideration and ensure that every learner gains proper cognitive development.