JEAN PIAGET: RIASSUNTOJean Piaget's life. Jean Piaget was born on August 9, 1896, in Switzerland. In 1907, he published his first paper – he was 10 years old. In 1918, he obtained a doctorate in zoology, and he studied psychoanalysis. In 1920, he studied children’s intelligence. Three years later, in 1923, he was published the first of nearly 60 scholarly books. In 1929, he was appointed director of the International Bureau of Education. In 1955, he established the Center for Genetic Epistemology. He died in Geneva in 1980.
ARTICLE ON JEAN PIAGET - This article on Jean Piaget was written by Seymour Papert, a famous M.I.T. professor and scientist, who worked with Piaget in Geneva. The text has been divided into three parts.
Jean Piaget-Child Psychologist Part I: Jean Piaget, the pioneering Swiss philosopher and psychologist, spent much of his professional life listening to children, watching children and poring over the reports of researchers around the world who were doing the same. He found, to put it most succinctly, that children don’t think like grownups.
LA PSICOLOGIA DEL BAMBINO PIAGET
After thousands of interactions with young people often barely old enough to talk, Piaget began to suspect that behind their cute and seemingly illogical utterances were thought processes that had their own kind of order and their own special logic. Einstein called it a discovery “so simple that only a genius could have thought of it.” Piaget’s insight opened a new window into the inner workings of the mind. By the end of a wide-ranging and remarkably prolific research career that spanned nearly 75 years – from his first scientific publication at age 10 to work still in progress when he died at 84 – Piaget had developed several new fields of science: developmental psychology, cognitive theory and what came to be called genetic epistemology. Although not an educational reformer, he championed a way of thinking about children that provided the foundation for today’s education-reform movements. It was a shift comparable to the displacement of stories of “noble savages” and “cannibals” by modern anthropology. One might say that Piaget was the first to take children’s thinking seriously.
Others who shared this respect for children – John Dewey in the U.S., Maria Montessori in Italy and Paulo Freire in Brazil – fought harder for immediate changes in the schools, but Piaget’s influence on education is deeper and more pervasive. He was been revered by generations of teachers inspired by the belief that children are not empty vessels to be filled with knowledge (as traditional pedagogical theory had it) but active builders of knowledge – little scientists who are constantly creating and testing their own theories of the world. And though he may not be as famous as Sigmud Freud or even B.F. Skinner, his contribution to psychology may be longer lasting.