Saturday, June 21, 2014

Heavyweight Psychology Wars: Piaget vs. Vygotsky

Piaget vs. Vygotsky - like I said in a previous post, EVERYTHING is a war in American culture. I'm only bringing up this clash between two theories in the psychology of child development and learning because the basic assumptions expressed by Piaget and Vygotsky have a huge bearing on how Asperger's children are defined, viewed and treated by the Helping, Caring, Fixing industry.

Piaget is famous for his 4 stages of development, in which children are like trains that must arrive at specific stations on time. This schedule is absolute, in that behavior and cognitive development is "written" in the Big Book of Universal Law, and any deviation from the rule is a sign of a defective child. Also, children are on their own when learning: children must "discover" knowledge by themselves, without social interference, which begs the question, why do we build schools and hire teachers?
How bizarre! The advantage of the long and open window of learning in humans, is that it's efficient! The individual doesn't have to re-discover a vast trove of existing knowledge, which no individual could possibly do, but has the tremendous advantage of learning from OTHER HUMANS, even those who died long ago. 

In my opinion, Piaget's demands are highly unrealistic (indeed wacky) and are founded in religious prescriptions (supernatural ) rather than being scientific. According to Piaget, a child's behavior must conform to a specific set of instructions, regardless of his or her environment, culture, or social reality. Individual talents and personality 'don't count.' Whether or not a child is born in Madagascar, Siberia, or California, this scheme for learning and development is The Scheme. Wow! Sounds like the justification for the American tradition of Corporate / Religious take over (extermination) of cultures around the world.
Vygotsky, as one may guess, since this is a war, is thoroughly disparaged by some 'assembly line' advocates who follow Piaget. It could be that because Vygotsky was Russian, this irrational state of mind is a legacy of the Cold War. The basic differences are:
1. Vygotsky maintained that the cultural and historical context in which the child is born is vital in child learning and development. 2. There are no "stages" of prescribed development. Children  develop along a curve, not in steps. 3. Children learn, not in isolation, but from the adults around them, who provide knowledge and demonstrate skills that help the child to think in increasingly advanced ways until they can function as adults - on their own. Wow! Sounds like a Commie Plot to me!

The tragedy of Psychology Wars, is that American public schools have become the laboratories / battlefields on which competing theories are being tested. Theories are weaponized, politicized and bastardized in the hands of educators, school boards, parents, teachers, consultants, so-called experts, lawyers and publishers - armies of contestants in the dash for funding, contracts, grants and salaries.  Meanwhile, classroom applications of competing psychologies, which are falsely presented as  scientific fact, work at cross-purposes in the classroom, and serve to destroy education.

How does this clash between Titanic Theories of Psychology affect learning and development in Asperger children and - importantly - how society judges us?
Need I say more? This is not how the world works: this is how psychologists remake the world in their own irrational image.


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