TOPIC: Neuroplasticity – previous and present theoretical understandings of cognitive development for teaching and learning in SA schools [Total: 100 marks]

According to Merzenich (cited in Donald, Lazarus and Moolla, 2014:83), “Neuroplasticity theory has several implications for understanding the cognitive development of children”.

Write an essay in which you discuss the basic principles of Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories of cognitive development. Critically assess the issue of neuroplasticity as a previously identified way of understanding learning in developing children and adolescents. In your critical discussion, make reference to examples related to your own teaching subjects as a means of illustrating neuroplasticity in action. Follow the guidelines provided below.

1. Provide a suitable introduction to your assignment. This should contextualise the assignment and it should also provide a discussion of the areas of focus in the assignment. It is necessary to explain to the reader what the purpose is of writing the assignment. [8]

2. Discuss the basic principles of the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky. [2 x 15 = 30]

3. Critically assess the concept of neuroplasticity in understanding the learning of developing children and adolescents. [20]

4. Discuss examples related to your own subject(s) to illustrate the application of neuroplasticity in action. Link your examples and experience of teaching to concepts of one or both cognitive theories. You can consult the internet, textbooks, interview(s), journals, magazines, newspapers. You must also include evidence of reading and research by referring to peer-reviewed academic articles and books in the in-text referencing. [20]

5. Finally, construct a conclusion by writing key points made in the assignment, to provide a cohesive explanation of what you declared your assignment would focus on or achieve when you wrote the introduction. Be sure to state what you have learned as a result of your research and reading. This will bring the assignment to a
close. [7]

6. Check that you have correctly implemented your in-text referencing. Make use of the
STADIO Referencing Guide. Attach your (appropriately formatted) reference list at the end of the assignment. You should consult a minimum of 7 references to complete this assignment.

7. Read through your assignment and check that the structure, grammar, language, and academic tone are sound and appropriate. You will also be marked on this. [5]

Answers to Above Questions on Education Studies

Answer: It is important to understand the cognitive development in children and adolescents. In this context, theory provided by Piaget and Vygotsky are significant from the point of view of understanding the ways in which children acquire knowledge and skills. This essay therefore focuses on the contribution of Piaget and Vygotsky in understanding cognitive development within children, and thereby understanding its implication for effective teaching and learning in the South African education system.

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