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What could parents and teachers do to facilitate cognitive development in Piaget's Formal Operational Stage?

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Olen Bruce eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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During the Formal Operations Stage, which occurs for many students around adolescence and beyond, children begin to use logic to solve problems. Children begin to develop logic, abstract thinking, and the ability to solve problems.

In this stage, it is important for parents and teachers to realize that each child is different, so some will still be working on the concrete operations phase. To facilitate this type of development during the Formal Operations Stage, students need guidance in applying logic to real-world problems. For example, their teachers or parents can help them think about some steps that people have taken in the past to solve problems like poverty or economic inequality, and students could use these steps as models to think about solutions that they could come up with in the future. 

During this phase, students need to work to form solutions that are based on abstractions, not just facts. For example, they can think about how characters in novels feel or write an additional chapter to a book that explains what happens to the characters after the novel ends. In addition, students can work on solving mathematical and scientific problems that involve making hypotheses and testing them out. These activities will help students develop their ability to solve problems. 

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Jean Piaget's Formal Operational Stage begins at the age of twelve (or close to) and extends well into adulthood. In this initial stages, the ability of abstract thought processes begins to develop. People in this stage begin using logical and deductive thinking.

Parents and teachers, in order to facilitate cognitive development within this stage, can use problem solving, hypothesis creation, scenario questions, and cause/effect problems.

For example, deductive reasoning requires people to may educated inferences and conclusions about categorical information. IN the classroom, a teacher could begin examining the "If A=B and B=C then, C=A" equations and problems. In some cases this is correct, and in other cases it is incorrect.

In literature, the study of imagery, allusions, metaphors, and similes can be used to facilitate cognitive development in the Formal Operational Stage.

Parents could ask questions about what happens next scenarios. A great way to do this is through "America's Funniest Home Videos." A parent could pause a video before the climax and ask the child to consider the environment and what is happening. The child would then make a hypothesis about what will happen next.

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