A debate arguing whether Children can be made more cognitively advanced through intensive training

Over the years a great ongoing debate upon whether children are born as a “tabula rasa” with innate knowledge or acquire knowledge enabling them to understand the world has been well established. From understanding how children learn, methods such as Intensive Training (IT) can be fully understood to enable children to advance cognitively. Piaget believed that children are born with little knowledge that must be shaped and manipulated to enable them to progress. Conflicting reviews from Chomsky reveals that children can be born with innate devices that require no real training to acquire knowledge.

When reviewing Piaget’s work into how children think, it is highlighted that children are born with limited resources that need experience to learn. Piaget says that children will only be able to develop cognitively, within their appropriate level of thought, from experience and learning from mistakes. If children undertake IT then it should stand true that children will improve cognitively as their innate basic abilities will adapt and grow. Vygotsky makes a finer point about this arguing that each individual has a Zone of Proximal Development, ZPD, that they will only be able to reach with a More Knowledgeable Other, a role model, providing IT.

Conversely, researchers such as Chomsky dissuade us from the belief that children are blank slates that must learn from experience. Chomsky proposed that children are born with specific innate dimensions, Language Acquisition Device, which requires no thought process to gain it. LAD also shows that although feral children, such as Genie, are able to acquire basic principles of language, even with IT grammar is hard to acquire. Thus, proposing that children are born with innate capabilities that are reached and cannot be pushed beyond that even with IT.

Piaget’s stages cause inconsistencies to arise about whether all children truly learn from experience.  It is widely known that children will perform under or above this expectation and only the average will perform at Piaget’s stages. Some children such as “child geniuses” are given the same exposure to experience at school and home and yet out perform their peers and siblings. These children are able to perform above what is expected of them yet with no extra guidance. These cases of higher innate dimensions in some children provide evidence for children not needing IT to excel cognitively, rather it being innate.

It is clear from the literature that there is conflict upon whether children perform best through innate devices within them or intensively training them to improve cognitive abilities. Piaget himself observes that children are born with limited resources requiring experience to develop nevertheless; children are still able to exceed his expectations progressing far beyond the stages he set for children’s thinking. It is still under debate upon whether children’s advance in cognitive ability is due to IT a MKO, Vygotsky, or whether some children are just born with higher biological capabilities than their peers.


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