In this essay, Deanna Kuhn argues that the difficulties encountered in attempting to apply Piaget's theory of cognitive development to education are revealing of the ambiguities that exist within the theory itself. She illustrates this first by reviewing experimental curricula that derive their educational objectives from Piaget's developmental stage sequences, and, second, by examining those programs that derive their educational methods from Piaget's theories about the process of cognitive development. The author argues that the efforts of educators attempting to utilize developmental theory in educational contexts and the efforts of developmental theoreticians attempting to construct a more adequate theory of cognitive development ought to be mutually illuminating, and, indeed, that research activity across these disparate contexts must be integrated in order to achieve either a comprehensive developmental theory or an effective application of it.
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