Jean Piaget pedagogist in a 1996 switzerland stamp
Contributor:Sergio Delle Vedove / Alamy Stock Photo
File size:51.3 MB (1.8 MB Compressed download)
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Dimensions:5197 x 3451 px | 44 x 29.2 cm | 17.3 x 11.5 inches | 300dpi
Date taken:7 January 2010
Piaget was born in 1896, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland called Neuchâtel. His father, Arthur Piaget, was a professor of medieval literature at the University of Neuchâtel. Piaget was a precocious child who developed an interest in biology and the natural world, particularly molluscs, and even published a number of papers before he graduated from high school. He published his first scientific paper at the age of ten. Over the course of his career, Piaget wrote more than sixty books and several hundred articles. Piaget received a Ph.D. in natural science from the University of Neuchâtel, and also studied briefly at the University of Zürich. During this time, he published two philosophical papers which showed the direction of his thinking at the time, but which he later dismissed as adolescent thought . His interest in psychoanalysis, a strain of psychological thought burgeoning at that time, can also be dated to this period. He then moved from Switzerland to Paris, France, where he taught at the Grange-Aux-Belles street school for boys run by Alfred Binet, the developer of the Binet intelligence test. It was while he was helping to mark some instances of these intelligence tests that Piaget noticed that young children consistently gave wrong answers to certain questions. Piaget did not focus so much on the fact of the children's answers being wrong, but that young children kept making the same pattern of mistakes that older children and adults did not. This led him to the theory that young children's cognitive processes are inherently different from those of adults. In 1921, Piaget returned to Switzerland as director of the Rousseau Institute in Geneva. In 1923, he married Valentine Châtenay; together, the couple had three children, whom Piaget studied from infancy. In 1929, Jean Piaget accepted the post of Director of the International Bureau of Education and remained the head of this international organization until 1968.