The paper "The Cognitive Adolescent" is a wonderful example of an essay on social science. Adolescence is an essentially critical stage of cognitive development. During this period significant intellectual processes and developments occur. Adolescents progress from concrete thinking to abstract thinking. They also begin to experience metacognition by actively monitoring and regulating their thinking processes (Lorain, 2012). Basically, three key cognitive processes characterize the adolescent stage, these processes include; Formal Operation Thought, Meta-cognition, and Perspective Taking. These cognitive processes play a critical role in determining how adolescents think and learn. Formal operation thought is a stage of cognitive development where adolescents develop the ability to conceptualize abstract concepts.
During this stage, adolescents develop skills in deductive reasoning, systematic planning, and logical thought (Shaffer & Kipp, 2009). Meta-cognition is also a predominant cognitive process during adolescents. It refers to once knowledge and awareness of their own cognitive processes (Metcalfe & Shimamura, 1994). On the other hand, perspective-taking refers to the ability to relate to others by perceiving or understanding their motivations, thoughts, intentions, and feelings (Marrs, 2012). This essay seeks to examine how these three cognitive processes (formal operation thought, meta-cognition, and perspective-taking) influence adolescents thinking and learning.
These cognitive processes will be critically analyzed in relation to how they influence adolescents’ learning in Year 7/8 and Year 11/12 particularly in relation to subjects such as science, mathematics, and English. Formal Operation Thought Formal operation thought is a cognitive development stage suggested by Jean Piaget in his theory of cognitive development. Basically, Piaget’ s theory of cognitive development attempts to provide tools for predicting the developmental synchronizes and sequences in different stages of development by integrating cognitive, behavioral and developmental concepts (Fischer, 1980).
Piaget’ s theory suggests that the use of cognitive processes is what enables individuals to learn effectively since these cognitive skills and processes enable individuals to interpret ideas, make sense of ideas and make rational decisions (Valanides, 1998). According to Piaget, the formal operation thought stage begins at the age of 11 and extends to adulthood. During this stage, most adolescents demonstrate their intelligence through their ability to logically use symbols to conceptualize abstract concepts. In this stage, adolescents develop skills in systematic planning, logical thought, and deductive reasoning especially in relation to abstract concepts (Shaffer & Kipp, 2009; Piaget, 1972). Moreover, at this point adolescents develop the ability to classify and combine items in a more intricate manner.
Their capacity for high-order reasoning also enhanced. As a result, they are able to manipulate ideas mentally without depending on concrete manipulations. These abilities enable them to carry out mathematical calculations, employ abstract reasoning, imagine the outcomes of certain actions, and think creatively. Furthermore, skills such as deductive reasoning, logical thought, and systematic planning promote efficiency in learning science and mathematics (Nevid, 2008; Piaget, 1972).
Problem-solving is also another skill evident during the formal operation thought cognitive process. Prior to this stage, the ability of adolescents to solve-problems is limited since they heavily rely on a trial and error approach of problem-solving. Nevertheless, when they reach the formal operation stage, they develop an innate ability to solve problems systematically in a methodical and logical manner. Adolescents in this stage are able to plan an organized approach to problem-solving (Shaffer & Kipp, 2009; Nevid, 2008).