As I am tutoring children at the age between 11 to 13 years old, I identified their development stage to be “the Formal Operational,” as defined by Piaget. This is the fourth and last stage in Piaget’s cognitive development, during which children use thought that is entirely freed from physical and perceptual constraints. Thus, one of the important concepts that I observe with my tutees, who are in the Formal Operational Stage, is that they can make reason about abstracts and hypothetical situations about the world. This stage allows for the emergence of scientific thinking, formulating abstract theories and hypotheses when faced with a problem. That is, intelligence of the adolescent is managed through his or her logical use of symbols related to concrete as well as abstract concepts.
Implementing the learning attributes of the Formal Operational Stage, as defined by Piaget, to my tutees, I decided to induce them to use their abilities of deductive and hypothetical reasoning. As I teach math to my tutees, I ask them to solve problems and mathematical puzzles, which are beneficial for young students as they would broaden their minds and encourage creativity and decision making in them. Hence, I would say that I benefited from Piaget’s description of the attributes of children at their Formal Operational stage, in my experience of teaching math to my tutees. This is because I did not have to concretize mathematical ideas and concepts for them in order to let them grasp the meanings. rather, I used to brainstorm them by discussing abstract mathematical ideas and let them speak out their interpretations of the concepts I mention. This approach enhances the creative attribute that characterizes adolescents during this stage of cognitive development. As such, I have not focused primarily on concrete ideas and concepts that characterize earlier stages of cognitive development.