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Jean Piaget is widely acclaimed as a developmental theorist who has contributed much to the understanding of how children learn. While many educators adhere to Piaget’s model of learning, few realize that techniques similar in structure were used by Jesus 2000 years ago. Basic components of Piaget’s theory, namely assimilation, accommodation, and disequilibration of the learner, are evidenced in the parabolic method used by Jesus. This comparison between Piaget’s theory and Christ’s parabolic method suggests that an effective teacher would cognitively activate and disequilibrate the learner. Insights from Scripture and Piaget’s theory imply that motivation through disequilibration should be effective with students having a variety of experiences, a wide spectrum of abilities, and a mixture of learning styles.


Originally published by Rosemead School of Psychology in the Journal of Psychology and Theology, 1985, 13(2), 97-103