Understanding child development is an essential part of teaching young children. As a child grows, they go through a series of developmental periods, each reflecting on their ability to learn and process information. An understating of these developmental milestones enables teaches to guiding and promoting learning as well as serve as a foundation for future learning. A child development theory is a collection of beliefs why children behave think and feel the way they do. Several prominent researchers have contributed to these theories.
He called this conditioned response (Myers, 2008). In the operant conditioning, living organisms associate their actions with a certain outcome. As a result, actions that are followed by reinforcers tend to increase, while those followed by punishers usually decrease (Davis, 2008). Skinner showed this by placing a hungry rat in a skinner box that had a lever. Whenever the rat knocked the lever, a food pellet dropped into a container next to the lever.
Attachment Theory: Developing Attachment Relationships In psychology, peoples’ mental processes and behaviors are studied in order to assist in gaining a greater knowledge of individuals, the reasons behind their actions and the human mind. One of the most integral parts of the puzzle that impacts on development is early childhood attachment. Much research and theories have been dedicated to this particular area of psychology as it is believed that our experiences as young children help shape and mold our characteristics and interpersonal relationships later on in life. John Bowlby, also known as the founder of attachment theory, created a theory based on four phases of attachment. Likewise, Mary Ainsworth has contributed her “strange situation” in order to measure the quality of attachment and developed different categories that describe various levels of attachment between child and caregiver.
In classical conditioning, an organism learns to associate or connect stimuli so that the neutral stimulus becomes associated with the meaningful stimulus. Additionally, there are two ways that teachers or parents use to decrease or increase behavior, and these are punishing bad behavior and reinforcing the good behavior. Operant conditioning is used to either decrease undesirable behaviors or increase desirable behaviors. For the desirable behaviors, a number of tactics can be used to achieve them. They include choosing effective reinforces, making reinforces timely and contingent, selecting the most appropriate reinforcement schedule and using negative reinforcement appropriately.
The theories (behaviorism, social learning, constructivism and social constructivism) will then be compared and contrasted to see what extent they recognise a role for social experiences in the development of a child. The theory of behaviorism is based on the understanding that human being is a trainable being and can be trained to behave in any particular way. Behaviourism believes that through certain methods of training and discipline, not only a person’s behaviour pattern can be changed but even their reflexes can be trained to respond in certain way to certain stimuli. Behaviourists rejected the child development theories which focused on ‘mental events’ as the cause of child development, and focused their attention on understanding how the behaviour of a child is influenced by his environment. Behaviourists considered any relatively permanent change in behavior that was caused by environmental events as ‘learning’ (Oates, Sheehy and Wood, 2005).
One of the major differences involves the types of behaviours that are conditioned. While classical conditioning is centred on involuntary, automatic behaviours, operant conditioning is focused on voluntary behaviours. It is important we view each conditioning technique in greater detail to gain a complete understanding of it. The first conditioning type we are to analyse is classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is a theory of learning founded by Ivan Pavlov, It is a way of learning through past association, he accidentally stumbled upon this theory as he was studying the digestive system of the dog and then applied it to human psychology.
Classic conditioning is learning by association for example stimulus such as ringing of the bell at lunch time provoked a conditional response so we associated the bell to food. Operant conditioning- patterns of behaviour can be stimulated through positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement and punishment. Skinner Skinner carried out experiments on rats and later known as ‘Skinner box’. This box was fitted with a bar in the inside and allowed the rat to press the bar every time the rat pressed the bar the rat would be presented with a food pellet, and the pressing of the bar was recorded. The rat learnt that by pressing the bar the food would appear and began to press it to get fed.
So, when an infant forms an attachment it is responding to the love and attention it has received, language comes from imitating the speech of others and cognitive development depends on the degree of stimulation in the environment and, more broadly, on the civilization within which the child is reared. Examples of an extreme nature positions in psychology include Bowlby's (1969) theory of attachment, which views the bond between mother and child as being an innate process that ensures survival”. (www.simplypsychology.org) According to this theory, it is the combination of societal and biological influences that affect behavior in our children. Since the brain is not fully developed at birth, the environment in which the child is exposed gives opportunity to further enhance or, consequently, inhibit many areas of development. Neurobiologist have found that early long term stress can actually change the brain functioning and, in turn, create an overly sensitive nervous system.
Foremost among the concerns and of interest to child development specialists are practices of socialization and culturally-relevant educational practices and programs. The basic purpose of the child developmental specialist is to enhance the child’s ability to develop on both social and cognitive levels, including language proficiency. (Goss, n.d.). The NCLB Act addressed the way children with disabilities are assessed. For instance, the Act mandated a change from the overreliance on objective tests to alternative forms of assessment that help students develop their talent (Eisner,
This essay will evaluate the similarities and differences between the theories proposed by Piaget and Vygotsky in children’s cognitive development. Piaget and Vygotsky agreed that children don’t just absorb experiences but actively construct their own knowledge of the world. Piaget regarded children’s cognitive development mainly in a biological perspective. He viewed children as dynamic human beings, who play an active role in exploring their own environment in order to build their understanding of the world; this theory is referred to as a constructivist approach in the field of cognitive development. On the other hand, Vygotsky took into account the social context, in which children belong to, by considering it a major influence in children’s cognitive development.