To What Extent Do the “Grand Theories” Discussed in Chapter 2 Take Account of the Role of Social Experiences in Child Development?

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A Human beings environment plays a major role in the development and growth of their personality. It has been observed that not only the development of external aspects of personality but also the development of internal aspects of personality like thinking patterns and beliefs are influenced by the environment. However, different psychologists have different views regarding how child development occurs and what role social experiences play in a child’s development. This essay aims to understand the four grand theories and look at their relationship with child development. 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). As behaviourists believed that learning was “conditioned” by environmental events, they referred to the process of learning as “conditioning” (Oates, Sheehy and Wood, 2005). According to behaviourists, there are two types of conditioning and they are “classical conditioning” and “operant conditioning”. Classical conditioning refers to the reflex
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