SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT INFLUENCE CURRENT PRACTICE.
Theories of development offer insights into the forces guiding childhood growth and what can affect them. Each offers insight but each has limitations, which is why developmental scientists use more than one theory to guide their thinking about the growth of children. Current practice is based on many years of knowledge and experience. This helps us to understand children learning, development and behavior. Research is ongoing and new information becomes available all the time. This means it is important that we keep our knowledge up to date and use new ideas in practice. Research into child development is an ongoing process. It is continuously influenced by new ideas which are based on established theory. Some of psychology’s best known theorists have developed theories to help explore and explain different aspects of child development. Today we can draw on a variety of theories and perspectives in order to understand how children grow, behave and think. There have been several theorists who have given many different theories that we know and use today. These theories try to explain how children develop and at what rate or pattern. This gives us a framework for understanding the process of development. Working with just one framework could stop us from exploring other views, so it is important that we look at and learn from theories from several different areas -
* Cognitive theories focus on internal states such as motivation, problem solving, decision making and attention. * Social learning theories focus on how children learn and acquire new knowledge. * Behavioural theories, also known as behaviourism are theories based upon the idea that all behaviours are acquired through conditioning. Today behavioural techniques are used in therapeutic settings to help children learn new skills and behaviours. * Psychoanalytical theorists believe that childhood experiences and unconscious desires influence behavior. * Attachment theories focus on the importance of early years attachments between babies and their caregivers. * Humanist theories emphasize the basic goodness of human beings.
Primary child development theorists and their theories include –
Influences on current practice –
Importance of hands on play and active learning
Importance of adults scaffolding children’s learning
Importance of asking open ended questions
Lev Vygotsky (1896 – 1934)
Main theory – development is primarily driven by language, social context and adult guidance. Vygotsky was a Russian theorist who died prematurely.
He developed ideas on cognitive development whilst at the Institute of Psychology in Moscow (1924 – 1934). He focused on the relationship between language and thinking. His writings emphasised the role of historic, cultural and social factors in cognition and argued that language was very important. He suggested that children are born sociable and that adults play an extremely important role in extending children’s learning and to achieve their full potential. This is known as their Zone of Proximal Development.
The Reggio Emille approach interpreted the zone of proximal theory as the idea of learning and operates the theory in nurseries throughout Europe. The teachers take on the role of the child’s learning partner and offer strategires to help solve problems.
Robert M Gagne (1916 – 2002)
Main theory - different types of learning exist and that different instructional conditions are most likely to bring about these different types of learning. Gagne was an American educational psychologist best known for his ‘conditions of learning’ theory. He believed there are eight ways to learn -
1. Signal Learning: A general response to a signal. Like a dog responding to a command. 2. Stimulus-Response Learning: A precise response to a distinct stimulus. 3....