Childhood vs Adult Learning

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Childhood Versus Adulthood Learning
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Tricia Barnes
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COM/156
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January 19, 2012
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John Likides

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There is no question about it, children and adults learn in different ways. The argument can be made about which one is better, and they are numerous schools of thought on the theories for each, but the bottom line is that there is a clear variation between how a child learns and how an adult learns. There is a vast importance for learning at both the childhood and adulthood levels. As a child, one must learn on more of a basic, survival mindset in order to overcome the challenges that are present in the first few years. Although, as an adult, the skills and cognitive abilities that were discovered as a child must be expanded and improved in order to meet the tasks appropriate for each growing age level. As a child, becoming familiar with different facts and ideas sets the groundwork for the knowledge that we hope to achieve as an adult. By establishing a good foundation, the process for learning as an adult can be adapted and improved upon to meet the progressing needs. The four main childhood learning theories are Maturationism, Environmentalism, Constructivist, and Stage-based Teaching. The four main adulthood learning theories are Life Experiences, Speck’s theory, Andragogy theory, and Jarvis’s learning process. Each one of these theories attempts to exemplify the processes and skill sets that each deems important to the learning process. One of the pertinent childhood learning theories, Maturationism, deals with the idea that the process by which we learn for the first couple of years is based on markers in our DNA (Hunt, 1969). Most people in this school of thought believe that education and environmental factors merely plays a supportive role to child development, while certain instincts imbedded in our genes actually govern around what age we learn thing like how to talk or walk. These factors can be manipulated and intensified by outside factors, but the main governing fact behind early childhood development is based around a Darwin like evolutionary instinct. Many advocates of Maturationism believe that holding a child back or starting a child a year late for school may be more beneficial in the long run, because they child is not at the proper developmental maturity to be able to handle that level of information, exemplifying the idea that a mind can only handle the information that it is developed to receive (DeCos, 1997). Environmentalism is another theory at the forefront of child development. Environmentalism is in fact the contrast to Maturationism theory in that it supports the idea that a child’s development and learning is shaped by their environment and outside factors. The environmentalist theory enforces the idea of recitation and repeating, according to this theory, this is how children learn. By incorporating the outside experiences and storing them, they are able to build upon those ideas and improve upon them to learn (Skinner, 1938). It is deemed essential, and if a child is deprived of these factors, will not be as well educated or able to cope with higher learning as well as a child that was introduced to this Some argue that this is why children who come from enriched lifestyles are less likely to succeed in school as those who prepare better in infancy and young ages. Another key theory is that of Constructivistism. This theory provides that children are active learners in their...
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