Describe How Children Learn, with Reference to Major Theories

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Children’s learning and developmental theories

How children learn is very important in child care and in understanding how a child is to development. As children who are deprived of stimulation in early years develop slower, this statement opens up a massive debate which has been unanswered for years, the nature v nurture debate. There are 3 models of learning that cover all this debate and strive to be the correct theory they are the transmission model, the laissez-faire model and the constructivist view. How children learn

Firstly we must look at the different ways in which children learn. There are firsthand experiences, children need to experience and understand things, you can tell a child what snow is yet they won’t understand till they experience snow for themselves. Children also learn through play, play is a massive factor in a child’s learning, ‘Play that is self-initiated and free-flowing can produce deep and meaningful learning’ (Squire pg 257) Play also helps language development through processes like role play and poetry and rhymes, its helps language as it makes it easier. Solitary play last up till a child is around 2, talking with toys and making up stories is an example of how important play can be to learning. ‘Children are active learners’ (squire pg257) Children learn at their best when they are actively involved with activities and tasks. Children are initiated by their desire to find out for themselves, this natural curiosity can lead to gross motor development like running, climbing ect, which promotes spatial awareness. Children should be encouraged to explore within safety what they desire as the outcome is beneficial to the child. Using language is another way of learning. Early years settings try to promote language and literacy through play, role play, poems, painting, and many other ways. Engaging children in conversation can build their confidence and encouraging new vocabulary will promote the development of their language and overall learning. Children will learn better in stimulating environments. Display boards and stimulating toys can encourage a child to learn and want to learn, children who lack stimulation don’t learn or their development is delayed. Also security is another important environmental factor that encourages children to learn, security encourages a child to feel safe and are therefore more likely to explore and learn actively. Adults should provide children with meaningful activities, ones that push their development and learning. Although it must be in the child’s ability as if they find a task to hard they can give up and find a distain for that subject. Motivation and interest is vital in all areas of learning with a child. The transmission model

The transmission model is a very structured model and focuses on the nurture side of the debate. It involves adults deciding what the child should learn and plan according to that. This model was build under the ideas of John Locke and philosopher (1632-1704) He believed children were born a blank slate which adults are to mould and teach. He focuses little on nature and genetic make up and solely focuses on the blank slate theory. This style of learning if in a classroom situation would be very passive as the adult is in charge. In placement all activities and learning is designed by the teacher and taught in the teacher’s style. His theory has been supported by psychologist Pavlov and Skinner. Pavlov came up with a process called classical conditioning, He taught dogs to salivate to a bell as they associated it with food, even when no food was given. Further on the conditioning theory is the work of Skinner (1904-1990) His theory is called operant conditioning and works on a reinforcement process, He purposed that ‘operant conditioning through rewards and punishment, was fundamental in human development as adults, normal and disordered behaviours are shaped by years of conditioning.’ (green 2008) Skinners research...
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