* FACTORS THAT DETERMINE DEVELOPMENT (NATURE/NURTURE)
Child development has many theories with different ideas about what children are like and how they change. Children are beings who change physically, cognitively emotionally and socially. There are many different theories and they all take a stand on 3 basic issues: Is the course of development continuous or discontinuous? Does one coarse of development characterise all children or are there many possible courses? Are genetic or environmental factors more important in influencing behaviour – nature versus nurture controversy?
In this essay I am going to discuss the ideas of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory and The Information Processing approach regarding these three aspects
Focus and views of Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory and The Information Processing Approach Vygotsky’s social theory focuses on how culture (values, beliefs, customs and skills of a social group) is transmitted to the next generation. According to Vygotsky, social interaction (especially co-operative dialogues between children and more knowledgeable members of society) is necessary for children to acquire the ways of thinking and behaving that make up a community’s culture.
Information processing views the mind as a complex symbol manipulation system, much like a computer. This approach helps researchers understand exactly what children of different ages do when faced with tasks and problems. Information processing has led to teaching interventions that help children approach tasks in more advanced ways.
The course of development
1. Continuous or Discontinuous
According to Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory development takes place both continuous and discontinuous. Certain characteristics like language acquisition and schooling leads to stage wise changes for example as they acquire language they gain in ability to participate in dialogues with other and mastery of culturally valued competencies surges forward. When children enter school, they spend much time discussing language, literacy, and other academic concepts – experience that encourage them to reflect on their own thinking. As a result, they gain dramatically in reasoning and problem solving. At the same time Vygotsky argues that dialogues with more expert members of society also lead to continuous changes in cognition that vary from culture to culture.
Information processing theorists again believe that development is a smooth continuous process and that children gradually improve in perception, attention, memory and problem solving skills. Processes studied like for example perception, attention, memory and comprehension of written and spoken prose are regarded as similar at all ages but present to a lesser and greater extend. This is illustrated in tasks given by Robert Kail to a group of 7-22 year olds – a mental addition task and a visual search task. In all tests, processing time tasks decreased with age.
2. One or many
Cross-cultural research found that different cultures select different tasks for children’s learning and social interaction surrounding these tasks differ. This leads to the development of culturally unique strengths that is essential for success in that culture which explains the wide cultural variation in cognitive competencies. Therefore, he believes that there are many possible courses of development. On the other hand, research done by information processing theorist (tasks given by to a group of 7-22 year olds mentioned earlier) on processing speed illustrates that with age...