Developmental Theories Piaget Erikson and Bandura

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Child development is the process of change and stability in children from conception through adolescences (Papalia, Olds & Feldman, 2008). Throughout history child development was not looked at as a priority and little attention was paid to the many advances in cognitive abilities, physical growth, and language use. Children were viewed as miniature adults and also considered a burden. Children were treated like adults, such as their responsibility of work, marriage, monarchy, and even their style of dress. By the end of the 19th century, many advances in the western world paved the way for the scientific study of child development (Papalia, Olds & Feldman, 2008). Child and adolescent development is a combination of complex mechanisms and systems, all of which take place in the greater world environment. Each theorist has a different perspective on development, and yet, they all agree that the one thing that affects development most is the external, societal environment. Of the five major perspectives I chose to compare and contrast the theories of Piaget, Erikson, and Bandura, to explain why the understanding of normal child and adolescent development is important in assisting children to reach their full potential. During the first year and a half of a child’s life, the infant grows at a very rapid rate. The infant develops physically, emotionally, mentally, and even socially. The physical development refers to the infants increasing ability to utilize various body parts. For example, the infant learns to utilize their hands for picking up objects. Motor skills and development refers to the child’s ability to control movement. For example, the child is able to use their motor skills to get from point “A” to point “B”. Brain development is a crucial process that helps a child respond more to sight and sound, which helps prepare them for further development. These developmental processes work together to ensure that a child is able to reach their full potential. In order for researchers and scientists to explain these developments, several theories of child and adolescent development have been created. Of the five major perspectives, the child development theories of Piaget, Erickson, and Bandura, have helped explain why the understanding of normal child and adolescent development is an important part of a child’s overall performance. Each of these theories suggests that children develop in a similar way, yet each stresses that different parts of development are of primary importance. The cognitive-stage theory of Jean Piaget has provided a great deal of explanation to the study of child and adolescent development. Piaget, a biologist and philosopher by training, suggested that children’s cognitive development advances in a series of four stages involving qualitatively distinct types of mental operations (Papalia, Olds & Feldman, 2008). Piaget studied cognitive development by observing and talking with children including his own. The four stages of Piaget’s theory include the sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete, and formal operations stage. The sensorimotor stage occurs between birth and two years of age. In this stage the infant creates an understanding of themselves along with an understanding of how things work around them. The infant does this through interactions with the environment. The infant learns through assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation allows the infant to absorb new information and then incorporate it into existing cognitive structures (Papalia, Olds & Feldman, 2008). For example, an infant that knows how to grab a favorite toy and put it in their mouth may use the process of assimilation for another object they see such as car keys. By doing so the infant has assimilated a new object with an old schema. Accommodation allows the infant to modify their cognitive structures to include the new information (Papalia, Olds & Feldman, 2008). For example, an infant sees a new object to grab, such as a...
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