Research the following theorists and explain how their theories influence the way that we work with children, Freud, Skinner & Watson, Maslow, Bandura and Piaget. Explain how frameworks to support development can be used to influence current practice.
Freud was an early writer about child development and went against the thinking of his time, in differentiating between the way that children and adults think, as many thought that children were empty vessels waiting to be filled up. Freud describes child development as a series of psychosexual stages whereby the pleasure seeking ID becomes focused on certain erogenous zones and this psychosexual energy or libido is the sole force behind human behaviour. He examines how if at any stage this desire is not satisfied or resolved problems may occur such as an individual who is fixated at the oral stage may be very dependant and clingy to others and may continue to seek oral stimulation through eating, drinking or smoking. Although Freud does not at any time tackle the subject of learning directly his theories had a substantial influence on education at the time placing emphasis on the role of the family and home as part of the way that a child develops. He believes that the child is defined by its relationships even in the womb and contemporaries even went so far as to blame autism on mothers who did not bond with their children. Freud saw a battle going on between the child’s unconscious desires and the need to fit into and succeed in society. He proposes that everything we do is to either help us survive or to prevent our own destruction. Therefore going to school would be linked to our unconscious desires to learn life skills in order to acquire wealth to be able to build a home, attract a wife etc to ensure our survival. “Freud assigns to education the task of seeking to manage, within a state of equilibrium acceptable to everyone, the sacrifices and rewards that reality imposes upon the immediacy of pleasure.” Psychoanalytic theory rejects any genetic factors and ignores any other motivations for behaviour however its main influence has been in placing a necessary focus on the strong influence that a child’s family life has on a child’s development. At the same time as Freud was writing there was a great desire to explain behaviour in a more scientific way with tangible and observable concepts. J B Watson in an attempt to scientifically understand our behaviour is said to have coined the term “Behaviorism” and is seen by many as the founder of this influential movement.
“Learning is based upon a fundamentally utilitarian view of the relationship between organisms and their environment. All organisms seek pleasure, and avoid pain. Behaviours that result in pleasure become positively reinforced — that is to say that the organism becomes more likely to repeat them. Behaviours that result in pain are negatively reinforced — the organism will tend to avoid them in the future, under these circumstances, learning is conceived to be conceived as a process of conditioning” J B Watson believed that negative behaviours could be extinguished by say the pinging of an elastic band on a pupils wrist but did not investigate further into findings that Punishment can also be viewed as reward .A study by Estes showed rats would continue to press a lever even after this action stopped producing food and instead produced an electric shock. The rats whose lever simply stopped providing food, learnt quicker not to continue pressing it. “Applying a negative stimulus such as shouting at a child can act as a positive reinforcer when, as happens, not infrequently the child’s naughty behaviour is strengthened.” Whilst this was an experiment conducted on rats, the effect of punishment in a classroom environment is generally viewed as not being effective primarily for two reasons; Firstly a pupil whose home environment is filled with only punishment as a form of attention...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document