Theoretical Approaches to Child Behaivour

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Behaviourist approach
This approach refers to behaviour being mainly influenced by the environment also by reinforcing rewards for positive behaviour and punishments for negative behaviour. B.F. Skinner investigated Operant Conditioning of voluntary and involuntary behaviour. He explained that behaviour occurs for a reason, and the three main behaviour shaping techniques are positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement and punishment. Behaviourism has been criticised in the way it under-estimates the complexity of human behaviour. Many studies used animals which are hard to generalise to humans and it cannot explain for example the speed in which we pick up language. There must be biological factors involved. At placement I have seen this approach to discipline as when a child does something positive and good the class teacher will give the children a sticker or a merit point. However if the child does something naughty they will get a ‘yellow card’ which is a warning if a child gets this card the child will lose their golden time on a Friday, if the child then is consistently naughty then they will have a red card where they get sent to the head teacher.

The humanistic theory
The humanistic theory assumes that everyone has their own way of perceiving things and understanding the world. This behaviour theory disagrees with the behaviourist theory and psychodynamic theory. The humanistic theory refers to everyone of being capable of self-determinism; also known as free will and the choice we make in life, the paths we go down and their consequences. Humanist psychologist include Maslow and carl rogers. Maslow believed that each individual is unique and so you look at the person’s subjective view of the world rather than reality.

The developmental and cognitive theory
These two theories focus to the fact that children’s behaviour is mainly developed through the brain and mental processes. Developmental and cognitive theorist believe that the brain...
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