Theories on How Children Develop and Learn

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THEORIES ON HOW CHILDREN DEVELOP AND LEARN
cognitive / constructivist
Jean Piaget – he believed that we take in information and that our brains process it and as a result of this our behaviour changes. He felt that children move through different stages in their development and that adults play an important role as they support children through different stages of development. He believed that children learn through process of adapting and understanding known as: Assimilation – taking in new information from the environment through doing everyday actions (crawling, touching, rolling…) Accommodation – changing existing patterns of actions to accommodate new information (avoid crawling into the wall as it hurts) Equilibration – balancing what they already know with new experience to make sense of the world (I can crawl on this; it is nice soft and warm. I can crawl over there too – but it is not so nice it is slippery and cold.) He grouped children’s cognitive development into four stages: 0 -2 years – Sensori-motor – children have basic reflexes and they learn through senses and movement. The infant will develop schema linked to grasping, shaking and hitting. 2 – 7 years – Pre-operational – the children begin to develop symbolic play experiences. Their language and literacy skills develop quickly during this period. The children are egocentric; they mainly see things from their point of view and have difficulties putting themselves into someone else’s position. 7 – 12 years – Concrete operational – they are developing more structured and logical thought. Towards the end of this period they begin to understand abstract ideas. 12 + years – Formal operational – young people can think about ideas situations have not experienced. They can juggle with ideas in their minds. Piaget's theory of moral understanding was formulated using similar research methods to his Cognitive Development. He used a clinical interview approach, asking children to explain how they were playing games and telling stories. In his research he looked at how children develop moral reasoning. He found out that young children have a much more primitive understanding of right and wrong behaviour than do older children. He suggested that children’s moral development was a three-stage process: 0 – 4 years – Pre-moral judgement - children do not understand the concept of rules and have no idea of morality, internal or external. They learn about right and wrong through their own actions. 4 – 7 years – Moral realism – children’s moral development is influenced by the adults in their lives. Their judgement depends on what they think the adult’s expectations are. In this stage they understand the concept of rules, but they are seen as external and permanent. Children obey rules mainly because they are there. 8 – 11 years – Moral relativism – children recognise that rules are not fixed, but can be changed. By 11 years they have developed a concept of fairness. They understand that treating people in exactly same way may not result in fairness. Also during this stage the children develop a firm concept of the necessity that punishment specifically fits the crime. Piaget's theory of moral development is not as well-known as his theory of cognitive development, but it was a great influence on Kohlberg's theory, which has become one of the most important. psychoanalytical

Sigmund Freud - he suggested that there were three parts that made up our personality: the ‘id’, the ‘ego’ and the ‘superego’. Not all of these parts are present at birth but develop with the child. The Id – this is the instinctive part of our personality, influenced by drives and needs of the body such as hunger, pleasure etc. The id does not consider how meeting our desires and wants will affect others. Freud suggested that babies have the id only when they are born, hence baby will cry and cry until it is fed, regardless of how tired the carer is. The Ego – works out how to meets...
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