2.3 – Explain how theories of development and frameworks to support development influence current practice. Cognitive
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) A Swish developmental psychologist
Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development focusses on how children acquire knowledge and learn. He believed that when a child and an adult are given the same logical question children gave less sophisticated answers, not because they were less competent than the adults but because children are born with an extremely simple mental structure which is the basis for the child’s knowledge and learning ability. He suggests that children go through four stages of intellectual growth: 0-2yrs - Sensorimotor, i.e. motor control and learning about objects, the child explores the environment around them using their senses; 2-7yrs - Preoperational, verbal skills development, the child understands the use of symbols and language; 7-11yrs - Concrete Operational, beginning to grasp abstract concepts, shows logical thinking; 12yrs to adulthood - Formal Operational, logical and systematic reasoning skills, is able to work through abstract problems. One of the basic components of Piaget’s theory is ‘Schemas’. Each schema is a building block of intelligent behaviour and a way of a child’s brain organising the knowledge they have gained. Children will develop new schemas as they learn and experience more to allow them to retain this knowledge, as well as modifying their existing schemas as new information about them emerges through additional knowledge. We can effectively plan the development of a child by taking his ideas of ‘schemas’ into practice and using Piaget’s stages we can assess where and how a child is currently learning. From assessment it becomes possible to plan activities to help them to develop onto the next stage. Psychoanalytical
Sigmund Freud (1856 1939) An Austrian neurologist
Freud believed that each stage of a child’s development directly related to specific needs and demands, each based on a particular body part and was rooted with a sexual base. Freud outlined these stages as oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. Each stage involves the satisfaction of a desire and can later play a role in the adult personality. Freud suggested that if a child does not successfully complete a stage, they could develop a fixation that would later influence adult personality and behaviour. According to Freud the mind can be split into two halves, the conscious (mental processes we are aware of) and the unconscious mind (mental processes we are unaware of), and has three separate aspects – the Id (the conscious mind), Ego and Superego (unconscious mind) which all need to be balanced to have good mental health. The Id is about basic needs and feelings, the pleasure principle. The Ego is the reality principle and the Superego is the moral part of the mind. Freud’s theories about unconscious actions can still be witnessed, for example when a child is caught hurting another child. The aggressor may deny it and tell a lie, but may start to cry because he knows what he has done is wrong, and that he has lied about it. Whilst Freud’s psychosexual theories do not fit well with today’s more scientific standards and are considered not to be very accurate, they have been influential because it was original thinking about human development, and many other theorists used his ideas as a starting point. He has also helped those working with children by understanding there is a link between our conscious and unconscious actions. Humanist
Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) An American psychologist
Abraham Maslow was a humanistic psychologist who is most famous for his ‘Hierarchy of Needs’, which is relevant to all ages, not just for children. The five-stage hierarchy of needs is often visually displayed as a pyramid with the largest most important needs at the bottom and the more advanced needs at the top We are born with basic needs for survival, food, water,...
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