“Critically examine the work of three selected authors from the readings in the Resource Booklet in relation to how children develop and learn and how teachers and other adults impact upon this process. Reflect upon the impact the knowledge gained from this reading has had on your own developing understanding of your role as a teacher.”
I have been asked to critically examine and discuss the work of three selected authors and to compare and contrast their views. I will link this theory to my experience of working with children, and give my own views and how this has developed my understanding in my role as a trainee teacher.
The readings I have chosen to discuss and compare are: An Introduction to Children’s Learning (Ray Potter), The Significance of Young Children’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development (Dowling M) and How Children Learn (Curtis A, O’Hagan M).
Potter discusses how behaviourism and cognitive development are the two most widely regarded theories in the approaches to learning and how these theories have implications for teaching. ‘Behaviourism is a theory of learning focusing on observable behaviours and discounting any mental activity.’ (Pritchard 2008:6).
He discusses several theorists and how their theories help children learn, and how teachers manage learning more effectively in the classroom. He talks about behaviourism and how children learn from life experiences. ‘Behaviourist claims that we are what we are, not because of innate intelligence or genetic factors, but solely due to our life experiences’. Potter (cited in Jacques et al 2004:63). Skinner, a pioneer in behaviourism, believed that behaviour could be controlled through ‘conditioning’, the act of rewarding desired behaviour (positive reinforcement) and ignoring undesired behaviour (negative reinforcement). Many of Skinner’s theories branch from his animal experiments, whereby he would reward with food and punish when saw unacceptable