Theorist Research

Topics: Psychology, Developmental psychology, Behaviorism Pages: 8 (2560 words) Published: December 10, 2008
Running Head: Personal Learning Theory

Theorist Research and Personal Learning Theory Paper
Marta Montanez


This is a study to evaluate several behavioral and cognitive theories that educators today still apply in their classroom today with their students. It is important to know the base and reasoning behind these theories to understand how children learn and what factor affect or control their cognitive and social growth. This paper intends to expose the author’s preference theories applied in the classroom.

Children in the society grow physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially. Many theories have been formulated on how and why this happens. The theories were arranged into five categories to be easier analyzed: psychoanalytic theories, learning theories, humanistic theories, cognitive theories, and ethological theories. Theorist left established that learning is the act or process of knowing; this base definition left a common starting point from which the different theories are elaborated. Psychoanalytic Theory

This theory emphasizes the importance of early childhood experiences and unconscious motivations in influencing behavior. Freud felt that sexual urges and aggressive instincts and drives were the primary determinants of behavior. The individual, defined in this theory, was motivated by the pleasure principle, the desire to achieve maximum pleasure and to avoid pain. The conflict within the individual between these instinctual urges and societal expectations was the primary cause of emotional disturbances and illnesses. Social Cognitive and Learning theory

Mostly known by Bandura’s Theory. Social learning theorists accept the view of behaviorists that behavior is learned and development is influenced by the environment, but they reject the mechanistic view that altered behavior is a mindless response to stimuli. Social cognitive and learning theory emphasizes the role of both cognition and environmental influences in development. Learning theorists have contributed much to the understanding of human development. Their emphasis on the role of environmental influences in shaping behavior patterns has put the responsibility for creating positive environments for child development directly in the hands of parents, teachers, and other caregivers. The principles of social learning through modeling and reinforcement have also made adults very aware of the example that they set in teaching children and youth. In social learning, an expectation of reinforcement influences the learning of a behavior it precedes (Ormrod, 1999; Bandura, 1986). Humanistic Theory

The humanistic view states that humans are free agents with superior ability to use symbols and to think in abstract terms. The position of the Humanist is that a person has the capacity for self-awareness; that he does have control over his behavior. The Humanist allows that a person has freedom of choice, self-determination and is responsible for his self-direction. Immediately, we see a huge difference from the Behaviorist's point of view who believes that life (behavior) is very deterministic. Further, the Humanist's position, of free will, bases on the belief that these free will attributes can/do/should mature or "actuate" in an upward or "growing up" direction (metaphorically speaking), that this progression of personal growth, upon reaching an optimum level, results in maturity and a positive self-awareness, and therefor resulting in a complete and fulfilled life. Maslow, with the Humanism theory, which is described as the third force in modern psychology, rejected both the Freudian determinism of instincts and the environmental determinism of the learning theory. Humanists have a very positive, optimistic view of human nature. To Maslow, human beings major concern is to satisfy the basic needs for survival: food, water, and protection from harm. "Only when these needs are satisfied can we...

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