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How Theories of Development Influence Current Practice

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Psychoanalytical Theories of Development

A lot of theories exist in the world. All of them have a huge impact on definite sides of life. Now, we’re going to talk about psychological theories and their influence. Let’s find out some main definitions to make the essay easier for understanding.

The superego usually develops in childhood. It is known as the control part of our personality because it tries to control the ego. It is made up of two different parts; the “conscience” and the “ego-ideal.” The conscience punishes the ego if it misbehaves, which is our source of guilt, whereas the ego-ideal will reward the ego when it behaves well, which is our source of confidence and pride.

Famous psychologist Jean Piaget believed that the way children think and learn is governed by their age and stage of development because learning is based on experiences which they build up as they get older. As children’s experiences change, they adapt what they believe; for example, a child who only ever sees yellow grapes will believe that all grapes are yellow. Another suggestion Piaget made was that as a child develops, he does his thinking, and he grouped children’s cognitive development into five stages.

But let’s talk about social pedagogy. Social pedagogy is a humanistic framework to support development. It refers to a holistic approach to the needs of the child through health, school, family and spiritual life, leisure activities and the community. Through social pedagogy, the child is central through their involvement and interaction with the wider world.

Abraham Maslow looked at people’s motivation in the 1940s and suggested that people had certain fundamental needs. These needs had to be met before a person could achieve “self-actualization.” If these needs are not met, a disadvantage would be created in the person.

His basic needs were made in a hierarchy of needs, where all needs have to be met for self-actualization to be achieved.

Turning Back to Piaget’s stages:

1. Observational Learning

Albert Bandura suggested that we learn by observing others. This is also known as “observation learning.” Observational learning is an interesting theory and most early years workers will have observed a child copying another child or adults behavior. One of the features of observational learning is that it is not planned, it is spontaneous, and children usually learn by imitation more than when someone teaches or shows them. It is also different from conditioning as it can occur without reinforcement.

2. Social Learning

The behaviorist approach for learning suggests that learning is influenced by punishments, rewards, and environmental factors. Behaviorists use the word “conditioning,” which means that we learn to act a certain way because of what past experiences have taught us to do, or not to do. This is also known as “learning by association.”

3. Classical Conditioning

The most famous psychologists in this type of theories are Ivan Pavlov and John Watson. Ivan Pavlov worked with dogs and noticed that while studying the dogs, they would always start to salivate before food was given to them. He came up with an experiment where he fed the dogs while ringing a bell. The dogs would then associate the bells with food and would begin to salivate when they heard the bells ringing.
John Watson took over Pavlov’s work and discovered that children and adults could also be classically conditioned. He founded the theory of behaviorism. This theory is based on the idea that learning is a function of the change in overt behavior. Changes in behavior are the result of an individual’s response to events that occur in the environment.

4. Reinforcement

It is the key to Skinner’s theory; a reinforce is something that strengthens the desired response. People will make their own decisions based on the consequences of their behavior.

5. Operant Conditioning

There have been some theories of development, and many of them will influence the way in which we approach our work with children.
Some psychologists feel that a child’s ability to learn is innate and others that it depends on the opportunities that they are given. This is called the “nature versus nurture” debate.

Other Famous Theories About Human Behavior

We cannot keep silent about famous psychologist Sigmund Freud. He was the one who stated that our personalities are made up of three parts: the “id,” the “ego” and the “superego,” which will be developed as the child develops.
This is the instinctive part of our personality. Freud suggested that babies have the “id” at birth as they will cry until they are fed, no matter how tired their primary nurse may be or whether or not there are other babies around them who also need feeding.
The “ego” is the part that works out how the “id’s” needs and desires can be met in the best way. Babies develop the “ego” from the “id” in their premiere few months of life; for example, they might learn that if they smile in some situations, they are more likely to have their needs met, whereas others will cry to have their needs met. In some situations, the “ego” might make the “id” wait for its needs to be met, for example, if a child snatches a cake from a tray they might have it taken away from them, whereas if they wait for a cake, they might get offered one and eventually get one.
Also, he described children’s periods of growing up putting it into frameworks.

Sensory-motor period
(age 0-2) – Development of permanence and child begins to use symbols (i.e., language).

Pre-operational period
(age 2-7) – The child uses symbols in play and thought, egocentrism, centration, animism, and inability to conserve.

Concrete operational period
(age 7-11) – Ability to conserve, the child can begin to solve problems mentally using practical supports, i.e., counters and objects.

Formal operational period
(age 11-15) – Young people think about experiences that haven’t met, and they juggle ideas in their minds.

And the last but not least is the attachment theory. The evolutionary theory of attachment (e.g., Bowlby, Harlow, and Lorenz) suggests that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others because this will help them survive. This theory also suggests that there is a critical period for developing an attachment (about 0 -5 years). If an attachment has not developed during this period, then the child will suffer from irreversible developmental consequences, such as reduced intelligence and increased aggression. Imprinting in animals is thought to be to same instinctive behavior.

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