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Theories of child development


Theories of child development What is a Theory A theory is an explanation of why something happens that may not always be possible to prove. Theories about child ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Theories of child development

Theories of child development
What is a Theory
  • A theory is an explanation of why something
    happens that may not always be possible to prove.
  • Theories about child development differ

  • Attitudes and beliefs of the culture, and
    sub-culture and family units we come from
  • All these shape our image of the child, just as
    they shape the work of the major theorists
  • Our beliefs will influence what we might find
    useful from different theorists

Images of the child
  • Do view children as
  • Seekers of knowledge OR
  • Empty vessels for us to pour knowledge into?
  • Do you view babies as
  • People seeking relationships OR
  • People who need to be taught to relate

What has influenced the way you view children /
  • Our image of the child in our culture helps us to
    form these answers
  • It is important to be aware of the images we work
  • Re-examination of your view of the child keeps
    these images relevant and open to change
    throughout our professional careers

  • Do you value knowledge gained through group work
    more (or less) than knowledge gained alone?
  • Why????

Main groups of theories
  • Maturationist A Gessell, N Chomsky
  • Behaviourist B Skinner, J Watson, I Pavlov
  • Developmental Interactionists U Bronfenbrenner,
    J Piaget, L Vygostky

Which Theory?
  • In assessing theories ask yourself
  • How does this theory explain behaviour?
  • How does this theory help me to predict
  • How will this theory assist me in a practical

  • Throughout this unit you will study four main
  • Maslow
  • Piaget
  • Vygotsky
  • Erikson

  • Abraham Maslow developed a theory based on basic
  • He believed
  • that people generally have the same basic needs.
  • that in order to thrive and develop we need to
    meet these needs
  • that the need to grow and develop, to strive for
    improvement is within all of us

Jean Piaget Theory on Cognitive Development
  • Constructing Knowledge
  • Schemata
  • Assimilation
  • Accomodation
  • Concept development
  • Conservation

Piagets stages of cognitive development
  • Sensori-Motor (0-2 yrs) exploration using
    senses. Sensory play important (mouthing,
    sucking, banging, smelling and looking).
  • Pre-operational (2 7 yrs) language and
    imagination to extend thinking and understanding
    less egocentric

  • Concrete operational (7 - 11 yrs) develop
    skills of thinking logically in a variety of
    practical or concrete situations. More
    organised thought (Categories) Logical rather
    than abstract thinkers
  • Formal operational (11years) more abstract
    arguments and discussions. Broader issues of the
    world take a more important role.

Lev Vygostky Language and Cognition
  • What a child can do in co-operation today, he
    can do alone tomorrow. Vygotsky (1967)
  • Social Constructivist Theory
  • Heavier emphasis than Piaget on the importance
    of social interaction and language in growth of

  • Learning is a result of social contact and
    interaction with significant and familiar people
  • Emphasised the importance of gestures of the
    pre-linguistic child body movements show
    beginnings of symbolic thought
  • And importance of inner speech talking
    through a problem (self talk)

Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)
  • The ZPD is about "can do with help", not as a
    permanent state but as a stage towards being able
    to do something on your own. The key to
    "stretching" the learner is to know what is in
    that person's ZPDwhat comes next, for them.
  • Scaffolding adding knowledge and

Erik Erikson Psychosocial Theory
  • Focus on social and emotional development
  • Influenced by Freudian theory
  • He believed that
  • People generally have the same basic needs
  • Our personality develops and changes in response
    to these needs
  • Development proceeds in stages that match
    biological lifespan stages
  • Each stage is characterised by a crisis social
  • Motivation to meet these challenges will vary
    from stage to stage

Eriksons stages (8 stages in all only 4
outlined here)
  • 1 Trust vs Mistrust (infancy) will I trust
    the world? Infant develops primary then
    secondary attachments.
  • Infant begins to trust that basic needs will be
    met. Development of trust important to future
    relationships and emotional development.

  • 2 Autonomy vs shame and doubt (toddlerhood)
    can I do this by myself
  • Toddler seeks approval from adults. Improved
    self help skills requires support and guidance
    of carers in order for autonomy to develop.

3. Initiative vs Guilt (preschool years) Is what
I do and think OK? Child sometimes oversteps
limits experience guilt. Child is learning
social rules and consequences for breach of rules
4. Industry vs Inferiority (school age) Can I
master this skill ? Learning and using
pro-social skills and behaviour. More sure of
own abilities and become more independent. Peer
acceptance is important Feelings of inferiority
are common as child seeks acceptance and approval
self esteem lowers during middle childhood