The process of growth and knowledge acquisition in children is influenced by some developmental factors which include; internal factors like hereditary and maturity, external factors like environmental factors and language acquisition or a combination of both internal and external factors.
Psychologists have the different view of learning and developmental theories emanating from their comprehensive research. These theoretical approaches to growth and development touch on specific areas like cognition, moral growth, emotions, and personality among other many fields.
A brief exploration of learning and development theories
A psychologist gives significant research of the process of development in human through the application of developmental theoretical approaches in learning and events. With an excellent understanding of how people or children traverse from one step of development to the other and the behaviour attached to every stage, developmental and learning theories are developed.
Formally, there was an assumption that young ones where just but a smaller version of the adults but with a growth of different developmental theories the rise for children behaviour is turned to the factor that young ones differ from adults and should behave differently. To guide the growth and learning of children, different psychological theories need to be applied. These theories stand in the elucidation made below.
Psychoanalytic theories of learning and development
These theories focus on the ego and unconscious mind in education and develop and include;
1. Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual development theory
Freud focus on childhood events and experiences should face in their young ages. Sigmund holds sure that in the stages of development and learning should meet desire which failure to satisfy brings about fixations visible at their adult age.
The psychosexual theory has four essential stages of desire in which libido energy becomes concentrated in particular are in the body. These stages include oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital stages.
The part mentioned the point of desire when a child is in a specific stage. For example, in the genital phase, the child has a concern with envy with gender and is mostly concerned with the genital area. At the anal stage, children learn how to use the ablution rather than other means.
The child needs to be well trained at these stages to develop a responsible person in the future. Failure to resolve the libido at any stage results in future fixation.
Application of the theory
Makes parents realize the essence of recognizing unconscious motivation in children. The approach emphasizes the essence of childhood experience in modelling future adults. The approach acts as raw materials for parenting practices and psychosexual implications and at the same time providing the theoretical framework for solving the libido and desires at different stages.
2. Erickson’s psychosocial theory
With this theory, considerable focus is placed on the child’s social experience and how they shape growth and development.
Erickson believes that people do not stop growing and learning when they step into adulthood but continue to grow until the day of death.
Like the case of Sigmund, Erickson believes that people go through stages and identify the failure at one arena can lead to confusion in the whole life of an individual.
The stages begin at birth where children face trust and mistrust issues. In this stage, children are taught how to trust people around them and generally the mother. Other scenes include autonomy vs shame, initiative vs guilt, industry vs inferior, identity vs role confusion, and more additional stages.
Application of the theory
The theory will help teachers and parents to help children fulfil their expectations. It promotes industry among children through welcoming environment provision. Encourage parents and tutors to develop positive relationships with kids during adolescence to mentor them and also working as role models.
Cognitive learning and development theories
These are theories which place concern on how children go through changes throughout the childhood period. In this case, we will handle Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.
Jean Piaget’s theory of learning and cognitive development
In this theory, Piaget goes contrary to what people thought years back that childhood thoughts were similar to those of adults. He concludes that the way children think and perceive information is entirely different from what grownups think.
Jean lays an excellent focus on psychological ideas like egocentrism, accommodation, schema, and assimilation while building his theoretical approach to growth and development. His work is primarily done on four distinct phases showing changes learners go through ingrowth concerning how they think about themselves, the world, and the people around them.
In this case let us analyses the four stages of development Piaget handles in his work;
I. Sensorimotor –
The stage occurs below the age of two years. Learning is through perception through sense and motor interactions. In this stage, they understand objects and certain behaviours associated with their actions. For instance, they recognize that when they cry the mother will respond to them. They are able to find objects that fall off their site activity know n as schema.
II. Preoperational phase-
Occur between 2-7 years. Thoughts are characterized by irreversibility, centration, and egocentrism. The child in this stage is able to use words, images, and symbols to represent events or the world.
III. Concrete operational-
Occur at the beginning of seven years. Children turn away from egocentrism and gain the ability to focus on a simultaneous aspect of problem-solving. The children learn concrete knowledge in problem-solving and are in the ability to carry out addition and subtraction problems presented to them. They understand space cannot change between two similar and equal products. The stage expresses classical schema and conservation schema.
IV. Formal operational-
In this stage, children are at the adolescence stage and are logical in approaching a different problem. They are able to solve both abstract and hypothetical issues logically. The stage is used to test whether individuals have gain ability to think conceptually. The process transits to adulthood, unlike the other phases.
Application of the cognitive learning theory
The theory emphasizes the use of a learner-centred approach in learning and teaching. Concrete approaches to learning help teachers to look at real-life education like field studies. The method of problem solves, and assimilation lead teachers to handle content from known to specific. Help in knowledge construction by use of actual experiences in learning.
Social learning theories
These theories focus on the influence of peers, parents, caretakers, and other people socially influencing a child’s behaviour. These theories believe that children learn through observation of behaviour exposed by people around them.
Albert Bandura’s social learning theory
Bandura believes that child behaviour is copied from the surrounding personnel but also is driven by intrinsic reinforcements from the individual child. The fundamental forces influencing behaviour in children include the feeling of pride, satisfaction, and accomplishment.
Bandura beliefs learning has direct reinforcement associated with it but not just coping with social relations. A portion of behavioural and cognitive theories are combined with Bandura’s work to explain how social experience will influence learning and growth.
Bandura holds that learning does not pay concern to the observation of models alone but can also include the process of listening. This is through the model Bandura presents as teaching aid. This theory employs the use of visual help in learning to promote easy understanding.
Application of Bandura’s social learning theory
The following are the applications of this theory; Increase self-consciousness as the model for learners, Contributes to unhealthy behaviour in children like smoking, Encourage group participation in learning, and Encourages teachers to be good role models for their learners.
These are just but the little implications influenced by the social learning theory by Bandura but others like aided learning are still available. Bandura focuses on real-life teaching and learning implying that learning should be directly related to the real environmental features as children go through growth. People around the children should act as real examples to ensure positive values get transited to the children.
Today, there are more and more theories of learning coming up stemming from the main ones, and all these theories try to point out to the essence and benefit of good learning and development in children. Theories like Moscow’s hierarchy of needs explain specific needs children will need as they develop.
This paper has actually conceptualized on the fundamental theoretical approaches like psychosocial, psychoanalytic, social learning, and cognitive development as basic approaches to learning and development of children. The different theoretical approaches will help us healthily raise children by applying respective measures for each phase of development.
Fieldman, R.S. ( 1996) Understanding Psychology (4th edition). Boston: Mc Graw-Hill Companies.
Goff, D.R. (2000). Understanding Human Behaviour. Tennessee: Lee University