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Child develpoment - Essay Example

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Theories of Child Development: Building Blocks of Developmentally Appropriate Practice Introduction Child development an area of study is concerned about how children change with respect to their emotional, cognitive, physical and social growth and how these changes are subject to both genetic and environmental influences (May, 2011)…
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Child develpoment
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Download file to see previous pages In this context, child development is, therefore, not so much about teaching voluminous chunks of knowledge during the formative years or the so-called foundational stage. Rather, child development is about the methodical approach or the “how” in which such knowledge is taught to very young children to guide them through their natural and inherent development. This paper discusses four of the primary theories of child development as building blocks of developmentally appropriate knowledge based on the exposition of Swim (2008) in one of this week’s readings. Biological maturation theory This theory was proposed mainly by Gesell during the 1940s to describe a systematic manifestation of the physical and psychological development generally expected among children from the perspective that all children experience the same phases of development grounded on the natural maturation of their brain and body. The theory disregards influences from culture or individual differences (Levine and Munsch, 2011). As a child educator / paraprofessional, I do find enough utility in this theory because I observed that it places more weight on maturation rather than on learning. This observation was corroborated by Danielson (2007) whose main criticism of the biological maturation theory was that there is “too much emphasis on maturation and not enough on learning” (para. 41) Behaviorist theory The behaviorist theory focuses on what may be directly observed in the absence of a precise method of knowing what happens in an individual’s mind. Butts and Rich (2011) outlined that stimulus conditions both in the environment and the person’s behavior, as well as responses to such conditions are the only variables which can be observed in any learning situation. Additionally, Swim (2008) reported that this theory molds learning with the provision of rewards and punishment. Unlike the biological maturation theory, there are apparent uses of the behaviorist theory in teaching young children. It may be recalled that behaviorism supports the position “what is learned can be unlearned by modifying stimulus conditions in the environment or changing the response to stimuli” (Butts & Rich, 2011, p. 206). This area of behaviorism will be very helpful in teaching young children in breaking bad habits developed during their earlier years. However, I do not believe that banking on behaviorism alone will significantly facilitate the development of appropriate practice in child development. From experience, the behaviorist system of rewards and punishment does not leave any room for abstract thinking since it is categorized under the passive mode. Consequently, even if recent development in this area now classifies behaviorism in education as a reactive approach as indicated in Duczeminski (2009), learning still tends to be forced-fed to children rather than the children being given leeway to understand knowledge by the explanations they retrieve from their interaction with the environment or from their own observation. My opinion is that proactive is best for children in the knowledge society. Cognitive development theory Under this model of child development, learning is centered on “perceptions, thinking, reasoning, memory, development changes, and processing of information that transpires within the learner” (as cited in Butts & Rich, 2011, p. 213). Swim (2008) describes this learning approach as one in which ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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