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Explaining Childhood Shyness Using the Three Poles of Learning - Essay Example

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Shyness in children is a common phenomenon. Most children exhibit some level of shyness at one point or the other. Shyness can be described as the social psychological feeling of lack of comfort or apprehension that a person experiences when being approached by or in the presence of other people…
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Explaining Childhood Shyness Using the Three Poles of Learning
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Download file to see previous pages Shyness is a behavioural problem not well understood by many people. Being shy is not something that many children enjoy. Although it is a part of the normal development of a child, it can negatively impact on the child in more ways than one. Children who have extreme shyness also normally have low self esteem. They have fewer friends than their counterparts who are not as shy. Since they are normally to shy to participate in the activities that other children are involved in, shy children may develop loneliness and anxiety problems later in life. In most cases, this shyness normally disappears as children grow older. Psychologists have studied shyness in children and tried to put it into perspective in relation to child development models. There are many psychological perspectives that can be used to explain the shyness behaviour in children. For this paper, I will dwell on the three poles of learning to examine and explain childhood shyness. These three poles are: the nativist approach, the associationist and the constructionist perspectives.
Nativist approach The Nativist perspective explains a child’s behaviour as being an innate, or inborn (Damon and Lerner, 2006). This means that the characteristics of behaviour are present as a result of having them genetically imprinted in an individual’s biological makeup. In the case of shyness, the nativist explanation for this behaviour is that it is natural for children to present some level of shyness at some point in their lives. Noam Chomsky is one of the psychologists who advocated for nativism. Going by his arguments, it can be said that shyness is a human characteristic whose origins can be traced to the structures of the brain ((Damon and Lerner, 2006, p84). There are genetic factors which set the stage for individual behaviour, including how they interact with other people. Chomsky’s social cognitive theory points out that the manner in which children are taught to respond while in the presence of other people is vital in shaping their interpersonal skills. Gesell is another proponent of nativism. His development theory emphasises that development is genetically determined by uniform maturation patterns whose sequential occurrence is predictable (Damon and Lerner, 2006, 86). If the level of shyness in individual children is innate, then it means that nothing much can be done to change the shyness behaviour in children (Crozier, 2000). There is a problem in this perspective since it is well known that many children do overcome shyness after some time. Shyness as an innate characteristic is not feasible because there are many children who never exhibit feeling of being uncomfortable when in the presence of other people. This perspective seems to be implying that shyness is a behaviour that can be inherited genetically, rather than through learning. The associationist perspective The associationist perspective holds that the behaviour of an individual is as a result of a conditioned response (Damon and Lerner, 2006). In this case, the child’s shyness can be said to be the result of conditioned behaviour. This is to say that the child is shy because he has been trained or conditioned to be shy while under certain circumstances. This perspective argues that the way a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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