Theoretical learning and development of a child. It

Theoretical perspectives in the relation to:

·         Cognitive development

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·         Speech, language an communication development

·         Physical development

·         Social and emotional development

Cognitive development:

Vygotsky was a theorist, someone who comes up with ideas about how things work. Vygotsky’s main work was in developmental psychology and he believed that cognitive development relied on the interaction with other people in order to progress.

Vygotsky believed that there was a gap between what a child can successfully do independently and what they could do if they had help from another person, who had more knowledge of how to do things; such as tie up shoe laces which would take them into the zone where learning occurred, he called this the zone of proximal development. “Vygotsky suggests that the child is most likely to learn new things and mature cognitively if the adult is sensitive to the Childs abilities and limitation.”(Open Learning Initiative, 2018) this implies that supporting children with a task that they are not able to achieve on their own with a significant others can help them to meet their capabilities as long as they are caring and patient with the child.

Vygotsky believed that language and social contact was important to help build cognitive development. He emphasised the importance of socialising and social play and that play along with imagination were also important for learning and development of a child. It is crucial for children and adults to talk to one and others to help children build their knowledge.

Vygotsky believed that children under seven needed play as he thought it was important for them as it allows them to do things that they might have to do in the future; such as dress up, this encourages them to think about what they want to be when they grow up.

Vygotsky’s theory was based on social interaction; I believe that it is important for children to socialize as they can communicate with one and other to help build their cognitive development which is exactly what Vygotsky believed in. However I also believe that children can successfully learn skills on their own and have the parent or carer intervene in the activity either when the child asks or initiates that they need help.  

Speech, language and communication:

Bruner another theorist who is a social constructivist believed that speech, language and communication is a innate process but it doesn’t fully explain human ability for speech. He believed that children learn language though being spoken to during bed time and other times that people communicated with them. However he also believed children learnt through doing, imagining things and symbolic codes. Altough Bruner like Vygotsky emphasised the importance of social interaction in the learning of language and that if children where spoken to they would eventually pick up the language.

Bruner believed that there were 3 modes of representation:

·         Enactive (0-1)

·         Ionic (1-6

·         Symbolic (7+)

These 3 modes of representation are the ways information or knowledge was stored or encoded in memory of children. Enactive involves information that is only movement based, for example if a child remembers the action for eating and chewing on things from their muscle memory. Ionic which means information is stored in images in their head/minds. Symbolic where children can communicate through codes or language through information that they have stored.

Bruner also invented the term “scaffolding” to help understand how children learn. “Bruner believed that when children start to learn new concepts, they need help from teachers and other adults in the form of active support.” (Teach Thought, 2018) I believe that what Bruner said is true and that children do need support from other people because if they didn’t have help they wouldn’t be able to learn as quick. They would learn quicker with help from others as they would have support. After given help children with then be able to understand what they are doing and will be able to do it independently. “Scaffolding” can be anything that a practitioners has bought into the environment of children to help them learn new skills. Teachers should always provide opportunists for children to learn new things.

Physical development:

Gesell a theorist in physical development of a child discovered through his research of observation that children all reach the same milestones. He discovered that although children all reach the same milestone it can happen at different stages. Gesell was one of the first to realise that children develop in stages instead of the age of the child. He discovered this by using a camera and a one way mirror and uses controlled environments to study children on how they develop.

Gesell believed that children development is due to their biological makeup and that the environment is only a small impact of their milestones and what stage they reach them. Each child has their own pace of development.

Social and emotional development:

Maslow’s theory is based upon people are motivated by their own unsatisfied needs and that certain needs need to be met before other needs can be met. Needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic requirements. Once the bottom needs have been met they can move on words to the top of the pyramid which is self-actualization. The first four levels of the pyramid are seen as deficiency needs and the top level known as growth. The lower levels need to be met before the other can be met, “Maslow (1943) initially stated that individuals must satisfy lower levels deficit needs before progressing on to meet higher level growth needs.” (Simply Psychology, 2018)

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