You are on page 1of 4

What are some of the major theories of child development?

 ​Psychosocial Theory of Human Development – Erik Erikson

 ​Theory of Cognitive Development– Jean Piaget
 ​Theory of Behaviorism – B. F. Skinner and others
 ​Sociocultural Theory – Lev Vygotsky
 ​Theory of Multiple Intelligences – Howard Gardner
 ​Motivation Theory – Abraham Maslow

What are the main ideas of these theories?

 ​Psychosocial Theory of Human Development – Erik Erikson
Life is a series of stages. Each individual must pass through each stage. The way in
which a person handles each of these stages affects the person’s identity and
self-concept. These psychosocial stages are:
 ​Newborn --- trust vs. mistrust
- Infants learn to trust their caregivers based off of treatment and consistency.
- If they are treated poorly, they will not trust the caregiver.
 ​Toddler --- autonomy vs. shame and doubt
- Toddlers are wanting to become more independent and do things on their own.
- When they cannot figure out how to do something for themselves, they begin feel
doubt in themselves and begin to feel shameful.
 ​Preschool child - initiative vs. guilt
- Children try to assert their control with responsibility.
- They begin to feel guilty when their initiative does not work for them.
 ​School-age child - industry vs. inferiority
- They begin to develop a sense of pride in their work and accomplishments, or
- They feel like they cannot meet the expectations set for them.
 ​Adolescent - identity vs. identity confusion
- They begin to look for who they want to be, or
- They try to be like someone else.
 ​Young adult - intimacy vs. isolation
- They try to develop relationships, or
- They try to keep away from everyone and stay isolated.
 ​Adult - generativity vs. stagnation
- They begin to contribute to the next generation with productivity, or
- They feel like their work is meaningless, and like there is no point to it.
 ​Elder – integrity vs. despair
- They feel a sense of integrity like they have done something with their lives, or
- They regret what they have done, and ask questions like “would/could have.”

 ​Theory of Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget

The behavior of children and the development of their thinking can only be
explained by the interaction of nature (intrinsic development) and nurture (extrinsic
environmental factors).

Children pass through specific stages as they develop their Cognitive Development skills:
 ​Sensorimotor – birth - 2 years – infants develop their intellect
- Knows the world through movements
- learns the world through the senses
- seperate beings from people
- Realize that their actions have a reaction
 ​Preoperational – 2-6 years – children begin to think symbolically and imaginatively
- Think symbolically
- Egocentric
- Use words and pictures to represent things
- Begin to think about concrete terms
 ​Concrete operational – 6-12 years – children learn to think logically
- Think about concrete events
- Understand concepts of conservation
- Begin using inductive logic
 ​Formal operational – 12 years – adulthood – adults develop critical thinking skills
- Abstract thinking
- Begin thinking about moral, ethical, social, political, and philosophical issues

Theory of Behaviorism – B. F. Skinner and others

Based on Locke’s ​tabula rasa ​(“clean slate”) idea, Skinner theorized that a child is
an “empty organism” --- that is, an empty vessel --- waiting to be filled through
learning experiences. Any behavior can be changed through the use of positive and
negative reinforcement. Behaviorism is based on cause-and-effect relationships.
Major elements of behaviorism include:
 ​Positive and negative reinforcement
- Begin to know right from wrong
- knowing that good things get rewarded and bad things get punishments
 ​Use of stimulus and response
- Cause and effect
 ​Modeling
- Attention, memory, and motivation
 ​Conditioning.
- Based on the fundamental idea that behaviors are reinforced will continues while
behaviors that are punished will eventually end

​ ociocultural Theory – Lev Vygotsky

The cultures in which children are raised and the ways in which they interact with
people influence their intellectual development. From their cultural environments,
children learn values, beliefs, skills, and traditions that they will eventually pass on
to their own children. Through cooperative play, children learn to behave
according to the rules of their cultures. Learning is an active process. Learning is
constructed. Elements of sociocultural theory are:
 ​Zone of proximal development
- The area of exploration for which the students cognitively prepared, but requires
help and social interaction to fully develop
 ​Scaffolding
- Teaching tool in the development of the learners

 ​Theory of Multiple Intelligences – Howard Gardner

Intelligence is viewed as the ability to solve problems and create products in a
specific situation. Many kinds of intelligences exist. IQ tests tend to focus on only
one or two of these intelligences. Intelligences may be exceptionally well-developed
in individuals due either to well-developed parts of the brain or to cultural
conditions. The eight intelligences that are widely recognized are:
 ​Linguistic
- Using words effectively

 ​Logical-mathematical
- reasoning , calculating

 ​Spatial
- Think in terms of physical space

 ​Bodily – kinesthetic
- Uses the body effectively; keen sense of body awareness
- movement

 ​Intrapersonal
- Understanding one’s own interests, goals

 ​Interpersonal
- understanding , interacting with others

 ​Musical
- Show sensitivity to rhythm and sound

 ​Naturalistic
- Derived from real life or nature, or imitating it very closely

 ​Motivation Theory – Abraham Maslow

People are motivated by a set of basic human needs that may be organized in the
form of a hierarchy, or pyramid, with the most critical needs at the bottom of the
hierarchy. Once their most critical needs are met, individuals can focus on achieving
higher and loftier needs such as love, respect, and self-actualization. The basic
needs, beginning with the most critical, are:
 ​Physiological needs
- air, water, food, shelter, clothes, sex, etc.
 ​Safety and security
- Secure environment, employment, resources, health, property, etc.

 ​Love and sense of belonging

- Love, friendships, intimacy, family, etc.

 ​Self-esteem; respect by others

- Confidence, self-esteem, achievement, respect

 ​Self – actualization.
- Morality, creativity, problem solving