Theories of Child Development essay sample

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Theories of Child Development

There are various theories of child development in psychology. They pertain to different approaches towards this process. Thus, there exist psychosocial theories, theories of cognitive development, ecological theories of development, and so on.Erik Erikson is known for his theory of psychosocial stages. His theory was influenced by Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychosexual development.

Erikson stresses that the ego develops after successful resolving of social crises. There are eight stages in Erikson’s theory. They are: trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame and doubt, initiative vs. guilt, industry (or competence) vs. inferiority, identity vs. role confusion, isolation vs. intimacy, generativity vs. stagnation, and ego integrity vs. despair.

Each stage takes place at a particular age, starting with infancy and finishing with maturity. It is stressed that completion of each definite stage leads to the acquisition of basic virtues, including hope, will, purpose, love, care, wisdom, and others. These virtues are typical strengths by means of which the ego resolves next crises. These crises refer to a psychosocial nature. If a person fails to complete a stage successfully, it will be difficult to resolve further stages. However, they can be completed successfully later (McLeod, 2008).Jean Piaget proposes a theory of cognitive development.

This theory involves two important aspects: the process of cognitive development and the stages a person moves through while acquiring the ability of coming to know. The process of cognitive development is used to explain how an organism adapts to the environment. This adaptation is controlled by means of schemata that are used by a person to represent the world. The purpose of the adaptation is to get balance between the environment and schemes. According to Piaget, two processes are used while adapting to the environment: assimilation and accommodation. As for the stages of cognitive development, there are four of them: sensorimotor stage (it takes place in infancy), pre-operational stage (it continues up to early childhood), concrete operational stage (it is traced in the early adolescence), and formal operational stage (it happens in adolescence and adulthood) (Huitt, Hummel, 2003). Sensorimotor stage is characterized by the use of symbols. Language abilities are traced closer to the end of this stage. During pre-operational stage thinking is nonlogical and usually egocentric. At concrete operational stage operational thinking appears. There are 7 types of conservation at this stage: number, liquid, mass, weight, length, volume, and area.

Finally, formal operational stage is characterized by the logical use of symbols which relates to abstract concepts.Furthermore, there are two social-based theories of cognitive development. One of them is Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural cognitive theory. It is based on the assumption that socialization affects an individual’s thinking. According to this theory, children’s development is influenced by their knowledge of the social community. Language is regarded as the most important instrument for obtaining this social knowledge. Vygotsky proposes the notion of “more knowledgeable other” (MKO) – someone who can teach (parents, adults, coaches, and so on).

The zone of proximal development (ZPD) is …

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