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Learning Theories

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Task 1 In the early years there are different ways and methods in which we can encourage or help children to learn. These are also known as 'theories', which are vital to what the early year's practitioner thinks to be important for a child's learning. Below are all the different major theories which are related to children's development and learning. Transmission model * This theory is based upon the idea that children are 'empty clay tables' (Tabula Rasa) and that they are capable of being moulded and shaped by adults. It was first developed by the philosopher John Locke (1632-1704). People who work in this way are known as 'behaviourists'. Transmission model sees people as passive and that they learn through experiences. The transmission model concentrates on nurture and not nature; it is split into two main components, learning theory and social learning theory. Learning theory * Classical conditioning: Pavlov (1849- 1936) worked with dogs, he fed them when the church bell rang or a light was flashed. The dogs salivated when they were fed; eventually they salivated at the sound of the bell or when a light was flashed even if no food was given.


* Naom Chomsky (1968) believed that children learned complex grammatical structures simply through hearing them being spoken. Chomsky thought that children's brains have a structure in which allow their language to develop and that children develop new sentences and apply the rules of grammar to them rather than just copying those they have heard. This is often out of children by them making errors in a new situation e.g. 'sheeps' instead of 'sheep' this applies the common rule of adding an s to a plural. Freud * This is the theory which is based upon that of Signum Freud (1856- 1939) who was also known as the father of psychoanalysis. Freud came up with the theory of personality which focuses on the unconscious mind. He sees the child passing through a series of pre-determined psychological stages as the personality develops, which are based upon the child's level of physical maturation. These stages are called psycho sexual stages as they are part of the human drive to grow, feed, and reproduce. Freud believed that we are all born with unconscious biological instincts, these must be learnt to control.


* Piaget's work has had major influence on development psychology and on learning and education. He believed that from birth, the child actively chooses and interprets information from the environment they also have the ability to adapt and learn. Piaget stated children go through a series of stages mental or cognitive, these happen always in the same order but at different rates. He also emphasized that the child was an active participant in their own learning. Below are the four stages of cognitive/mental development: * Sensori-motor (birth to three years): at this stage the child is born into the world and is small and helpless however they can move with basic reflexes and senses, leading to more complex actions such as hitting and grasping. * Pre-operational (two to seven years): during this stage a child begins to represent actions with symbols. Words begin to represent objects and people in the child's thinking. At this stage children are thought very different to the way adults think. * Concrete-operational (seven years to twelve years): their intelligence is now more symbolic and logical. They still however need to relate their thinking to concrete objects and activities e.g. putting objects away in height order or the difference between similar objects like roses and daisies. * Formal-operational (twelve years onwards) :

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