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Theories of Human Development and Learning

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Theories of Human Development There are many different Theories of human development. Each theory provides a framework of general principles that can be used to interpret our observations. George Boeree (1997, p.1) states 'theory is a model of reality that helps us to understand, explain, predict and control that reality'. The interpretation of human development theories varies from different prospectives, but they all attempt to provide a basic understanding of individual development and behavior. These theories are loosely grouped together in four main categories, Psychoanalytical (social and personality theories), Cognitive (the mind and its importance), Behavioural (external factors) and Humanistic (Individual potential) concepts. All of the theories have their own strengths and weakness, along with their own possible application. Each suggests instructional and guidance processes most apt to enhance the way they go through dramatic changes on the way from baby to adulthood. Comparisons, contrasts, and criticisms are expressed on models established by notables as Piaget, Erickson, Bruner, Maslow, Freud and Rogers. When taken as a body of knowledge, each model affords a part of the entire panorama of human development and addresses the vast impact it has on the behavior and development of the individual. Sigmund Freud (1856 -1939), the fore father of classical psychoanalytical theory, emphasizes that our actions are the results of ideas that arise in our unconscious level of awareness. Freud proposed that essential childhood development needed three stages to complete which are characterized by sexual interest and pleasure on particular parts of the body. ...read more.


Pellone (1991, p.2) says 'Many different theories, primarily concerned with questions of how the mind works in relation to the learning process, have been proposed by psychologists over the years' In Piaget's cognitive framework, the process of acquiring knowledge begins at birth, the 'sensorimotor period', begins with inborn reflexes, to an awareness that things exist without always being in sight. The 'pre-operational period' covers the stage of language acquisition, and a more conceptual view of the world. The 'concrete operational period' develops a person's capability of logical mental activities and the 'formal operational stage' characterizes the capacity to reason in abstract terms (Pellone 1991, p.3). A very influential behavioural approach to learning was the work of B.F. Skinner in the 1940's. The central notion of Skinner's work is that animals and human beings depend wholly on the reward and punishment system. Hence the intrinsic belief that motivates humans and animals to get the reward we do the desired behaviour. Pellone (1991, p.2) says ideally a teacher tells a student whether or not they have given the correct answer (feedback), praises them for giving a correct answer (positive reinforcement), or prompts the ones who may need a hint to answer a question (cueing). Gestalt psychologists or cognitive psychologists place great emphasis on the problem solving aspect of thinking. The learner's discovery of patterns, relationships and the transferring of knowledge to new problems. This type of learning is called schematic which uses previously learned ideas and concepts in order to understand and simplify new learning (Pellone1991, p.2). ...read more.


While all teens develop into young adults, they won't all follow the same timeline. Adolescents face a major task in creating a stable identity to become complete and productive adults. Over time adolescents develop a scense of themselves that transcends the many changes in their experiences and roles. They find their role in society through active searching which leads to discoveries about themselves. Conclusion Many theories exist which try to explain the process of learning. Each, more than others, tends to emphasise certain aspects of the teacher-learning process. Focusing on selected learning theories and implementing teaching strategies to suit the individual's needs will often influence the learner's readiness to learn and their academic journey through life. Reference List Berger, K. (1998) Theories and methods. In The developing person through the life span. 4th edn. New York: Worth. Pp.29-50. Boeree, G. (1997). Personality Theories Electronic version <http://www.ship.edu/%7Ecgboeree/persintro.html> Retrieved 12 May, 2005 Knowles, M (1984). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species 3rd edn. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential Learning: New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc Legge, K 2005, 'Mitchell and Cassandra: together apart', The Australian, 17 May. Martin, F. & Booth, S. (1997). Learning and Awareness. Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum. Pellone, G 1991. 'Learning theories and computers in TAFE education'. Australian Journal of Education Technology, vol. 7, no1, pp.39-47. Pellone, G 1995. 'Education software design: A literature review'. Australian Journal of Education Technology, vol. 11, no1, pp. 68-84. Turner, J. and helms, D (1995) Humanistic theory. In Lifespan development. 5th edn. Forth Worth: Harcourt Brace. Pp.68-70. Wu, S. (2005). Psychology: Erikson's Eight Stages of Human Development Electronic version <http://psychology.about.com/library/weekly/99091500b.htm> Retrieved 12 May, 2005 ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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