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Describe the different perspectives used to explain the process of children(TM)s development

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Gerard Doherty X7267888 TMA 01 Essay Option 1: "Describe the different perspectives used to explain the process of children's development. To what extent can child development be seen as a natural process?" In an effort to evaluate the influence that nature has on the development of individuals it is essential to a***s and understand some of the major theories associated with this contested area of the social sciences. This is not a recent debate and some of the fundamental arguments that underpin much of the contemporary discussions have their roots in the thought of antiquity including Plato, Aristotle and more recently Descartes and Locke. After a brief analysis of some of the initial arguments, I shall attempt to evaluate the conflicting viewpoints associated with both the environmentalist and nativist perspective with a view to forming a conclusion. Initially however it is essential to place the debate within a global context and in doing so hope I to highlight that fact that issues of child development and child welfare are not consistent across societies. There is a consensus in Western society that children generally require a certain amount of time and receive appropriate guidance and support to allow them to develop. ...read more.


For example; "break his will now and his soul will live."4 In this respect Hobbes viewed the individual as a primitive creature governed by impulses which are highly susceptible to corruption. Similarly Rousseau (1712-1775) was committed to Nativism. However for Rousseau each individual was not inherently evil as suggested by Hobbes but was by contrast a "noble savage" with a pre existing perception of both good and evil. It is the duty of society therefore to guide children towards good behaviour and moral understanding. The work of Rousseau was to become influential to theories of education and learning. For example it was Rousseau who stressed the importance of adult guidance suggesting that the development of children was a responsibility of family and guardians. For example; "put him in a condition to be always the master of himself and in everything to do his own will."5 Nativism has continued to be immensely influential and was a feature of perhaps one of the most simultaneously notable and controversial concepts of development. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) considered innate impulses to be the underlying principle upon which our very being is constructed. Freud termed this basis as being the "id". For Freud the "id" is the major catalyst in determining our behaviour. ...read more.


I would argue that this is not the case and that cultural and economic have played an important role in the creation of such statistics. May I suggest that the environment has a very profound influence on individual development. Regardless of intelligence the social environment that a child finds themselves in will have a significant effect on the child's life chances alone let alone what they are exposed to in a learning capacity. However some of the recent studies have shown that much of our behaviour is determined by genetics. For example studies of identical twins separated at birth and raised in completely different environments show that the twins still end up more alike than many would have predicted thus supporting the view that genetics play a large role in personality development. Bouchard & McGue (1981) argued that; "environmental factors are less important than genetic factors in causing differences in IQ." 12 Whatever side of the nature nurture debate one favours it is reasonable to conclude that you cannot mutually exclude the other. Research has shown that both a child's genetics and environment have some influence over a child's personality. Although there are convincing arguments for the importance of each factor, it must be recognised that both environment and genetics will ultimately have some bearing on a child's development. ...read more.

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