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Human Development and Learning essay

Posted by admin as Essays

Human Development & Learning essay example:

One should start by saying that human development and learning involves a gradual change of attitudes and knowledge power in people. It is a common knowledge that humans develop in a series of various stages that were analyzed by different thinkers and presented below.

The first theory to be noted here is Freud’s Psychosexual theory (psychoanalysis). Whatever we do and whoever we are is determined by our sexual drive, according to that theory. Our success in life is nothing but a result of our sexual experiences within the first 5-6 years of life. The reason why people are psychologically different is because each of them had different sexual experiences. Freud calls the tentative terms “psychosexual stages” each of them is dedicated to the different sexual drives: oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital (Phillips, 145).

There always exist conflicts between the sex drive and rules of society at every stage. A proper resolution of the conflicts will lead the child and adult to progress past one stage and move on to the next. Any failure to achieve a proper resolution of the conflict, however, will make the child fixated (develop a fixation) in the present stage and thus will not allow them to move forward. The latter is believed to be the cause of many personality and behavioral disorders as well as failure to perform well in school (Freeman, 35).

Freud viewed that people devleop through a set of the following stages:
1. Oral Stage happens between the age 0 – 1.5
2. Anal Stage and it occurs between the age of 1.5 – 3 years.
3. Phallic stage and it happens during the age 4-5 years.
4. Latency stage that develops at age of 5-6 and goes on to the puberty.

Freud thought that the ego emerges from the id, which is the unconscious root of all desires and instincts. The ego develops in people when the id interacts with the outside world and thus is produced from the social forces that influence the person. Superego impacts both ego and Id.

Piaget approach was different from Freud’s. Piaget attempted to study the cognitive development of children. Piaget believed that all children progressed through stages and would pass from one stage to another without incurring much conflict or crisis. Although children may go through these stages at different rates and different ages, they all go through the same stages and in the same order. Piaget called this movement “invariate sequence” (Thomas, 124).

These are the stages:
Stage 1: Sensorimotor (Ages 0-2). This is the very stage when children organize their physical action schemes such as grabbing, sucking, and hitting.

Stage 2: Pre-operational (Ages 2-7). This is when children learn to recognize symbols and images. Something that children in this stage especially need is to learn self-help skills.

Stage 3: Concrete Operations (Ages 7-11). Children in this stage are learning to understand symbolic things, but only as they relate to concrete objects. Parents show the children examples and the children follow them.

Stage 4: Formal Operations (Ages 11-adult). Formal operations focuses on abstract thought and more systematic ways of thinking.

Speaking about the social learning theory (SLT), I have to note that Mr. Albert Bandura was among the most famous social learning theorists. SLT focuses on the social context and believes that people develop by learning from one another (Cowan, 77).

The SLT has its followers and distinct characteristics as shown below:
1. People learn only by observing other people and can also engage in analysis.
a. Follow the model. Many people dress in a way to match the group.
b. Third Person. Many people would wear Air Jordan Nike shoes to look and play basketball like M. Jordan.
2. Learning does not always have to change the behavior. This is different from behaviorist school that believes that learning is always about some behavioral change,
3. Congnition in learning is vital and means that people do things after analyzing all the rewards and punishments that they might incur when doing things (Lerner, 133).

SLT states that when imitated the person immediately gets positive reinforcement. If someone sees that other people are enjoying things, she/he is likely to start enjoying them, too. Vicarious reinforcement is a term that describes how one can be reinforced by the model.

In conclusion, I would like to note that humand development as depicted by many famous theorists takes place by passing certain phases or stages that complement each other and help the person shape his/her character and grow into a better individual. The essay spoke about 4 stages of learning and development as depicted by Freud. One could also learn briefly about Piaget and Bandura and their contribution to the field of human development and learning.

Freeman, Joan, Psychology of Gifted Children: Perspectives on Development and Education, Wiley Press, 2000.
Phillips, Shelley, Relations with children : the psychology of human development in a changing world, McGraw Hill, 2001.
Thomas, Murray, Human Development Theories : Windows on Culture, Prentice Hall, 2001.
Cowan, Nelson, Memory Development in Children (Studies in Developmental Psychology), Harvard University Press, 2000.
Lerner, Richard, Concepts and Theories of Human Development, McGraw Hill, 2002.


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