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Jason Towler

on 16 March 2013

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Theorists and Theories Jason Towler Lev Vygotsky Erik Erikson Piaget's Theory: EDGR 535
Concordia University Children move through four different stages of mental development. His theory focuses not only on understanding how children acquire knowledge, but also on understanding the nature of intelligence. (Cherry) Piaget focuses on Schemas
Example: A child eats only carrots as their vegetables, then is introduced to a cucumber as another vegetable. The child would then assimilate this data to show that vegetables are more then carrots because of the experience. (Waller, 2011) Social Development Theory:
Learning is a part of development. The social interactions we have with MKO’s (More Knowledgeable Other) help us develop. MKO could be a person or not but must have more knowledge then the person trying to attain the knowledge(McLeod, 2007). Without the interactions we cannot develop or learn. Piaget as it relates to my teaching: At the foundation of my teaching is a small part of Piaget’s development theory. I tend to focus on his theory of problem solving as a cooperative unit. Piaget would prefer that I give my students the opportunity to discuss that fairness of norms then read the rules off to them(Murray). It seems to promote better classroom management as well as increasing moral development. Jensen would also agree with Piaget about giving the opportunity for problem solving as he states problem solving is valuable for parents to do with their children to make them successful in school (Jensen, 2005). Overall, Piaget is just blip on my radar of teaching. He is part of the foundation that has built my own style of developing students. I work with students at such an age where I don’t spend much time thinking of the development that I had no control over. Yet I am aware of it, which sometimes can answer why a student is the way they are now. (Eddy, 2010) Difference between the two?

Piaget: Develop on your own, then learn.

Vygotsky: Learn with help from others, develop as you learn The Zone of proximal development (ZPD), which is the key feature of his theory, contains two levels of attainment for the ZPD:
Level 1 – the "present level of development." This describes what the child is capable of doing without any help from others.
Level 2 – the "potential level of development." This means what the child could potentially be capable of with help from other people or "teachers" (Eddy, 2010).

If any theory could be as close to as a rule for me that would be Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory. Vygotsky gives a lot of credit/responsibility to the teacher. Looking back at my own development, I see more of my development from Social Development Theory than any other, which is possibly why I feel so strongly about it. If Piaget is my foundation of teaching, Vygotsky would be my kitchen.

Jensen would agree with Vygotsky as well, especially on the importance of MKO’s. Jensen states: “The social experience is a brain- changing experience, and it can be either positive or negative, depending to a large degree on how schools and teachers orchestrate it (Jensen, 2005)." “Hence, we may say that we become ourselves through others and that this rule applies not only to the personality as a whole, but also to the history of every individual function (Vygotsky, 1966).” (Boeree, 2006) Erik Erikson developed 8 stages of psychosocial development. Key points dealing with the 8 stages are that the person has a significant social relationships tied with each stage as well other biological developments. Erikson's theory also shows failure in one stage is not failure for all. Erikson's psychosocial theory is very powerful for self-awareness, self-improvement, for teaching and helping others (Erikson, 2013). According to Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development, each individual's psyche is shaped through a series of conflicts called developmental crises. Three of these crises occur during childhood and adolescence, which means that teachers who believe in Erikson's theory should focus on these crises to ensure that students develop healthy, fully realized identities. According to Erikson, the key crisis for children between the ages of three and six is "initiative vs. guilt." From six to twelve, the crisis is "industry vs. inferiority," and for teenagers, "identity vs. role confusion (Woolfolk, 2009) ." These are all areas as teachers we can effect.

Another thing we as teachers could teach is the belief that Erikson gives to everyone from his basic theory is change. If there is a failure in one of the stages, you can fix it later in life. It will always be important to teach how to fix mistakes and grow with them to our students. Erikson is my second favorite theorist. He also puts a lot of credit / responsibility to a teacher for the development of a student. He also reaffirms how we should focus on the social situations as well with our students because they can be just as important as curriculum. It is nice to remember this to give times for our students to grow as a whole not just as a “brain." Jensen would also be a support to Erikson’s theory, especially with social situations during the identity vs role confusion stage. Jensen states: “The increased risk of depression and suicide among teens makes obvious their need for more guidance, camaraderie, and support. These findings all reinforce the importance of social bonding with peers and others (Jensen, 2005).” vs. (Huitt, 2004) The Gilligan – Kohlberg debate is a perfect example of why I don’t like theorists and studies. Over the course of the debate, the value of the studies fall apart and it becomes more of “Whose side are you on?” argument then good science to use in the classroom. As I have stated before, this debate covers the truth that we are all different. We as teachers should always be aware that every student we come in contact with will be different. Then as experiences happen to the students, their views on morality will change. We should be prepared to be there to be good coaches and models. These moral debates always bring up emotions, yet we seem to not teach as much about emotional intelligence these days to help deal with such emotions. Jensen would support our views on modeling as well as coaching. Jensen would support even more the teaching of emotional intelligence as he states: “Students need to be taught emotional intelligence skills in a repetitive way that makes positive behaviors as automatic as negative ones. “ How as teachers can we grow from knowing these theories of development and make them useful in every day instruction?
How do we “talk the talk, and walk the walk?" NOW WHAT? The following attributed to:
(Huitt, 2004) Strategies for the classroom: References
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