Child Development Essay

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There have been many visionaries that have developed theoretical frameworks which give a basic, general approach to understanding the ways in which children develop. Doherty and Hughes (2009) recall that early childhood progression is most commonly presented in terms of specific periods of time. Therefore, this tends to relate to the idea of fixed and limited stages that are strongly linked with chronological age, moreover, providing a very specific ordering of change. The most frequently identified periods of development are prenatal, infancy and toddlerhood, early childhood, later childhood and adolescence. Generalised theories on child development came about in the 17th century, with John Locke’s ‘Some Thoughts Concerning Education’ …show more content…
Watson believed that children do not progress through a series of distinct stages dictated by maturation, as others have argued. Instead he viewed development as a continuous process that is shaped by a person’s environment. To prove this theory, Watson and Rosalie Raynor (1920) presented a white rat to a nine month old boy, Albert. His initial reactions were positive and he showed no fear of the animal over a period of two months when he was allowed to become familiar with the presence of the rat. Then, whenever Albert moved towards the rat, Watson would make a loud noise behind the boys head and frighten him. As a consequence of this, Albert, over a period of time, came to fear rats.

Burrhus Frederic Skinner conducted the operant conditioning chamber which measured organism’s responses and interactions with the environment. Skinner believed that developments were largely shaped by parental behaviour and said in 1938 that the consequences of certain behaviour produce a change in the likelihood of that behaviour occurring. This so called operant learning theory was a form of learning where a voluntary response is strengthened or weakened by positive of negative consequences. In essence, Skinner claimed that development is mainly dependent on

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