Skinner really broadens the scope of the learning theory which leads
into debates with other developmental theorists. But, the major concern between
Skinner and Piaget centered on behavioral change. Skinner, for example, has
always expressed that behavior is followed by reinforcement options in society.
He felt that children need immediate reinforcement to motivate them to learn. Whereas,
Piaget was not a maturationist but he believed that behavior was not shaped by
society instead of by the children themselves (Crain, 2011). Children in society
will utilize their sensory and motor skills to solve problems, decide on inconsistencies
with thinking, and make discoveries. The development will surface as a result
of the children’s interests and cognitive processes (Crain, 2011). So, this
leads to Piaget expressing that children have the desire to learn because there
are curious in nature.
Bandura has always believed that learning in social situations is beyond
all things that other learning theorists described (Crain, 2011). Skinner, for
example, expressed that learning was a slow process and people will act to learn.
But, Bandura disagreed because children in social situations tend to learn more
quickly by observing others. Children will learn new behaviors all at once through
the observation phase but the learning will be classified as cognitive. Skinner
did not believe that the learning theory should include internal cognitive
variables (Crain, 2011).
Piaget has been involved in
many debates with Bandura than any other developmentalists. But, they both view
children as active agents who induce rules and grasp concepts (Crain,
2011). Bandura puts more emphasis on how
the environment, particularly models, influence the way children learn. So, he
disagreed with Piaget’s theory especially two of Piaget’s beliefs of child
development. To begin, Bandura disagreed
that children learn and develop out of intrinsic concern for novel events (Crain,
2011). Children will learn if adults motivate them and provide assistance.
Also, it is important for adults to teach new things, offer rewards and punishments,
and put positive models in children lives. Although children will become
self-motivated learners, Bandura expressed that children have the desire to
learn in order to achieve their own standards. The internal standards are
themselves which is the result of social teaching and modeling influence
(Crain, 2011). Overall, Bandura disagreed with Piaget’s thought of intrinsically
Next, Bandura disagreed
with the validity of the Piaget’s theory stages. It is believed that Piaget’s
stages explain the importance of modeling. Many children are interested in
models that portray positive behaviors above their current stage. But, Bandura
felt that the stages are unreal. In the beginning, the stages seem to be real
since children follow in a sequence, however, children completed simple tasks
before the hard tasks. It is implied by the stage concept that thinking is
organized into broad unitary structures but Bandura argued that it is not true
(Crain, 2011). In reality, thinking is made up of distinct skills that differ
from one cognitive domain to another. Overall, Bandura expressed that Piaget’s
vision of development is false. Children will not learn by themselves and
thinking will not undergo a broad stage transformation (Crain, 2011).
It is important for teachers to determine if children are
grasping the information being taught. But, many school systems have decided
that standardized achievement and intelligence tests will help determine if
children are learning based on their results for reading and math grade level
tests, for example. Theorist Vygotsky felt that conventional tests were inadequate
(Crain, 2011). Conventional tests only measure what children achieve when
working alone. Vygotsky was confident that children can complete tasks by
receiving help and support from others.
An effective way to evaluate if a child is capable of
learning new skills is by determining how well the child performs with
assistance (Crain, 2011). Vygotsky considered this as the zone of proximal
development. His vision for the zone of proximal development was to provide
educators with a greater indication of the child’s potential. For example,
focusing on the activities children achieve with help, the zone will display
the new abilities that are developing (Crain, 2011).
Vygotsky was a theorist who had the desire to create
effective educational practices which eventually became popular among many. He
felt that education should be a challenge to the child’s current level in order
to accelerate development. However, Rousseau and others made it known that this
concept will take opportunities away children causing them not to fully develop
their potentials at the present stage (Crain, 2011). So, it is important for
younger children to have an open-mind to receive the world and the richness it
has to offer. Adults should not stress children to become goal-directed.
Vygotsky expressed that the zone of proximal development
would promote that assistance from others is a good thing. When children
receive help, they will be able to solve problems beyond their level (Crain,
2011). However, Rousseau and other
developmentalists felt that children receiving assistance will miss on the opportunities
to make their own discoveries in the world. But, Vygotsky overlooked the extent
in which assistance undermines the child’s independence (Crain, 2011).
During Freud’s oedipal
stage, children are between 3 and 6 years old. Freud had a clear understanding
of this stage among the boys than the girls. Boys in this stage were very curious
about their male organ (the penis) since the organ is easily excitable and rich
in sensations (Crain, 2011). They even fantasize about kissing, sleeping, and even
marrying their mother since she was considered as the main love object. As the boys
got older, they realized that the fantasy was inappropriate and they could not engage
in those acts with their mother. According to Crain (2011), the lines were drawn
for the Oedipus complex when boys notice their father kissing, hugging, and
sleeping with their mother. So, they will see their father as a rival for the
love and affection of their mother.
Freud expressed that boys
can resolve the oedipal situation through repression, identification, and the
superego (Crain, 2011). To begin, boys can
tuck away the sexual feelings for their mother into the unconscious and love
their mother in an appropriate manner. Next, boys can eliminate bitter feelings
toward their father and start acting more like him to have a good relationship.
Lastly, boys can uphold the moral standards taught by their parent to help them
control the impulses and desires. Basically, boys will criticize themselves for
having bad behaviors and/or for having negative thoughts. In addition, boys
will rival their mother for affection and love of their father (Crain, 2011).
As for the girls, Freud
was not sure on how the Oedipus complex will work for them. By age 5, girls
begin to have negative feelings toward their mother due to lack of attention
shown (Crain, 2011). The girls felt that they did not receive the same amount
of love and care as did as babies. Also, the girls realized that they do not
have the same organ (the penis) as the boys. This caused the girls to blame their
mother because they felt unprepared for the world. Girls will overcome the
barriers and start enjoying the attention from their father. Many fathers do
not show as much attention while their girls are in diapers but around the age
of 5, they will notice the cuteness and femininity (Crain, 2011).
Girls will have fantasies
about their father but will soon learn that she does not have sole rights to
him (Crain, 2011). The girls cannot marry or cuddle, hug, or sleep with their
father as much. Their mother will become a rival since she can do all of these
things with their father. Freud was puzzled on how girls can resolve the Oedipal
crisis. The fear of losing parental love maybe the answer. Girls will repress
their desires, identify with their mother, and criticize themselves for having
the impulses and wishes to institute a superego (Crain, 2011). Eventually,
girls will dismiss the rival and incest fantasies.
Freud faced many
criticisms from critics but he felt that they refused his ideas due to their
own resistances and repressions (Crain, 2011). One major criticism stated that Freud’s theory
of Oedipus complex was culture-bound. Malinowski and other anthropologists made
it known that Freud’s theory was not perfect. According to Crain (2011), the
family structure Oedipus complex is based on the mother, father, and child but
is not found in every culture. Among the Trobriand Islanders, for example, there
were strong incest relations between brothers and sisters instead of children
and parents as Freud insisted. Malinowski was appreciative for Freud stating that
repressed wishes occur in projections like magic, dreams, and folklore (Crain,
2011). But, projections varied based the cultural setting. Freudians did
attempt to join psychoanalytic and anthropological ideas.
W. C. (2011) Theories of Development: Concept and Applications (6th ed.).