Human Learning and Development.


until Sigmund Freud developed his psychodynamic perspective. In the present essay, I would like to focus on the newer theories of human cognitive progress, which are: Albert Bandura’s behaviorist approach, Erik Erikson’s psycho-social theory, Jean Piaget’s cognitive perspective, Roger’s humanistic study. It needs to be noted that the ideas of Enlightenment philosophers to great extent correlate with modern developmental searches.

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The ideas of social education (or, more precisely, education-in-environment ) were articulated in earlier Rousseau’s writings : ”All children are perfectly designed organisms, ready to learn from their surroundings so as to grow into virtuous adults. But, due to the malign influence of corrupt society, they often fail to do so” (Astington et al, 1988, p.56). The most effective path of child education was the removal of the child from “from society (i.e., to a country home) and alternately conditioning him through changes to environment and setting traps and puzzles for him to solve or overcome” (ibid, p.57).

Albert Bandura and the other foundators of behaviorism took this idea for their developmental theory. The Social Learning (ibid) approach focuses on the roles of enviromnet and the influences of social on life-span development. From this viewpoint, learning is almost the same as development, as it involves new experiences and activizes them. Human personality and thoughts are a result of experiences the individual faces, so Bandura and Skinner hold that human-being is a product of environment (Gopnik, 1990). Furthermore, Bandura also optimized educational model and adjusted it to behaviorist approach. Operant conditioning, which includes punishment and reinforcement, is considered the most applicable in present-day school settings, as its modus operandi is quite simple and effective in terms of dealing with 6-8-year-old children.

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