Perspectives In Development Unit 3 UNIT 3: PERSPECTIVES IN .

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Perspectives in DevelopmentUnit 3UNIT 3: PERSPECTIVES IN DEVELOPMENTUNIT STRUCTURE3.1Learning Objectives3.2Introduction3.3Concept of growth, development and maturation3.4Major Theoretical Perspectives3.4.1The Psychodynamic Perspective3.4.2The Humanistic Perspective3.4.3The Contextual Perspective3.5Influence of Nature and Nurture on Development3.6Development: Continuous Change versus DiscontinuousChange3.7Gathering Data about Children3.7.1Naturalistic Observation3.7.2Case Study3.7.3Survey Method3.7.4Clinical Methods3.8Let us Sum up3.9Further Reading3.10Answers to Check Your Progress3.11Model Questions3.1LEARNING OBJECTIVESAfter going through this unit, you will be able to -l discuss the concept of growth, development and maturationl discuss important theoretical perspectives of developmentl describe the influence of nature and nurture on development andl explain the techniques of gathering data about children.3.2INTRODUCTIONThe main aim of this unit is to provide you a broad foundation forChildhood, Child Development and Learning29

Unit 3Perspectives in Developmentunderstanding child development.In your personal and professional life you must observe and workwith children in day-to-day life. You have observed children after their birth,during preschool years, in schools and so on. You have observed theirphysical and motor development, their emotion in various situations, theirlikings in play, art and other activities. We assume that you have someknowledge and experiences about the nature of development of children.However, you may not have deep understanding of the development ofchildren. A deep understanding of development requires familiarity not onlywith phenomena but also with theories that provide coherent interpretationof the facts, allowing you to anticipate the consequences of various coursesof actions.The optimal development of children is very important to society,so it is important to understand the physical, social, emotional andeducational development of children.In this unit, you will learn the concept of growth, development, andmaturation, make yourself familiar with the views and studies of differentpsychologists and researchers who have contributed a lot in the field ofchild development. Here, we shall highlight three perspectives ofdevelopment: the psychodynamic, the humanistic and the contextualperspective. We shall touch upon the important issues related to theinfluence of nature and nurture on development, and continuous anddiscontinuous change in development. We shall also discuss in detail someimportant techniques of gathering date about children. We hope, this unitwill help to add some more information into the basket of your knowledgewith regard to child development and you will be able to observe the childrenmore systematically and contribute to their development in a better way.3.3CONCEPT OF GROWTH, DEVELOPMENT ANDMATURATIONGrowthGrowth is the physical process of development, particularly theprocess of becoming physically larger. It is quantifiable or it can be30Childhood, Child Development and Learning

Perspectives in DevelopmentUnit 3measured, and it is mostly influenced by genetics.Physical growth refers to an increase in body size. It may be in lengthor height and weight and in the size of organs. From birth to about age 2years, children grow rapidly. After this period, growth slows. During thepreschool and school years, growth in height and weight is steady. Childrentend to grow in almost similar amount each year until the next major growthspurt occurs in early adolescence.Different organs do not grow at same rate. For example, the braingrows almost exclusively during the early years of life but the reproductiveorgan has a brief growth spurt just after birth, then changes very little beforepuberty.Children’s physical, intellectual, and emotional development is rapidup to the age 13. However, the rate of physical, intellectual, emotional,and social development varies considerably from child to child. Developmentdepends partly on heredity, nutrition, environment, physical problems etc.Children’s development is usually continuous. However, temporarypauses may occur in the development of a particular function, such asspeech.DevelopmentPhysical growth is an increase in size, whereas, development isgrowth in function and capability. You may take any child for observation.You may have observed that the child grew into a kid, she learned how towalk, run, and jump. Later, she started talking and learned how to expressher thoughts.At later stage, she learned more complex things, like how tocalculate, how to solve problems and so on. In other words, you may haveobserved the child has become more capable of doing things in differentways.These are few examples of development in the child. Thedevelopment takes place at all stages of an individual’s life. There aremany aspects of development e.g. physical, emotional, social, andintellectual.Physical growth and development depend on a combination ofChildhood, Child Development and Learning31

Unit 3Perspectives in Developmentfactors, including genetics, nutrition, and the environment.MaturationSometimes we use the words growth and maturationinterchangeably. However, growth and maturation have differentmeaning. In the previous paragraphs, you have learned the meaning ofgrowth. Maturation is the physical, intellectual, or emotional process ofdevelopment. Maturation is often not quantifiable. You may have observedsome one to say that this child is mature, or the child is more mature incomparison to her age.You have learned that growth is physical. Maturation is physical,intellectual, or emotional. When an individual’s brain physically develops,she is able to understand intellectually what others are going through andhow they might feel. When a person becomes mature she does not behavelike a child.3.4MAJOR THEORITICAL PERSPECTIVESHuman development refers to the biological and psychologicalchanges that occur in human beings between birth and death.People who study development of human beings approach thefield form different perspectives. Each perspective encompasses one ormore theories. In the following sub-sections, we shall discuss few majortheoretical perspectives.Psychologists who study development in human beings areconcerned about two fundamental questions. The first one is whether thedevelopment best understood as a continuous process of change or as aseries of transformations in the organization of an individual’s behaviour.The second question is related to heredity and environment, whether thedevelopment is primarily guided by the genetic programme locked into thebody’s cells or fundamentally directed by forces in the external environment.Psychologists differ on many aspects of these two fundamental issues.The concern about continuity beings more specific questions likehow similar or how different are we from our near neighbors in the animalkingdom? Are there distinct stages of development? Are there critical32Childhood, Child Development and Learning

Perspectives in DevelopmentUnit 3periods of development? (Cole and Cole, 1989).Concerns about sources of development have given rise to varioustheories about contributions of biology and the environment to the processof development. According to biological–maturation perspective the sourcesof development are primarily endogenous, arising from the organisms’biological heritage.According to environment–learning perspective the developmentalchange is primarily caused by exogenous factors (Clarke and Clarke, 1986).According to interactional, perspective development arises fromthe active adaptation of the organism to the environment. Biological andenvironment factors play an equal role in development (Piaget,1973).According to cultural – context perspective the interactions out ofwhich development emerges are crucially shaped by the prior history ofthe group as embodied in its culture (Vygotsky,1978).3.4.1 The Psychodynamic PerspectiveThe psychodynamic perspective is closely associated withSigmund Freud, a Viennese physician.Freud’s TheoryFreud’s theory of psychosexual development is one of thebest known, and controversial as well. Freud believed thatpersonality develops through a series of childhood stages duringwhich the pleasure-seeking energies of the id become focused oncertain erogenous areas. This energy, or libido, was described asthe driving force behind behaviour.If these stages are completed successfully, the result is ahealthy personality. If certain issues are not resolved at theappropriate stage, fixation can occur. A fixation is a persistent focuson an earlier stage. Freud opined that until this conflict is resolved,the individual will remain ‘stuck’ in that stage.Age Range: Birth to 1 year(Oral stage)During the first year of life, the infant’s primary source ofChildhood, Child Development and Learning33

Unit 3Perspectives in Developmentinteraction occurs through the mouth, so the rooting and suckingreflex is especially important. The mouth is vital for eating, and theinfant derives pleasure from oral stimulation through gratifyingactivities such as testing and sucking.The primary conflict at this stage is weaning process. Thechild must become less dependent upon mother or caretakers. Iffixation occurs at this stage, the individual would have issue withdependency or aggression. Oral fixation can result in problems withdrinking, eating, smoking or nail biting, which are observed in manypeople at later stages, Freud claimed.Age Range: 1 to 3 years(Anal stage)According to Freud during this stage the primary focus ofthe libido was on controlling bladder and bowel movements. Themajor conflict at this stage is toilet training. The child has to learn tocontrol his or her bodily needs. Developing this control leads to asense of accomplishment and independence.Freud believed, success during this period is dependentupon the way in which parents approach toilet training. Parentswho utilize praise and rewards for using the toilet at the appropriatetime encourage positive outcomes and help children feel capableand productive. Freud believed that positive experiences duringthis stage served as the basis for people to become competent,productive and creative adults.If parents take an approach that is too lenient, Freud believedthat children develop a messy, wasteful or destructive personality.If parents are too strict or begin toilet training too early, Freudbelieved they develop stringent, orderly, rigid and obsessivepersonality.Age Range: 3 to 6 Years(Phallic stage)During this period, the primary focus of the libido is on thegenitals. At this, age, children also begin to discover the differences34Childhood, Child Development and Learning

Perspectives in DevelopmentUnit 3between males and females.Freud also believed that boys being to view their fathers as arival for the mother’s affections. A complex describes these feelingsof wanting to possess the mother and the desire to replace the father.However, the child also fears that he will be punished by the fatherfor these feelings, a fear Freud termed castration anxiety.A different type of complex has been used to describe asimilar set of feelings experienced by young girls.Age Range: 6 to Puberty(Latent stage)During the latent period, the libido interests are suppressed.The development of the ego and superego contribute to this periodof calm. The stage begins around the time that children enter intoschool and become more concerned with peer relationships,hobbies and other interests.The latent period is a time of exploration in which the energyis directed into other areas such as intellectual pursuits and socialinteraction. This stage is important in the development of socialand communication skills and self-confidence.Age Range: Puberty to Death(Final stage)During the final stage of development, the individualdevelops a strong sexual interest in the opposite sex. This stagebegins during puberty but last throughout the rest of a person’slife.It is believed that in earlier stages the focus was solely onindividual needs, interest in the welfare of others grow during thisstage. If an individual completes the other stages successfully, theindividual should now be well-balanced, warm and caring. The goalof this stage is to establish a balance between the various life areas.The latent period is a time of exploration in which the energyis directed into other areas such as intellectual pursuits and socialinteraction. This stage is important in the development of socialChildhood, Child Development and Learning35

Unit 3Perspectives in Developmentand communication skills and self-confidence.CHECK YOUR PROGRESSQ 1: Answer the following question in about 40words each.(i) What may be the results of oral fixation of an infant?.(iii) Why toilet training is important?.(iii) In what way the latent stage is important?.3.4.2 The Humanistic PerspectiveThe main focus of humanistic perspective is the uniquequalities of human being. People who advocate humanisticperspective suggest that people have a natural capacity to makedecision about their lives and to control their behaviour. According tothem each individual has the ability and motivation to reach moreadvanced levels, of maturity.The humanistic approach suggests that people need positiveregard which results from an underlying wish to be loved andrespected. As positive regard comes from other person, we becomedependent on them. Our view of ourselves and our self worth is areflection of how we think others views on us (Rogers, 1971).However, humanistic perspective could not have a major36Childhood, Child Development and Learning

Perspectives in DevelopmentUnit 3impact on the field of human development, primarily, due to its inabilityto identify any sort of broad developmental change that is the resultof increasing age or experience (Feldman, 2010). Some conceptdrawn from the humanistic perspective like self – actualization, havehelped describe important aspects of human behaviour. Self –actualization is a state of self – fulfillment in which people achievetheir potential in their own unique way (Maslow, 1970).3.4.3 The Contextual PerspectiveThe contextual perspective suggests a broad approach todevelopment. The contextual perspective considers the relationshipbetween individuals and their physical, cognitive, personality andsocial world. Psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner’s bio- ecologicalapproach and Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory are the two importanttheories under this perspective.A. The bio-ecological approachThe bio ecological approach suggests that five level of theenvironment simultaneously influence individuals (Bronfenbrenner,2000).a.Microsystem: It is the everyday and immediate environmentof child’s daily life. Parents, teachers, caregivers, all influencechild’s behaviour. However, child is not a passive recipient, s/he actively help construct the microsystem, shaping his/herimmediate world.b.Mesosystem: It connects various aspects of microsystem.The mesosystem binds children to parents, students toteachers, friends to friends, and so on.c.Exosystem: It represents broader influences of socialinstitution such as school, community, local media etc. Eachof these institutions can have an immediate and major impacton personal development.d.Macrosystem: It represents the larger cultural influences onChildhood, Child Development and Learning37

Unit 3Perspectives in Developmentan individual including society, religious and political valuesystem, and so on.e.Chronosystem: It underlies each of the previous system. Itinvolves the way the passage of time including historical eventsaffects child’s development. For example, a massiveearthquake, a terrorist attack in a city may affect asizestheinterconnectedness of the influences on developments. As thevarious levels are related to one another, a change in one level ofthe system affects other levels. Bio-ecological approach stressesthe importance of cultural factors that affect development.B. Vygotsky’s Socio-cultural TheoryThe socio-cultural theory stresses how cognitivedevelopment proceeds as a result of social interactions betweenmembers of a culture (Vygotsky, 1979). Vygotsky argued thatchildren’s understanding of the world is acquired through theirproblem solving interaction with adults and other children. Whilechildren play with others, they learn what is important in their societyand as the same time develops cognitively. Socio-cultural theoryemphasizes that development is a reciprocal transaction betweenthe people and the child.3.5INFLUENCE OF NATURE AND NURTURE ONDEVELOPMENTNature refers to traits, abilities, and capacities that are inheritedfrom one’s parents. It encompasses any factor that is produced by thepredetermined unfolding of genetic information – a process known asmaturation. These genetic, inherited influences are at work as we movefrom the one – cell organism created at conception to the billions of cellsthat make up a fully formed human (Feldman, 2010). Due to the influence38Childhood, Child Development and Learning

Perspectives in DevelopmentUnit 3of nature your eyes are brown or blue, have thick hair or thin hair, and so on.Nurture, on the other hand, refers to environmental influences thatshape our behaviour.The ways parents discipline their children, the ways peer pressureeffects on children, and the socioeconomic circumstances of a family etc.are some of the environmental influences that shape the behaviour of theindividuals.However, neither nature nor nurture stands alone in mostdevelopmental matters.Although our genetic background orients us toward particularbehaviour, this behaviour will not necessarily occur without an appropriateenvironment. People with similar genetic background e.g. identical twinsmay behave in different ways. People with different backgrounds maybehave quite similarly. Psychologists differ with their opinion with regard toinfluence of heredity and environment or intellectual development. Heredityplays an important role, but environmental factors like exposure to goodreading materials, schools, intelligent people etc. play important role.CHECK YOUR PROGRESSQ 2: Answer the following question in about 40words each.(i) What are the five levels of environment that influenceindividuals?.(ii) According to socio-cultural theory, how children acquireunderstanding of the word?.Childhood, Child Development and Learning39

Unit 3P

UNIT 3: PERSPECTIVES IN DEVELOPMENT UNIT STRUCTURE 3.1 Learning Objectives 3.2 Introduction 3.3 Concept of growth, development and maturation 3.4 Major Theoretical Perspectives 3.4.1 The Psychodynamic Perspective 3.4.2 The Humanistic Perspective 3.4.3 The Contextual Perspective 3.5 Influence of Nature and Nurture on Development

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