Theoretical Perspectives of Child Development
There are many factors that affect a child's development, and there are many theories that attempt to explain different developments in the life of a child. The following is a list of theoretical perspectives of child development. While no one theory is completely correct, all of these theories have valuable information that should be gleaned from them.
Maturational perspectives ascertain that the level of neurological development and the genetically directed increase of physiological developments directly affects the development of physical abilities. This is reflected when a child's writing ability increases throughout years of schooling because of the neurological growth that occurs (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 22). It is also obvious as a child hits puberty, and the child's body starts to physically mature.
Psychodynamic perspectives theorize that when children and young adults face social decisions they are directed by the impulses presented by sexuality and aggression, but they are also led by a need for social contribution and acceptance (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 22). Through many different stages children learn to use their impulses in a way that is constructive to society (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 22). This concept is exemplified when a student hits another student, or lashes out at teachers or parents. As a child develops and receives feedback on his reactions the child will learn to deal with these impulses in a better way such as playing an instrument or planting a garden.
Cognitive developmental perspectives suggest that children add to their own development intellectually. As children face conflicts they rearrange their perspectives and develop new methods of dealing with challenges and viewing the world. A good example of this is when a child has a problem learning arithmetic, and the child develops a system of remembering and figuring out the problem.
Behavioral learning perspectives suggest that children will actively work in order to gain recognition and the things they enjoy (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 22). Children will learn from observation what behavior is rewarded and use these ideas to gain their own rewards. This is reflected when a student tries to improve his grades in order to receive recognition of the teacher.
Evolutionary perspectives theorize that a child's behavior and personality may be reflected by the basic will to survive and be reproductive. This theory suggests that behavior is reflected by the genetic inclination to survive.
Information processing perspectives ascertain that the way a child remembers and processes information changes over time, and as a child becomes older the child can better choose what information is retained(McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 22). This is noticeable as children are young, and are confused easily by instructions.
Socio-cultural perspectives suggest that the cultures that a child is brought up in has a direct impact on how and what a child learns(McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 22). This is obvious when children are actively involved in habits that are valued at home or in the community; an example of this is a child who reads many books because his parents read on their own time.
Developmental system perspectives theorize that many factors within and outside of the child affect the child's development. Many different paths may be taken to achieve one same goal, and many children may take the same path to achieve very different results.
Life span perspectives are very interesting theories because they ascertain that a child's development may be influenced by life changing events (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 22). These events may happen globally, locally, and on a personal level. Some of these events occur through age and are natural. This is exemplified when a child is affected by the divorce of a parent.
All of these theories hold very valid ideas, and they should be taken into consideration when dealing with children and studying the development of children.
McDevitt, T., & Ormrod, J. (2004). Child Development: Educating and Working with Children and Adolescents (2nd ed.). : Prentice Hall