People always say that children are the future, and they are right. That is what makes understanding how children develop so crucial. Understanding how children develop has many important implications; it can help parents raise their children more efficiently, assist society in making informed decisions about policies regarding children’s welfare, and to help us to understand human nature (Siegler, DeLoache, & Eisenberg, 2011).
An important part of understanding how children develop is understand the ways in which they learn. Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory emphasizes that the main tools of development are observation and imitation, rather than reinforcement. Bandura states that children learn most efficiently by watching and imitating others. Bandura was different from other learning theorists, because he believed that children played an active role in their own learning, a concept that he called reciprocal determinism (Siegler, DeLoache, & Eisenberg, 2011). Social Learning Theory is very important for understanding how children develop because parents and educators have to be aware of what they are modeling, as well as the types of TV, movies, video games, books, etc. that children are viewing to ensure that children are learning appropriate behaviors.
Albert Bandura found that preschool children can acquire new behaviors through observing others, so specifically in the preschool classroom I hypothesized that I would see some of the children learning new behaviors, by watching the instructors or other children in the classroom, or even from a TV show or movie they saw at home.
Another psychologist who viewed children as social beings was Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory is a cognitive development theory that views children as social beings, who are shaped by the culture around them. Vygotsky believed that children were shaped by their interactions with others, skills learned from others, the artifacts that children interact with, and the values of the larger society that they belong to. Vygotsky stressed continuous, quantitative changes and largely focused on the relationship between language and thought. He believed that there were three stages of internalized speech. In the first stage behavior is controlled by the statements of other people. In the second stage behavior is controlled by private speech, in which children tell themselves aloud what to do. In the third and final stage behavior is controlled by internalized private speech, in which children silently tell themselves what to do (Siegler, DeLoache, & Eisenberg, 2011). While it was not directly discussed in our book, a large part of Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory, was the zone of proximal development. It is related to social scaffolding and Vygotsky defined it as “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult...