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3.8: Summary, Key Words and References

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    Chapter summary

    Understanding development, or the long-term changes in growth, behavior, and knowledge, helps teachers to hold appropriate expectations for students as well as to keep students' individual diversity in perspective. From kindergarten through the end of high school, students double their height, triple their weight, experience the social and hormonal effects of puberty, and improve basic motor skills. Their health is generally good, though illnesses are affected significantly by students' economic and social circumstances.

    Cognitively, students develop major new abilities to think logically and abstractly, based on a foundation of sensory and motor experiences with the objects and people around them. Jean Piaget has one well-known theory detailing how these changes unfold.

    Socially, students face and resolve a number of issues— especially the issue of industry (dedicated, sustained work) during childhood and the issue of identity during adolescence. Erik Erikson has described these crises in detail, as well as social crises that precede and follow the school years. Students are motivated both by basic human needs (food, safety, belonging, esteem) and by needs to enhance themselves psychologically (self-actualization). Abraham Maslow has described these motivations and how they relate to each other.

    Morally, students develop both a sense of justice and of care for others, and their thinking in each of these realms undergoes important changes as they mature. Lawrence Kohlberg has described changes in children and youth's beliefs about justice, and Carol Gilligan has described changes in their beliefs about care.

    On the Internet

    This is part of the website for the Society for Research in Child Development, an organization that supports research about children and youth, and that advocates for government policies on their behalf. The specific web page recommended here contains their press releases, which summarize findings from current research and their implications for children's welfare. You will need to register to use this page, but registration is free.

    This is the website for the American Psychological Association, the largest professional association of psychologists in the English-speaking world. From the homepage you can go to a section called "psychology topics", which offers a variety of interesting articles and press releases free of charge. Among other topics, for example, there are articles about obesity and its effects, as well as about factors that support (and/or detract from) children's well-being.

    Key terms


    Cognitive stages
    Jean Piaget
    Sensorimotor stage
    Object permanence
    Preoperational stage
    Dramatic play
    Concrete operational stage
    Formal operational state
    Hypothetical reasoning

    Moral development
    Lawrence Kohlberg
    Carol Gilligan
    Morality of justice
    Preconventional justice
    Ethics of obedience
    Ethics of mutual advantage
    Conventional justice
    Ethics of peer opinion
    Ethics of law and order
    Postconventional justice
    Ethics of social contact
    Ethics of universal principles

    Social Development
    Erik Erikson
    Abraham Maslow
    Lawrence Kohlberg
    Carol Gilligan
    Psychosocial crises
    Trust, autonomy, and initiative
    Intimacy, generativity, and integrity
    Maslow's hierarchy of needs
    Deficit needs
    Being needs

    Morality of care
    Survival Orientation
    Conventional care
    Integrated care


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