What is a Theory?
Sigmund Freud’s Psychosexual Theory
|Name of Stage||Descriptions of Stage|
|Oral Stage||The oral stage lasts from birth until around age 2. The infant is all id. At this stage, all stimulation and comfort is focused on the mouth and is based on the reflex of sucking. Too much indulgence or too little stimulation may lead to fixation.|
|Anal Stage||The anal stage coincides with potty training or learning to manage biological urges. The ego is beginning to develop in this stage. Anal fixation may result in a person who is compulsively clean and organized or one who is sloppy and lacks self-control.|
|Phallic Stage||The phallic stage occurs in early childhood and marks the development of the superego and a sense of masculinity or femininity as culture dictates.|
|Latency||Latency occurs during middle childhood when a child’s urges quiet down and friendships become the focus. The ego and superego can be refined as the child learns how to cooperate and negotiate with others.|
Strengths and Weaknesses of Freud’s Theory
Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory
|Name of Stage||Description of Stage|
|Trust vs. mistrust (0-1)|
|Autonomy vs. shame and doubt (1-2)||Mobile toddlers have newfound freedom they like to exercise and by being allowed to do so, they learn some basic independence.|
|Initiative vs. Guilt (3-5)|
|Industry vs. inferiority (6- 11)||School aged children focus on accomplishments and begin making comparisons between themselves and their classmates|
|Identity vs. role confusion (adolescence)||Teenagers are trying to gain a sense of identity as they experiment with various roles, beliefs, and ideas.|
|Intimacy vs. Isolation (young adulthood)||In our 20s and 30s we are making some of our first long-term commitments in intimate relationships.|
|Generativity vs. stagnation (middle adulthood)||The 40s through the early 60s we focus on being productive at work and home and are motivated by wanting to feel that we’ve made a contribution to society.|
|Integrity vs. Despair (late adulthood)||We look back on our lives and hope to like what we see-that we have lived well and have a sense of integrity because we lived according to our beliefs.|
John B. Watson
B.F. Skinner and Operant Conditioning
Social Learning Theory
Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development
|Name of Stage||Description of Stage|
|Sensorimotor Stage||During the sensorimotor stage children rely on use of the senses and motor skills. From birth until about age 2, the infant knows by tasting, smelling, touching, hearing, and moving objects around. This is a real hands on type of knowledge.|
|Preoperational Stage||In the preoperational stage, children from ages 2 to 7, become able to think about the world using symbols. A symbol is something that stands for something else. The use of language, whether it is in the form of words or gestures, facilitates knowing and communicating about the world. This is the hallmark of preoperational intelligence and occurs in early childhood. However, these children are preoperational or pre-logical. They still do not understand how the physical world operates. They may, for instance, fear that they will go down the drain if they sit at the front of the bathtub, even though they are too big.|
|Concrete Operational||Children in the concrete operational stage, ages 7 to 11, develop the ability to think logically about the physical world. Middle childhood is a time of understanding concepts such as size, distance, and constancy of matter, and cause and effect relationships. A child knows that a scrambled egg is still an egg and that 8 ounces of water is still 8 ounces no matter what shape of glass contains it.|
|Formal Operational||During the formal operational stage children, at about age 12, acquire the ability to think logically about concrete and abstract events. The teenager who has reached this stage is able to consider possibilities and to contemplate ideas about situations that have never been directly encountered. More abstract understanding of religious ideas or morals or ethics and abstract principles such as freedom and dignity can be considered.|
Criticisms of Piaget’s Theory
Lev Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory
Comparing Piaget and Vygotsky
Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Model
|Name of System||Description of System|
|Microsystems||Microsystems impact a child directly. These are the people with whom the child interacts such as parents, peers, and teachers. The relationship between individuals and those around them need to be considered. For example, to appreciate what is going on with a student in math, the relationship between the student and teacher should be known.|
|Mesosystems||Mesosystems are interactions between those surrounding the individual. The relationship between parents and schools, for example will indirectly affect the child.|
|Exosystem||Larger institutions such as the mass media or the healthcare system are referred to as the exosystem. These have an impact on families and peers and schools who operate under policies and regulations found in these institutions.|
|Macrosystems||We find cultural values and beliefs at the level of macrosystems. These larger ideals and expectations inform institutions that will ultimately impact the individual.|
|Chronosystem||All of this happens in an historical context referred to as the chronosystem. Cultural values change over time, as do policies of educational institutions or governments in certain political climates. Development occurs at a point in time.|
Maria Montessori 'Method'
Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was n Italian physician and educator who developed the Montessori Method of teaching. She grew up with an interest in education and pedagogy, eventually opening up a center for underprivileged children. She discovered that children learn through a specialized environment, choosing what they wanted to work on and teaching themselves in the process. Maria is best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name for over 100 years, as well as her writing on scientific pedagogy. She developed learning materials and environments that supported a child’s innate interest in learning. "The key areas of learning in a Montessori environment include: Practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics and culture. She identified developmental phases, each with its own set of goals for learning: the development of individual self, social development, the ‘birth’ of the adult phase and the mature phase. In each phase, referred to as ‘windows of opportunity’, designed classrooms, with age-appropriate tasks and materials, are provided to maximize learning during these stages" (AMSHQ, 2021).
Within 6 years of opening her first school, there were teacher training sites and Montessori schools on 5 continents. Her first book "The Montessori Method" has been translated in 10 languages. Today, more than a million children attend public Montessori schools worldwide.
Her classrooms are designed around three key points: the teacher, the child and the environment. The teacher only offers guidance for building on skills as needed. The key principles of this method applied across all ages are:
Individual Instruction: Individual didactic materials are provided to allow children to learn at their own pace. Lessons are short, concise, direct and aimed at enhancing the child’s self-worth.
Self-Education: A carefully prepared learning environment is set up to respond to the needs of children exposing them to materials and experiences that stimulate intelligence and promote physical and psychological development.
Didactic Materials: Simple learning tools are provided for the toddlers and gradually moving up to more complex materials. Each piece of equipment is specifically designed to provide the child with a clear-cut experience, and then gradually lead to more complicated tasks, working at their own pace.
Specially designed environment: Maria Montessori came up with he concepts of child-sized furniture. All learning materials are within the child's reach. Classrooms are compromised of living plants and pets that the children care for. Mixed age groups (typically 2-6 year olds) encourages older children to be role models for their younger counterparts (it also creates a context of security), Learners also remain under the care of a teacher over a longer period of time than in a traditional setting.
Teacher’s role: Emphasis on learning rather than teaching. Teachers prepare and maintain the classroom to ensure that everything needed is within the children’s reach. They are consistently available to respond to a child's needs and guide them towards self-study, independence, and self-confidence.
Preparation for Multicultural Perspectives
As US schools are becoming more diverse, we need to have multiple ways of knowing, from multicultural perspectives in order to be culturally responsive, develop our cultural competence and critical consciousness (Broughton A., 2020). The influences of race, ethniciy, geography and sociopolitical traditions may not be considered in conventional child psychological theories. Unlike conventional theories, the NAEYC's position statement is inclusive of multi-ethnic perspectives, which provides a deeper context to what is known as child development. 42
The US Educations system needs to remember, and center the work of scholars of Black intellectual thoughts on early childhood link Oneida Cockrell, Lulu Sadler Craig, Amos N. Wilson, Gayle Cunningham, Beverly Tatum, Randy Story, Jean Monroe, Sarah Greene, Frances Brock Starms, Janice Hale-Benson, Jerlean E. Daniel, Maryann Cornish...and the list goes on. Entering their names to honor their contributions to the field of education (Broughton A., 2020). One such early childhood education expert is Brian L. Wright, Ph.D., whom has helped us understand and identify the promise, potential, and possibilities of black boys pre K- 12.
Brian L. Wright, Ph.D.
Dr. Brian L. Wright is a Program Coordinator of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership in the College of Education and Coordinator of the Middle School Cohort of the African American Male Academy at the University of Memphis. Dr. Wrights research examines the role of racial and ethnic identity in African-American boys/males in urban schools pre K-12. Dr. Wright’s current research examining quality Early Childhood Education Programs for all children, but especially those children living in poverty, Culturally Responsive and Responsible School Readiness for African American boys (preschool and kindergarten), Literacy and African American males, African American and Latino males as Early Childhood Teachers, and Teacher Identity Development. Drawing from the wealth of experience in early childhood education, Wright presents an asset- and strengths-based view of educating Black boys ages pre K-12. 43