Main aspect of theorists
Jean Piaget was a zoologist who became interested in children??™s cognitive development as a result of working on intelligence tests. He noticed that children cosistantly gave ???wrong??™ answers to some questions and began to consider why this was. Piaget used his own children to make detailed observations and gradually developed a theory that has been very influential. Piaget??™s theory is a ???constructivist approach??™ as he suggested some children constructed or built up their thoughts according to the world around them. He thought learning was an ongoing process, with children needing to adapt their original ideas if a new peice of information seemed to contradict their conclusions. Piaget used specific vocabulary to describe the process of children learning this way.
Piaget??™s theory can help us to understand why children??™s thinking is sometimes different to ours.
Freud??™s theory suggested that there were three parts made up of our personality. The ???id??™, the ???ego??™ and the ???superego??™. Not all of these parts are present at birth but develop with the child.
* The id- this is the instinctive part of the personality. It is governed by the drives and the needs of the body, such as hunger or pleasure. The id does not consider how meeting desires and wants will affect others and so is often thought of as the selfish and passionate component. Freud suggested that babies had only the id when they were born.
* The ego- The ego has a planning role. It works out how to meet the id??™s needs and desires in the best way. The ego develops from the id in the first few months. In some situations the ego may make the id wait for its demands to be met.
* The superego- This develops later in childhood. It tries to control the ego. It compromises two elements: the conscience and the ego-ideal. The conscience will punish the ego if it misbehaves, or will reward if it shows good behaviour. This is the source of pride and confidence.

Maslow looked at people??™s motivation. He came to the conclusion that people had certain fundamental needs which had to be met before they could begin to fulfil their potential. If the basic needs were not met, they would create a deficiency in the person. His basic needs are hierarchical, but all have to be met before a person can achieve self-actualisation.
Morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts
Self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others
Friendship, family, sexual intimacy
Security of: body, employment, resources, morality, the family, health, property
Breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion

Skinner is recognised in being a key figure in developing the behaviourist approach to learning theory, and in particular, for developing the theory of operant conditioning.
Skinner suggested that most humans and animals learn through exploring the environment and then drawing conclusions based on the consequences of their behaviour. This means that people tend to be active in the learning process.
Skinner divided the consequences of actions into three groups-
* Positive reinforcers
* Negative reinforcers
* Punishers
Children need frequent positive reinforcement as this helps them to learn wanted behaviour.

Watson took up Pavlov??™s work (1849-1936) and demonstrated that children and adults could be classically conditioned. In a famous experiment, which would now be considered unethical, he created a phobia of rats in a small boy, known as little Albert.

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