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Children Learning Theorists




Learning theorists emphasize the role of environmental influences in shaping the way children develop. In this view, child development is not only guided deliberate but also unintended learning experiences in the home, school, peer group, and community. Therefore, childhood growth is significantly shaped by the efforts of parents, teachers, and others as well to socialize children in desirable ways.
 
One kind of learning occurs when a child’s actions are followed by a reward or punishment. A reward increases the probability that behavior will be repeated. For example, a young child may regularly draw pictures because he receives praise from his parents after completing each one. In the other hand, a punishment decreases the probability that behavior will be repeated. For example, a child who touches a hot stove is not likely to touch the stove again. Chidren behavior is affected by its consequences.

Children learn much of what they know simply by observing others. Classical conditioning is occured when a child makes a mental association between two events, merely encountering the first stimulus produces a response once associated only with the second stimulus. For example, babies begin sucking when they are put in a familiar nursing posture. Other kind of learning consists of imitating the behavior of others. A boy may acquire his father’s style of talking, his mother’s tendency to roll her eyes, and his favorite soccer player’s moves on the court. In doing so, he also acquires expectations about the consequences of these behaviors. Learning through observation and imitation affects behavior and thought of children.

Children learning theories provide extremely useful ways of understanding how developmental changes in behavior and thinking occur. These theories can be studied scientifically and practically by the parents or teachers. Critics point out, however, that because of their emphasis on the guidance of the social environment, learning theorists sometimes neglect children’s active role in their own understanding.



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