Essay about Critical Reflection On Learning Theory

1265 Words Oct 18th, 2015 null Page
Critical Reflection on Learning Theory in Early Childhood

How children learn during their early childhood is a question that has been forefront in the minds of educators, theorists, and psychologists, among others, for centuries. Despite of this, the answer to the question of how children learn is yet to receive a concrete answer. On the contrary, learning theory in early childhood is ever evolving with new theories often devised out of a critique of their precursor. One learning theory that had received particular attention, both positive and negative, is that of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980). What follows is a critical reflection of Piaget’s theories with particular attention given to his stages of child development theory, its strengths and limitations and the implications this has on current practice within the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Piaget supported the constructivist viewpoint that children learn by constructing their own knowledge through exploration and discovery of their environment. This constructivist view is oppose to the once dominant behaviourism theories that postulated children learn passively by receiving knowledge from adults (Whitebread, 2000b, cited in Robson, 2012). The teacher is central to a child’s learning and by delivering repetitive positive and negative reinforcement is able to shape a child’s behaviour over time (Wild, 2007). In contrast, Piaget held the view that “development precedes learning, and we develop in order…

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