Basic Philosophies of Education
I agree with Erik Erikson that people face eight major crises and that each crisis must be resolved successfully to
prepare for a satisfactory resolution of the next life crisis (Ormrod, 2006; p.69). For example, if an infant has difficulties
trusting adults in the trust versus mistrust stage, this infant may have problems trusting people later on in life, which
may cause the other stages to be altered. In the classroom, this child who has had difficulties trusting people in his or
her life will not be able to fully trust his or her teacher. This will lead to weak rapport between this particular student
and the teacher. As a result, the student may not feel as though the teacher truly is concerned about his or her well being,
thus performing poorly in the classroom.
I agree with John B. Watson
that infants can be molded or influenced; however, I disagree that the child is passive and knows nothing (Shaffer& Kipp;
p.52). I believe that nature and nurture plays an equal role in children. Watson believed that nurture dominated nature. I
have a cousin that was adopted. His biological parents were both extremely bright children, and he is highly intelligent as
well. Also, is parents were from poverty stricken families and tended to get into a lot of trouble and act as if they had
little education. My cousin was brought up in a very wealthy neighborhood, never got into trouble, and speaks intelligently.
This proves that biological forces from his parents as well as the environment shaped the way he and his parents acted. I
disagree with Watson and John Locke that the infant’s mind is as a tabula rasa (Webb, Metha, & Jordan, 2007; p.111).
I believe that all individuals acquire some traits of their biological parents, regardless of their present environments.
I disagree with Skinner that all behaviors come from being conditioned (Shaffer et al, 2007). I believe some behaviors
come from being conditioned. I agree that nature plays a large role in humans’ behaviors as well. His experiments proved
that some behaviors could be conditioned.
Bandura agrees with Skinner in that operant conditioning is a way of learning, but believes that people
are cognitive beings (Shaffer et al, 2007). Bandura believed that one could be taught a behavior by modeling (Zirpoli, 2005;
p.34). Like Bandura, I believe that children are active and are affected by what they believe will happen. I also believe
children could be taught some things by modeling.
I agree with Piaget partially. I agree that the child is an active explorer who develops the scheme around him and
will use assimilation and accommodation if something doesn’t fit in his or her scheme (Ormrod, 2006). However, there
are many aspects of his theory that I disagree with. For example, Piaget concluded that knowledge has to be constructed. Similar
to the neo-nativists, I believe infants are born with knowledge because it is a part of their genetic heritage. I came to
this conclusion after reading of Wynn’s experiment. In the experiment, 5-month-old infants were shown a sequence of
events that involved the addition or subtraction of objects. If the infants had some understanding of addition, they would
be surprised at the results. This proved that infants had a certain level of object permanence and memory (Shaffer et al.,
I also believe that Piaget was wrong concerning egocentrism with
preschool children. In John Flavell’s study, 3-year-olds were showed a
card with a dog on the front and a cat on the other side (Shaffer et al., 2007). The children understood that as they saw
the dog, the person on the other side would be viewing the picture of the cat. This indicated that they knew what another
person was seeing at the moment.
I also disagree with him that children in the preoperational stage
cannot learn to conserve. A study by Dorothy Field showed 4-year-olds with identity training could conserve and use their
knowledge to solve many conservation problems that they were not trained to do (Shaffer et al., 2007).
Piaget was also wrong in suggesting that the cognitive growth was consistent. For example, an 8-year-old may be able
to conserve (Shaffer et al., 2007). Children master concepts at different times and in different orders. I believe that cognitive
growth is not necessarily consistent. I agree with Piaget that the student should engage in independent, discovery-based activities,
but I also agree that they should work in groups to learn from one another. I agree that the experiences children have affect
the rate of their development. I believe that children’s cognitive development influence their social and emotional
I disagree with Piaget in that analytical reasoning is not available
in the early years of one’s life. Usha Goswami concluded that relational primacy hypothesis is present in early infancy.
Several 1-year-old infants were tested by having a toy placed out of their reach with a string on a cloth connected to the
toy and another string not connected to the toy. With modeling, these infants chose the correct string, indicating they were
able to use analytical reasoning (Shaffer et al., 2007).
I agree with Lev Vygotsky that children are active learners and that children’s intellectual development is closely
tied to their culture (Shaffer et al., 2007). Like him, I believe that infants are born with a few elementary mental functions
that are transformed by their culture into higher mental functions. For example, children may use a tape recorder in class
to remember what the instructions were. Also, the Chinese number-naming system follows a base-ten logic. For example, 11 is
translated as “ten one” and 12 is translated as “ten two.” In the English language, 11 is refereed
to as eleven and 12 as twelve (Shaffer et al., 2007). The Chinese culture have the advantage in this case of understanding
how to count more so than Americans have.
I also agree with Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development which indicates the range of tasks that are too complex
to be mastered alone but can be accomplished with guidance and encouragement from a more skillful partner (Shaffer et al.,
2007). Children understand quicker and easier with the help of someone on a higher level than they are. A study done by David
and Roger Johnson proved that cooperative learning resulted in superior performance in more than half of their 378 studies
(Shaffer et al., 2007). I further agree with Vygotsky that the nonsocial utterances of children illustrate the transition
from prelinguistic to verbal reasoning (Shaffer et al., 2007). I believe that this language plays a major role in cognitive
development. I also believe that the environment affects the cognitive development of the individual.
Although I partially agreed
with information from each theorist’s point of view, my theory best represents Lev Vygotsky’s theory. I believe
that God prepared us from birth to make sense of the world. He has given us innate knowledge. Children are active learners
and their intellectual development may depend on their specific culture.
Ormrod, J. E. (2006). Educational Psychology: Developing Learners.
Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson- Merrill Prentice Hall.
Shaffer, D.R. & Kipp, K. (2007). Developmental Psychology:
Childhood and Adolescence. Australia:
Webb, L. D., Metha, A. & Jordan, K. F. (2007). Foundations
of American Education. Columbus, Ohio:
Pearson- Merrill Prentice Hall.
Zirpoli, T. J. (2005). Behavior Management: Applications for Teachers.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey:
Pearson- Merrill Prentice Hall.