Eric Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory:
According to Erikson the transition that occurs from childhood to adulthood is important. It is time of independence, and a time when a child evaluates choices about relationships, families, jobs, and how they might live. It is time when the child learns about adulthood and choices. The period marks an important time in an individual’s life. Children are becoming more independent, and begin to look at the future in terms of career, relationships, families, and how they want to live. The individual wants to belong to a society and fit in. (Mcleod, 2008)
For a teacher this means that lessons need to touch on the development of the child in the above areas: career, relationships, family, and home.
For example while studying US history a lesson might incorporate how careers were chosen and what options people had in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. “In 1614 some colonist were allowed to rent plots of land. Most of what they grew on the land was their own” (72). The idea of only being able to farm as a source of income and farm on rented ground can be a start of decisions on how the colonies grew and how jobs grew and how people developed new jobs and work and move to what sort of work students might want to do as adults.
Drawing a diagram or a diorama showing where people were born and tracing where they ended up working uses physical skills and mental skills. It also gives a visual of how the person fits in society and how relationships were formed through partnerships, marriage, and family.
Going through the daily motions of farm work in a reenactment uses physical skills and problem solving mental skills that encourage learning. Erickson theorized the young adults need to focus their development on forming and understanding relationships, and family and finding a purpose to life and to try to develop a way to live the life they envisioned.
Jean Piaget’s Cognitive Constructivist Theory:
Piaget theorized that children’s had to be psychologically mature to undertake new tasks. During the young adult years they develop and “Can think logically about abstract propositions and test hypotheses systematically plus they become concerned with the hypothetical, the future, and ideological problems” (Piaget, 2013).
There is an assumption by the teacher that a student has to grow by steps to learn new material. In teaching about the growth of the colonies the teacher would go through a detailed list of the things that happen and their consequences. How colonists tried to farm, and how the rocky New England soil made it difficult and so many turned to trade. This should be laid out in a logical manner and the students should be encouraged to hypostasize what might happen as the colonies developed and then compare them to actual events. To give students the ability to develop on a physical level they may model build towns and add on new places of business.
Also it is important to incorporate teams to complete learning skills and objectives. Teams help students develop needed social and emotional skills and build on already learned skills.
While Erikson and Piaget differ somewhat they both focus on the development of skills and the growth of the student’s emotional, physical, and social abilities.
- Goldfield, David., Abbot, Carl., Anderson, Virginian De John., Argersinger, Jo Anne., Peter H. Argersinger, Barnry, William Barney.,Weir, Robert M., The American Journey. The American Journey: A History of the United States, Combined Volume, Reprint (6th Edition)
- Mcleod, Saul. (2008) Erik Erikson. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from: http://www.simplypsychology.org/
- Piaget, (2013) Learning and Teaching. Retrieved from: http://www.learningandteaching.info/