Essay Observation of Preschool and Elementary Classrooms

Essay Observation of Preschool and Elementary Classrooms

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People always say that children are the future, and they are right. That is what makes understanding how children develop so crucial. Understanding how children develop has many important implications; it can help parents raise their children more efficiently, assist society in making informed decisions about policies regarding children’s welfare, and to help us to understand human nature (Siegler, DeLoache, & Eisenberg, 2011).
An important part of understanding how children develop is understand the ways in which they learn. Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory emphasizes that the main tools of development are observation and imitation, rather than reinforcement. Bandura states that children learn most efficiently by watching and imitating others. Bandura was different from other learning theorists, because he believed that children played an active role in their own learning, a concept that he called reciprocal determinism (Siegler, DeLoache, & Eisenberg, 2011). Social Learning Theory is very important for understanding how children develop because parents and educators have to be aware of what they are modeling, as well as the types of TV, movies, video games, books, etc. that children are viewing to ensure that children are learning appropriate behaviors.
Albert Bandura found that preschool children can acquire new behaviors through observing others, so specifically in the preschool classroom I hypothesized that I would see some of the children learning new behaviors, by watching the instructors or other children in the classroom, or even from a TV show or movie they saw at home.
Another psychologist who viewed children as social beings was Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory is a cognitive development t...

... middle of paper ...

...lly the opposite, during the activities that I saw them do they were supposed to work alone and not talk to other students. Perhaps this was an example of children being a product of their culture. Being independent is valued in the individualistic culture of the United States and perhaps working alone is an example of this. This concept was not discussed specifically by Vygotsky, but was introduced by some other sociocultural theorists. So, I believe that Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory could be improved by including that the concept that children are products of their own specific culture.

McLeod, Saul. (2010). Zone of Proximal Development. Retrieved from
Siegler, R., DeLoache, J., & Eisenberg, N. (Eds.). (2011). How children develop (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

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