In this essay I will discuss the comparisons and differences of the three models of theory and learning as identified by MacNaughton, Conforming, Reforming and Transforming (MacNaughton, 2003). This essay will look at how these theories are explained and can be applied individually or together within the learning pedagogy. My discussion will be of a reflective nature and include how I have understood these three models in relation to the early childhood learning environment and how I may relate them to my own developing education philosophy. Each theory will be discussed with a focus on one or two particular theorist. For Conforming I will look at theorists from both the nature and nurture perspective, Gesell and Skinner. The Reforming
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There have been a number of theorists that have had an influence on this approach, some that have created a learning environment for animals in their study such as Pavlov (1849 – 1936) and Skinner (1904 – 1990). Pavlov contributes to the behaviourist approach with his theory on classical conditioning and BF Skinner with operant conditioning. Classical conditioning is when people learn by association, and operant conditioning is when we learn to behave in a certain way because of either positive or negative reinforcement (McDevitt, 2002). Again the psychodynamic approach would disagree with the behaviourists approach as it does not take into account the unconscious mind and just focuses on external observable behaviour.
Now that I have a firmer understanding of both Maturationism and Behaviourism I can imagine these philosophies used in an early childhood environment. In fact I feel quite sure the conforming profile was very dominant in my own Pre-school and Primary school years. I remember being taught by rote and the feelings of inadequacies¸ pressure and assault on my self esteem. These feelings were all generated when it was time for tables and I thought, what if I get it wrong, please let it be a sum I know. It took all my efforts to stop myself from crying just because I had to stand up in front of the class, I had no energy left to remember my tables. Is there an easier way to for children to learn