In life, human beings go through a process of development. Many theorists have come up with ways of explaining the development through stages or a continuous series. There is a need to examine the theories that explain the steps to understand this growth pattern. The inside-out and outside-in approaches also makes help explain the language development procedures.
Sigmund Freud’s Development Theory
Stage theories are theories that describe the development processes in the growth of children to adulthood. During such events, people exhibit typical behavior patterns at each stage. They build certain capacities at the stages that enable them to cope with life (Shenk, 2010). The developments are only in particular age groups in a person’s growth. Development across the lifespan of every individual takes the form of very distinct stages through to adulthood.
One of the theorists who put the scenes into perspective is Sigmund Freud. Freud’s theory of psychosexual development states that personality becomes evident by the age of five. The experiences in one’s early life help to develop a person and influence behavior in his or her later stages in life (Diem-Wille, 2011). If a person skips certain steps during this development, he or she becomes fixated at that stage. According to this stage theory, there is the oral stage, the anal stage, the phallic stage, the latent stage, and the genital stage.
The oral stage begins at birth to one year. The child’s primary interaction with the world is through the mouth. The child learns and adapts to the use of mouth to eat, laugh, suckle, and taste. The anal stage begins from one year to three years (Diemi-Wille, 2011). The child at this stage begins to learn the control of the bladder and bowel. The parents need to train the child on toilet issues until she can do it on her own. The phallic stage ranges from the age of three to six years.
The Id’s primary focus is on the genitals. The child starts getting attracted to the opposite sex. The boy undergoes the Oedipal complex while the girl experiences the Electra complex. The kids start adopting the characteristics of the same sex parent. It results in the formation of the super-ego. The latent stage is between six years and eleven years. The child suppresses the Id’s energies and continues to develop the superego. The child begins to develop social skills and makes friends outside the family circle. The genital stage starts at the age of eleven years up to eighteen years. Puberty sets the stage rolling. The person develops attraction with the opposite sex. She now becomes a reliable person. However, if there was fixation at any stage, then the characteristics of that stage can become relevant later in the person’s life.
Freud’s theory has attracted both criticism and positive feedback. The scientific and feminist critics have some observations to make (Shenk, 2010). One is that the argument is biased towards the male child development. It picks little information on the girl’s psychosexual development stages. It is also not easy to test the theory scientifically. The scientists have been unable to measure contexts such as the libido. The future predictions of the theory have no proof as to relate to occurrences of the past. The theory was only concentrated on case studies and not solid research. The adult patients in the study could not provide concrete information about the development.
The Inside-out and Outside-in Theories
The inside-out theory deals with the language development from the internal perspective. It is called the Internal Language development. The development begins from a disorganized, crying newborn baby to an organized and well articulated spoken words. She starts telling stories and inventing things with easy words (Diemi-Wille, 2011). The I-language is something that happens to the child and not necessarily what the child does. It is the private and in-built adaptive way of learning things. The child develops the urge to learn the language and begins with simple pronunciations until he can make sentences. Noam Chomsky focused his studies on the internal knowledge.
The outside-in language development model refers to the acquisition of knowledge through environmental exposure. As the child grows and interacts with people like parents and teachers, he learns to develop a language with their help. Theorists like Andy Clark, Edwin Hutchings, and Lev Vygotsky were more concerned with the study of the tongue acquisition from the environment. Vygotsky’s research on E-language was to establish the language function through the social interaction.
The I-language proponent discovered the learner’s ability as being innate and intentional. The learning desire focuses on the individual and initial state (Diemi-Wille, 2011). The E-language proponent, Vygotsky, discovered that the desire is empirical and embedded on the learner’s desire through interactions.
For Chomsky, the child has learned more than the experience can provide in the environment. The words from a person are clear and in delicate and intricate ways. Vygotsky’s theory thrives on development. It is a process and happens throughout a person’s life. The changes and factors that cause such change are necessary to establish the growth patterns in an individual.
Chomsky agrees that children have a natural curiosity to learn the language. They do not need anyone to tell them what to say (Shenk, 2010). They just develop a mechanism of understanding what things and people mean to them, and they have an urge to form a communication sign or word. Their cognitive structure grows in the long run and helps them to attach meanings to the words they speak. They acquire symbols at the tender age and carry them along with adaptive changes as they grow.
Vygotsky has a different view. He believes that children are pre-adapted to learning. They have to associate with various people in their growth patterns to align to particular habits. They are ready and willing to learn from those that they will meet in life (Diemi-Wille, 2011). The active participants are mainly family members, and the next group is the teachers. Others join this list as friends and partners who help to shape the language in a different perspective.
Vygotsky also thinks that the development of a language is a cause. It does not just result from cognitive development. The child learns some things not because he has chosen to, but that others have made him develop the urge. For instance, going to school is not a choice that the child does. It is the parents and guardians who think it is the right thing to do. The child may start choosing the career after he has gone through various education stages. Although the involvement of adults makes a difference in a child’s life, it may not necessarily become the gratification of a child’s needs.
Diemi-Wille, G. (2011). The early years of life. London, UK: Karnac.
Shenk, D. (2010). The genius in all of us. New York, NY: Doubleday.