Leading scholars have not yet come to the consensus as to what technique is the most conducive to the holistic development of the child. Such term as holistic development is multidimensional; this notion comprise two constituent parts: intellectual and moral growth. Overall, it is quite possible to single out the following theories of education: behaviorist approach, constructivism, cognitive and observational learning. In my opinion, none of them must be overlooked or disregarded. One can hardly give preference only to one of these approaches; probably it is more prudent to combine.
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On the whole, many educators support the theory, developed by the prominent French psychologists Jean Piaget. He was firmly convinced that children learned through action; in this way, they formed their perception of reality. According to him, this process is gradual and it consists of five stages. There is no necessity to enumerate all of them here; yet their essence is that a toddler constructs and deconstructs his or her concepts about the surrounding world.
From my point of view Piagets cognitive theory is one of the most effective because it enables the child to make unbiased and unprejudiced conclusion. It is always necessary to inculcate autonomy and independence to children. This can be applied both to intellectual and moral evolvement.
In this respect, we should remember the theory of education, advanced by Vygotsky. He was also an advocate of cognitive learning and development. But he took a slightly different look at this issue. For instance, according to him, children may develop each others potential through interaction. Consequently, the educator paid special attention to teamwork, and cooperation in the classroom. Vygotsky believed that this interaction helped them to make their own judgment about the reality and also about the moral aspects of their actions.
Yet, he urged us not to forget the role of a teacher, who should act as a mediator. Probably, these two techniques can be interwoven. It should be taken into consideration that the teacher must not turn into some kind of supervisor who gives practically no independence to the pupils. On the contrary, I think that he or she should only facilitate their work without apparently intervening.
As it has been noted before none of the above-mentioned approaches should be ignored. For instance, we may focus on behaviorism, namely on the ideas, expressed by Burrhus Frederic Skinner, who stressed the importance of active observation.
To a certain degree, these Piagets and Skinners theories are analogous to each other, yet it should be borne in mind that American educator adhered to the principle of conditioning. In other world, he suggests that children should be either rewarded or punished for their behavior. In this context, the word conditioning can be defined as stimulation or reinforcement. Naturally, some scholars argue that this operant conditioning reminds whip and carrot and it will yield no good results in the long run.
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Nonetheless, it should be pointed out that parents can provide this stimulation in very inconspicuous ways so that the child should feel like being bribed. Apart from that, punishment, itself, may also be almost unnoticeable. Occasionally, it is quite sufficient just to demonstrate that some forms of conduct are not acceptable in a civilized society. Overall, an educator may combine these two theories of education.
To conclude, teachers may choose from several techniques, which may effectively used in order to ensure holistic development of the child. The synthesis of several approaches such constructivism and behaviorism appears to be the most promising, because it grants certain autonomy to the children and at the same time allows parents and teachers to regulate this process.