Theory and Literature Selection

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In a 3-4 page paper, choose 1 theorist described on page 14 of your text and include the following:

  • A synopsis of your chosen theorist’s contribution to development.
  • At least two strategies for integrating children’s literature with your chosen theorist. 
  • A literature selection that is not given in the text for each strategy and an explanation of why you made each literature selection.
At a minimum, use two external sources, in addition to the course text. Remember to cite all references using APA style.

page 14.docx 

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The theories we’ve discussed thus far fall neatly into the realm of developmental psychology. There are other theorists, however, who are not so easily classi-fied as developmental, but who have made significant contributions both to development and to children’s literature. We also trace their influence on children’s literature throughout the book. Abraham Maslow Abraham Maslow ( 1987), a humanistic psychologist at Brandeis, proposed a theory of human needs that has remained with us to this day. Basic to his thinking was the belief that if we can convince children that they should— and can— fulfill their potential, they will embark on the path to self- actualization, which requires the satisfaction of a hierarchy of needs. According to Maslow, there are five basic types of needs: physiological ( hunger and sleep), safety ( se-curity, protection, stability, and freedom from fear and anxiety), love and belonging ( need for family and friends), esteem ( reactions of others to us as in-dividuals, and also our opinions of ourselves), and self- actualization ( feelings of restlessness unless we are doing what we think we are capable of doing). The needs at the base of the hierarchy ( physiological and safety) are assumed to be more basic than the needs higher in the hierarchy. ( See Chapter 13 for a more detailed discussion of the power of Maslow’s motivational needs and their relationship to chil-dren’s literature.) Albert Bandura An important theorist whom we’ll discuss in the pages to come is Albert Bandura, with his theory of social cognitive learning. In his work Bandura has stressed the potent influence of modeling on personality de-velopment ( Bandura, 1997). He called this observa-tional learning. In a famous statement on social ( cognitive) learning theory, Bandura and Walters ( 1963) cited evidence to show that learning occurs through observing others, even when the observers do not imitate the model’s responses at that time and ob-tain no reinforcement. For Bandura, observational learning means that the information we acquuire from observing and reading about other people, things, and events influences the way we act. We en-courage teachers, librarians, and others to offer the biographies and autobiographies we review through-out the book as models for the children they serve. The importance of models is seen in Bandura’s interpretation of what happens as a result of observing others. For example, by observing others, children may acquire new responses, or strengthen or weaken existing responses. Finally, if children witness unde-sirable behavior that is either rewarded or goes un-punished, undesirable behavior may result. Howard Gardner Another theorist who has made major contributions to our knowledge of development is Howard Gardner ( 1983, 1991, 1993, 1997). Gardner has forged a tight link between thinking and intelligence with his theory of multiple intelligences. An especially intriguing aspect of Gardner’s work is the insight it provides into those indi-viduals who possess penetrating mathematical vision but are baffled by the most obvious musical symbols. Gard-ner attempted to explain this apparent inconsistency by identifying eight equal intelligences: linguistic, musical, logical- mathematical, spatial, bodily- kinesthetic, inter-personal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. We discuss Gardner’s work in greater detail in later chapters and sug-gest to teachers and librarians many books that reflect the intelligences of their students. Lawrence Kohlberg Among the more notable efforts to explain a child’s moral development is that of Lawrence Kohlberg ( 1975, 1981). Using Piaget’s ideas about cognitive development as a basis, Kohlberg’s moral stages emerge from a child’s active thinking about moral issues and decisions. Kohlberg formulated a sophisticated scheme of moral development extending from about 4 years of age through adulthood, and we constantly see his ideas come to life in the unfolding of children’s stories, from The Cat in the Hat ( Seuss) for preschoolers to Understanding the Holy Land: Answering Questions about the Israeli- Palestinian Conflict ( Mitch Frank) for young adults. Lev Vygotsky No discussion of theoretical contributions would be complete without mentioning Lev Vygotsky. Since we devote a portion of Chapter 6 to his work on the zone of proximal development and scaffolding, we’ll just briefly state here that Vygotsky believed that children’s mental development depends on the interactions that they have with those around them. In other words, Vygotsky was one of the first to recognize the impact that the environment has on a child’s development.
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