by Terrie Spieker
In the field of teaching, instructors can rely on several theories as a framework to guide the creation of a lesson plan, classroom management program, and assessment strategy. For seven years, I served the community of Littleton, Colorado, as a Teacher in the public schools, and I implemented several strategies designed to achieve specific student learning objectives. To become successful as teachers, individuals must obtain a basic understanding of educational and developmental theory, and I have compiled a short list of some of the most popular educational theorists in history. 1. Jean Piaget. This psychologist and philosopher viewed the education of youth as the most important factor in a civilization. He developed a theory that defined four stages of development: sensorimotor (birth to age 2), preoperational (ages 2 to 7), concrete operational (ages 7 to 12), and formal operational (onward from age 12).
2. Sigmund Freud. A well-known psychoanalyst, he divided the human mind into the id, ego, and super ego. These three levels, which each exist to satisfy the wants of the individual, support his belief that a human acts on conscious and unconscious impulses.
3. Erik Erikson. This developmental psychologist is commonly known for his theories on social development, as he believed that the immediate environment that a child grows up in dictates his or her identity, growth, adjustment level, and self-awareness. Erikson also defined eight theories of personality, which progress from hope to wisdom over the course of an individual's life.
4. Lev Vygotsky. Another theorist who considered social interaction and interaction with one’s environment as some of the most important factors in cognitive development, Vygotsky greatly supported the role of play. He viewed the concept of play as a means for children to grasp abstract meaning that is different from the physicality of the world.
5. B. F. Skinner. This behaviorist’s theories influenced education and psychology practices. He thought that any age-appropriate skill could be taught to any child, but a teacher must follow a certain pattern of steps that involve pinpointing the subject, breaking the project down into achievable steps, allowing the student to try, adjusting the program so that the pupil can be successful, and reinforcing the individual’s performance.