Learning is a process in which knowledge, behaviors, skills, and lessons are obtained through either experiences, the action of being taught, and or studying. Development is a process that fosters growth and change, often centered around what has already been learned and the long-term goals in relation to such material. When discussing general psychological constructivism, Piaget is most commonly thought of, as he conceptualized the idea of ways in which long-term development determines a child's ability to learn, rather than the reversal (Sutton). Early stages of a child's development are self-centered and revolve heavily on the his or her environmental interactions. Consider this, as a child immerses him or herself into his or her surroundings, the child's initial skills, whether they be language or behavioral, are limited. With school related resources and peer support, development is encouraged, therefore, improving upon language and behavioral skills, and resulting in a child who is not only teachable, but now capable of continual learning. Regardless of a child's age, his or her ability to learn is dependent on their current stage of development. By looking at each grade level in relation to a stage of development, it is understood that a teacher is responsible for creating a classroom in which certain skills are taught, and also a space in which a child can independently interact and eventually be prepared for more difficult aspects of verbal related learning.
Vygotsky, a social constructivist, stands in opposition to those such as Piaget, by highlighting the need for social interaction in promoting child development (Sutton). He suggests that language and verbal interactions are primary, and development occurs as a result, the opposite of Piaget's ideas. When a child is born and in the very early stages of development, language skills are limited, which in turn emphasizes the importance of interaction and experiences with experienced individuals who are able to foster a zone of proximal development. In the years prior to schooling, a child's parents are deemed the "experts," and once formal schooling commences, teachers fulfill that "expert" role and continue to expand a child's capability. By providing a child with new conversational experiences and beneficial verbal interactions, a teacher fulfills their responsibility of helping a child to learn skills that promote and progress long-term development.
Sutton, K. S. and R. (n.d.). Educational Psychology. Lumen. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/educationalpsychology/chapter/major-theories-and-models-of-learning/.
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