CTET Child Development Theories

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Are you aspiring to pursue a career in education in India? The CTET Exam is an examination conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education at a national level to determine eligible teachers for teaching classes 1 to 8. Understanding child development is essential for any educator, be it to understand the students personally or to develop effective teaching pedagogy methods. Here is a blog that will cover the three CTET Child Development Theories that are part of the CTET Exam curriculum and will help in your CTET Study plan and notes.

Also Read: CTET Syllabus

Credits: Arihant Publications

Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

Developed by Jean Piaget, a child psychologist, this is one of the most prominent theories around the cognitive development phase. Piaget proposes the importance of maturation and how learners interact with their environment and develop complex reasoning and knowledge. 

Credits: Sprouts

The theory proposes various stages of cognitive development depending on the perception and observation of a person. The CTET Child Development Theories syllabus covers the four stages. 

Also Read : CTET Books

Stages of Piaget’s Theory

  1. Sensorimotor Stage (Birth to 2 years) 
  • The compound word combines “senses” and “motor skills.”
  • It is characterized by the reflex actions of infants and children.
  • They used their own physical or motor skills to develop cognitive skills or make their own world.
  1. Pre-operational Stage (2 to 7 years) 
  • This period happens before operational thought is developed.
  • Partially logical thinking or thought begins during this age. 
  • Also called the ‘ego-centric stage’. 
  • Pre-operational thinking can be and usually is illogical.

For example, a child thinks that a tall slender glass has more water than a short wider glass just based on the looks of it,  even if the volume of the water is the same in reality. 

  1. Concrete Operational Stage (7 to 12 years) 
  • Concrete means real or tangible. 
  • Logical thinking starts with this period. 
  • Children need concrete objects to demonstrate and to reach conclusions.

 For example, we can find children of this stage solving mathematic problems with the help of blocks and fingers. 

  1. Formal Operational Stage (12 years and above)
  •  Abstract thought starts to develop.
  • This stage encompasses the rest of our lives. 
  • Children become more capable of dealing with complex issues than in previous stages.

Also Read: Top 10 Toughest Exams in India

Kohlberg’s Perspectives on Moral Development

Developed by Lawrence Kohlberg, an American psychologist, this theory mainly involves how children develop their ability to make moral decisions. Kohlberg’s Perspectives on Moral Development theorized six stages when people grow through three levels when they develop their moral reasoning, which is covered in the CTET Child Development Theories syllabus:

Stages of Kohlberg’s Perspectives on Moral Development

  1. Preconventional level (Mainly a test of morality)
  2. Punishment and obedience orientation
  • People are motivated by trying to avoid punishment.
  • They understand that their actions are bad if they get punished and good if they do not get punished. 
  1.  Self-interest or Individualism
  • People are motivated by self-interest
  • However, though the elements of fairness are reciprocated, the emotion of ‘if you do harm to me, I will do to you’ exists.

3. Conventional Level (contains two levels and adolescence mainly operates in this level)

  1. Good boy-good girl concept
  •  People make moral decisions intending to get people to like them.
  1. Law and order orientation
  •  This means performing one’s duty properly and respecting authorities

 4. Post Conventional Morality (People define their values related to ethical values)

  1. Social terms in contracts – Rules of society can change for its welfare, and they are not rigid.
  2. Universal ethical principles
  • People try to consider other’s interests when they make moral judgments.
  •  At the same time, they try to discover some means to serve their needs.
Credits: Sprouts

Limitations of Kohlberg’s perspective on moral development theory: 

  • Mainly emphasizes reasoning rather than actual behavior
  • Shows that children’s moral behavior and reasoning may be pretty weak.
  • Most philosophers believe that values should be a part of individual thinking so that a person’s actions could be in harmony with their thoughts.

Also Read: Courses after BA

Lev Vygotsky Zone of Proximal Development

Developed by Lev Vygotsky, this theory is related to both cognitive and social development. This social-cultural theory discusses how social interactions play a vital role in children’s cognitive development and describes the stages of speech and language. These stages are covered in the CTET Child Development Theories syllabus as:

Stages of Lev Vygotsky Zone of Proximal Development

  1. Scaffolding
  • Children learn within social interactions while communicating
  • Hence, it emphasizes the importance of language development for the cognitive development
  1. Cultural Aspects
  • Through formal and informal communication and education, others convey to children the way their culture interprets and responds to the world.
  • Precisely, when adults interact with children, they convey the meaning attached to objects, events, and experiences.
  1.  Speech and Language Development
  •  The primary assumption of the theory that thought and language become increasingly independent and essential in the first few years of life.

The Lev Vygotsky zone of proximal development theory concludes that adults have an essential role in developing a child’s behavior through scaffolding. Therefore, it emphasizes the importance of language development learning and teaching in the child’s cognitive behavior and development.


Important CTET Child Development Theories

Here are some more important CTET child development theories:

Attachment Theory by John Bowlby

The Attachment theory was developed by Bowlby in order to study children and their emotional attachment with their primary caregivers. Bowlby argued that attachment with the primary caregivers in a child’s life played a significant part throughout their lives.

  • He argued that attachment was not a learned behaviour rather it was evolutionary and all children possessed an innate attachment to their primary caregivers.
  • Infants and children grow attached to adults who offer care and comfort to them especially during stressful situations. 
  • Bowlby argued that those children who had caregivers to provide care, comfort and nourishment were more likely to transition into and survive till adulthood.  
  • There are four stages in the attachment theory: Pre attachment Phase (Birth – 6 Weeks), Attachment in Making” Phase ( 6 Weeks – 6 to 8 Months), Clear Cut” Attachment Phase ( 6-8 Months to 18 Months-2 Years), Formation Of Reciprocal Relationship (18 Months – 2 Years and on)

Erikson’s 8 Stages of  Psychosocial theory

Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s Psychosexual Theory, Erik Erikson developed the eight stages of psychosocial theory. These stages are vital to a child’s personality development and each stage is defined by two conflicting feelings/emotions that children at various ages (till adulthood) must confront and overcome to become confident individuals. The 8 stages are:

  • Stage 1: Infancy period: Trust vs. Mistrust
  • Stage 2: Early Childhood period: Autonomy vs. Shame, doubt
  • Stage 3: Play Age period: Initiative vs. Guilt
  • Stage 4: School Age period: Industry vs. Inferiority
  • Stage 5: Adolescence period: Identity vs. Identity confusion
  • Stage 6: Young Adulthood period: Intimacy vs. Isolation
  • Stage 7: Adulthood period: Generativity vs. Stagnation/Self-absorption
  • Stage 8: Old Age period: Integrity vs. Despair

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems theory

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological systems theory talks about the impact of the environment on a child’s development and personality. Bronfenbrenner argued that children are a part of different ecosystems and all contribute towards the growth and these ‘ecosystems’ interact with one another to influence the child and his behaviour. The five systems are:

  • Microsystem
  • Mesosystem
  • Exosystem
  • Macrosystem
  • Chronosystem

More theories on Child Development

YouTube: Brentwood Open Learning Colleges
Child Development Theory Explanation Theorist 
Cognitive Tools Theory Focuses on five understanding or cognitive tools a child learns such as Somatic, Mythic, Romantic, Philosophical and Ironic.   Keiran Egan
Object Relations Theory Focuses on the relationship between an infant and a mother Melanie Klein
Separation-Individuation Theory Focuses on the period wherein the child forms a sense of ego and separates himself/herself from the mother Margarat Mahler
Social Learning Theory Explains human behaviour as a consequence of observation, modelling and imitation.  Albert Bandura

Questions & Answers

  • Which of the following implications cannot be derived from Piaget’s theory of cognitive development?
    1. Acceptance of individual differences
    2. Sensitivity of children’s readiness to learn
    3. Discovery learning
    4. Need of verbal teaching

Answer: 3

  • What was one of the earliest scientific studies of child development?
    1. Piaget’s case studies of his own children
    2. Freud’s case studies of his patients
    3. Darwin’s case study of his son’s development
    4. Binet’s research into children’s intelligence

Answer: 1

  • Which indicates the change in the quality or character of a child?
    1. Growth
    2. Development
    3. Learning
    4. Environment

Answer: 2

  • Who gives more stress to the philosophy of social constructivism?
    1. Piaget
    2. Vygotsky
    3. Dewey
    4. Kohlberg

Answer: 2

  • Learning depends on cognitive development__________
    1. Always
    2. Never
    3. Sometimes
    4. None of the above

Answer: 1

  • The best place of social development for a 12 years old child is ________
    1. Family
    2. Neighbourhood
    3. School
    4. Playground

Answer: 4

  • ________ is the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge.
    1. Personality
    2. Aptitude 
    3. Intelligence
    4. Attitude

Answer: 3

  • According to Jean Piaget, which of the following is necessary for learning?
    1. Active exploration of the environment by the learner
    2. Observing the behaviour of adults
    3. Belief in immanent justice
    4. Reinforcement by teachers and parents

Answer: 1

  • Kohlberg has given which of the following?
    1. the stages of cognitive development
    2. the stages of physical development
    3. the stages of emotional development
    4. the stages of moral development

Answer: 4

  • According to Piaget, a child between 2 to 7 years is in the _________ stage of cognitive development.
    1. Formal operational
    2. Concrete operational
    3. Sensorimotor
    4. Preoperational

Answer: 4

  • In Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory, which level signifies the absence of morality in the true sense?
    1. Level III
    2. Level IV
    3. Level I
    4. Level II

Answer: 3

  • The Attachment theory was founded by:
    1. Sigmund Freud
    2. John Bowlby
    3. Gestalt 
    4. Piaget 

Answer: 2

  • Who developed the Separation Individuation theory?
    1. Margaret Mahler
    2. Albert Bandura
    3. Gestalt 
    4. Freud

Answer: 1

The three CTET Child Development Theories discussed in this blog cover all the aspects that are tested in the CTET Examination. We hope this blog facilitated your understanding of CTET Child Development theories. To know more about the CTET Exam and for the latest updates around study blogs, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & also subscribe to our newsletter. Leverage Edu wishes you all the best for all your future endeavours.

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