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Human Growth Theory

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There is no one model of human growth that I feel adequately explains the human growth process. In my opinion, aspects of the contextual, organismic, and mechanical models are all useful in determining an overall view of human growth. The model of human development in which I most identify with is the social learning (or social cognitive) theory of Alfred Bandura, with a few modifications. Bandura's theory combines elements of both behaviorism and cognitivism. I believe that the value to think is important in any model due to the fact that I have witnessed what appear to be cognitive processes governing the behavior of even very small children. I have seen the "light bulb go off" in a child as he or she begins to understand something previously unknown. I also agree with the theory that our ability to understand and anticipate consequences helps govern our actions. Finally, by placing an emphasis on self-efficacy and one's opinion of it, there is a cognitive spin on this theory that goes well with my theory of learning being a very important factor in growth,

In my opinion it is also very important to examine the effect that environment plays on a child, specifically the child's immediate environment. Bandura's theory approaches this somewhat when he talks about imitation & social influences on the child. Many of his ideas are so common sense such as modeling, in which a person patterns a behavior after someone or something else, that they are just assumed to be almost universally true. I have also witnessed children who dress up like their mother or a symbolic figure like superman or batman. The only explanation I can offer for this behavior is that children learn not only through thinking & other cognitive behavioral aspects, but also by watching and socializing. Finally, we have all known children whose environment was so chaotic that they developed various cognitive or social deficits.

There are some areas that this theory does not address that I believe is relevant to human growth & would need to be included in a complete model. The first of these is the biological component. I am not really involved in the nature versus nurture argument because I believe that both are important to the healthy growth of a child. In my model, much of the nurture side of this equation would follow the social learning model. I also feel it is important to briefly give my opinion of how biology or the organisimic aspect is involved. Just like nurture, nature is not absolute defining or confining. Each person is made up of a specific set of genes that are unique for each person. Our gene sequencing determines if we are going to be short, tall, blue-eyed, left-handed, etc. In my opinion these factors give each person a unique set of advantages and disadvantages that influence a person throughout his or her life. For example, I have encountered people that have a very high innate ability to learn things,



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