Theories of human development have been studied by people for many years. There are a lot of approaches to this problem. Different scholars take different issues as the basis for their studies. There is no common approach to this problem. The development of humanity is one of the most difficult and complicated problems in the world. This problem has been studied for many years and the decision has not been made yet. How to teach people this question is the other big problem. There are also a lot of methodologies and approaches to how to do this.
There are two main theories of human development: behavioral and social-cognitive. People’s behavior, their interconnection inside the family and with other people is taken into consideration in the behavioral approach. The behavioral system investigates the close emotional bond between parents and children (Newman, 2007). Newman (2007) also points out that the behavioral system is central in the question of the survival of species.
People do not have knowledge from their birth, they learn it from their close relatives by copying their behavior. The ability to learn from experience is the basis for the behavioral theory, and the experience of other people is also taken as an example of people’s behavior. (Dewey, 2005) Learning from experience forms people’s habits. Communication style, tastes, and other points are usually copied by children.
According to the social cognitive theory, “emotions may contribute to attention and investment in the solution to central problems” (Newman, 2007, p. 9). The social cognitive theory of human development explains to us how people can receive knowledge, and how they can use this knowledge during their life in different activities. People’s feelings and emotions are the main points of investigation in this theory.
Both theories of human development may help us in understanding how education occurs and how it influences people’s life. People have realized that education is very important in modern life. People try to get as much information as they can for less time of studying. The definition of learning is given by Schunk (2004) in his work, “Learning is an enduring change in behavior or in the capacity to behave in a given fashion, which results from practice or another form of experience”.
Education is very important in human life. Modern education is built on the principle of age. The idea, that people of the same age can get almost the same scope of knowledge, is the main principle of public education. Methods of learning of 5 years old children are very different from those of 40 years old, and this principle is taken into the basis of modern education. While learning the same information, people of different age groups percept this information differently, they explain it taking into consideration different approaches.
The difference in age is seen through people’s beliefs and hopes, through their ideas, when they feel happy and miserable (Dewey, 2005). There are a lot of studies that offer the reader different types, styles, and methods of learning according to the age group.
The groups of students, divided according to age classification, are elementary-age students, high school students, young adults, and senior citizens. The methods of learning with different age groups are rather different, which is predetermined by the common mental and physical characteristics of people. Let us consider all these age types of students and take music education as an example of analyzing the peculiarities in their studies.
Children of elementary school age are more curious about different events, they are more creative and their imagination is more developed, they go to school with desire and doubtless (Dewey, 2005). Children control themselves better; anger is not the main trait in their characters. Children’s minds are “empty”, open for the information, and children percept and remember any information better. Music tones are very easy to remember and distinguish for them. The earlier child begins to study music, the better and faster he/she will be able to achieve success in his/her skills and get some experience.
Notes are remembered better by children. There are cases when people are tone-deaf. Children at an early age can be taught to “hear” music. The peculiarity of children’s character is that they are very active and cannot stay too long in one place and to be occupied with one activity. Music is such an activity which requires assiduity, staying in one place for a long time and children do not possess such qualities.
Both, behavioral and social cognitive theories should be used to teach children music. The choice of both these theories of human learning development predetermines the age peculiarities of this group. People’s behavior is copied by children. It is natural for them to do this as coping with people’s behavior is the main instrument in their learning. Children’s mind is very flexible and easy to influence. Emotions are the main instrument in social cognitive human learning development theory. Children’s mind is constructed in such a way that they absorb not only new information but also the spirit in which this information is given.
Children are not very responsible and may forget about classes, but there is a tendency that children may be influenced greatly and their responsibility may be formed through influencing their conduct. Dewey (2005) notes that there is no direct influence on people’s behavior except physical influence, but adults influence children’s behavior by implication. This means that children absorb new information without understanding what they do, on an unconscious level.
High school student is the age category which comes next. Personal life is the main consideration for high school students and they are very busy with it but at the same time, they are still opened to everything new. The emotions in this age fulfill students, so the social cognitive type of human learning development may fit the best.
Students want to try something new at this age; they want to get from life all that is possible to get. The desire to get everything right now is the negative side of this age group in the question of education. High school students’ attention is not paid to study much, living full life is their prerogative.
The other side in this age category is the field of interest. If somebody is interested in something (music in our case), so its achievement it will be the main idea for him/her. The desire to show everybody that they are eager to achieve success is the other side of this age group. The music abilities are still rather high at this age. A good music teacher may succeed in his teaching even to tone-deaf students.
Young adults’ category is rather difficult to teach because of the age peculiarities. People are not young, they have already found themselves in society and their characters are already formed. There are teachers who think that it is too late to study music at this age, the others insist that it is never too late to study. People of this age category are rather busy with their personal affairs, as their lifestyle has already been established and to find time to regular classes of music is very difficult for them.
On the other hand, young adults understand the aim of these classes, and this understanding plays a great role in knowledge achievement. There is one fact that may prevent music study in young adults. Young adults are not children anymore. The information is more difficult to be perceptive and to be understood. When these students are not eager to cope with the heavy-duty which they have chosen, they become irritated and angry. Adults are more aggressive in their behavior (Shiner and Caspi, 2003). Good perception of knowledge is prevented by anger. The process of study begins to be an obstacle and the desired results are not seen.
These emotions should be directed to the other, useful part of the classes. Music, in our case, is the expression of deep emotions. Young adults are moved by their emotions in their life, so the social cognitive theory of human learning development is best applicable in this case.
Music becomes be hobby what is the peculiarity of this age group. The way of life has already been chosen but the desire to learn music may be a great incentive to achieve success. Music, still, is not so serious for them. This hobby may start and last for a very long time, but it also may finish in a week or two. The personal character of individuals is the departing point in this question.
The group of senior citizens is the last age group in our classification. The biggest part of live of these people has already been lived. That feeling and desire to catch up what they have lost or did not have time to achieve during their life becomes very strong. They begin to look back in their past. Such learners try to be very attentive. To teach them easy in the meaning that they understand what they do and want to do this as better as they can. The age is the main minus. People at this age cannot remember so much information. The concentration on the learning is rather difficult for them, as the attention is frustrated.
Teaching this age category, we return to behavioral human learning development theory. Old people like children, they should be carefully shown what they are required and then long term trainings may bring some success. Imitation is the main instrument in learning this age category.
Murray and Chapman (2003) inform us about the improvement of the learning on every level of studying with all age groups. Quality control and total quality management, when are taken together, are fundamental notions in learning (Murray and Chapman, 2003).
The main idea in education in every theory of human learning development is stimulus. Stimulus is an inside factor which influences the desire to study. Young adults and high school students are usually more conscious when they are aimed to have some activities. (Dewey, 2005). The responsibility of this age group is higher and the results will be better and achieved faster.
So, the problem of the development of learning in different age categories of people has been studied. The advantages and disadvantages of beginning to study music in this or that age were identified. So, to summarize this information we may say that children in their early age are the most free and open for information, but at the same time they are too active and cannot concentrate their attention on one subject for a long time.
The concentration of the attention for senior citizens is rather difficult because of their age, and they are not opened for new information as the memory is weak. It may be said that high school students and young adults are the most appropriate for music learning. Personal character and desire to achieve anything in this life is the main factor. Different people have different characters, and these characters are the main factors in deciding whether this or that student is able to start music learning or not.
Education is very important in people’s life. There are a lot of ways and approaches of how to develop skills and knowledge in people. Different people have different visions of these approaches and try to implement their own views into the educational system, but the division on the age categories remains the main approach to the system of education in the society. Two main principles should be used in the education, that is motivation and control, and the choice of what way to teach, which human learning development theories to choose depends on people’s age category.
Dewey, J. (2005) Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. Cosimo, Inc.
Murray; P. & Chapman, R. (2003). From continuous improvement to organizational learning: Developmental theory. The Learning Organization; 10, 4/5.
Newman B.M. (2007). Theories of human development. Routledge.
Schunk, D.H. (2004). Learning theories: An educational perspective (4th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Shiner, R. & Caspi, A. (2003). Personality differences in childhood and adolescence: measurement, development, and consequences. Journal of Child Psychiatry. 44:1.