Socialcontexts provide people with an opportunity to learn different skillsthat may be useful in a professional or personal life. However,different people acquire skills in the social contexts depending ontheir respective development stages. Erikson’s theory ofdevelopment is based on the notion that the process of humandevelopment can be divided into eight stages, where people experiencetwo conflicting ideas in every phase (Sacco, 2013). This paper willprovide a discussion of two learning situations (including parentteaching a child and on-the-job training), aspects of culture that islearned, and explain how the incidents support the Erikson’stheory.
Parentteaching a child
Childrenlearn the basic skills of life from their parents or caregivers. Kidsmay learn different skills by observing their caregivers or throughan active teaching process, where they are instructed on how to dodifferent things. I selected the “parent teaching a child"situation because it is one of the most common types of learningsituations in a family setting. In my assignment, I observed my mumteaching my younger brother, who is aged three years. During myobservation, I saw my mother teaching my brother the basic skillssuch as using the toilet, playing with toys, and wearing clothes. Inoticed that my mother used different strategies to teach my youngerbrother different skills. For example, she taught him how to make hisbed by doing it as he observed, undoing it, and then asking him torepeat what he saw. He seemed excited to learn new skills byrepeating them as they were being done by an adult, irrespective ofhow small they appeared. When it came to speaking, my mother taughtthe kid by asking him to repeat both the simple and difficult words.He could make mistakes in pronunciation, but demonstrated animprovement over time.
Thekid was eager to learn and appeared happier with every new skill thathe got from his mother. However, I observed a common trend in all thelearning activities, where the child refused to do things in theexact way in which he was being taught. For example, he often refusedto play with toys that were presented to him and ask for alternativeones. I could hear my mother once in a while say “you have becomestubborn”. In addition, the kid could refuse to wear the clothesselected for him and suggest what he wished to put on.
Basedon Erickson’s eight stages of development, the kid in question canbe classified in the second phase. Children in the second phase ofdevelopment experience a type of crisis known as autonomy versusshame. During this stage, children struggle to build autonomy andself-esteem as they learn new skills and differentiate what is rightfrom what is wrong (Sacco, 2013). The tendency to become autonomousis attributed to the fact that children in the second stage startrealizing that they are separate from their caregivers. For example,the kid in question was taught how to do things (such as making thebed) on his own, which is part of the training program that leadstowards autonomy.
Childrenwho go through the second stage develop pride, instead of doubt andshame. The tendency to ask for an alternative toy and the clothes,other than those that were given to the boy is a sign of pride. Thisis because the boy could not shy away from expressing his opinion.Erikson held that children who are experiencing the autonomy versusshame crisis demonstrate defiance, stubbornness, and temper tantrums(O’Brien, 2010). However, these negative behaviors occur when thekid feels that the social interaction between them and the caregiverslimits their ability to make choices. For example, the boy felt happyafter successfully learning how to make the bed under his mother’ssupervision since this interaction was preparing and encouraging himto become independent and do things on his own in the future. On thecontrary, the act of being given what to wear and toys to play withjeopardized his efforts to become an autonomous person. Therefore,social interaction between the kids and their parents becomes warmwhen the adult takes the necessary measures to empower the childrento become autonomous.
Theemergence and the rapid development of the fast food restaurants haveopened job opportunities for many youths, where most adolescents workon a part-time basis. Some of them chose to work in order to create aplatform for their future career, while others intend to earn moneyand supplement the amount that they are given by their parents.Restaurants provide on-the-job training in order to give the basicskills to their newly recruited adolescents. I was lucky to observehow one of the local restaurants train adolescents, who are agedbetween 15-17 years. The restaurant I visited does not provide formaltraining programs. It recruits adolescents in groups of three andrequire them to work as a team under the supervision of anexperienced employee. After observing one of the teams, I noticedthat the supervisor was very supportive, which was confirmed byextensive involvement of the team members in planning for activitiesof the day and provision of assistance in any unfamiliar or adifficult task. However, the supervisor gave the employees thefreedom to work and only ask for assistance whenever they faceddifficult situations.
Accordingto Erikson’s theory, adolescents (including those who are aged15-17 years) experience the identity versus role confusion crisis.They try to develop the sense of self and establish their position inthe society. During this developmental stage, the superego identitymotivates the adolescents to discover the adult in them and a promiseof a good future (Sacco, 2013). This explains why many adults arewilling to take jobs in the fast food restaurants. These jobs helpthem interact, socialize, and learn more about the world of adults.They also start developing the sense of responsibility since they cantake care of some of their expenses.
Accordingto Erikson, adolescents try different “selves” and identities inorder to determine the one that suits them (Sacco, 2013).Consequently, the fast food restaurant does not invest heavily in thetraining of adolescent employees, since their turnover is high. Inaddition, Erikson observed that adolescents like exploring differentideas and setting goals. This was accomplished at the restaurant byengaging them in the process of planning for the day.
Underthe Erikson’s theory, there are three major training strategiesthat are more effective when training adolescents. The first strategyinvolves the demonstration of support to the learners (Collelo,2016). This was accomplished during the on-the-job training byoffering assistance to those who required assistance in difficulttasks and encouraging them to ask for help. Secondly, adolescentsvalue peer interaction in everything that they do (Collelo, 2016). Inthe present case, the restaurant recruited adolescents in groups ofthree and took them through the on-the-job training as a team inorder to facilitate peer interaction. Third, adolescents are able tounderstand the cause and effect relationship, which implies that theyshould be taught by being shown the reason for doing differentactivities, instead of being forced to do things that they do notunderstand. This was observed at the restaurant and adolescents weregiven the freedom to engage in different activities, where thesupervisor was only required to guide them.
Theoriesof human development explain how people behave, socialize, and learnin different stages. Erikson’s theory provides this explanationusing eight stages of development, but the present study was based onthe second and the fifth phases. During the second phase, a childstrives to become an autonomous person, who is able to make choicesand do different things without the help the caregiver. Consequently,children socialize and learn more when their caregivers equip themwith the skills that can help them achieve the goal of becomingautonomous. Defiance is experienced when the caregivers attempt tomake all choices for the kid, which is a way of limiting theirautonomy. Adolescents, on the other hand, socialize and learn morewhen they are engaged and taught by being told the reasons forcarrying out different activities.
Collelo,J. (2016). Erikson’s stages of psychosocial. PsychosocialDevelopment in Adolescents.Retrieved July 27, 2016, fromhttps://zanl13.wordpress.com/statistics/
O’Brien,C. (2010). Eriksonian identity theory in counterterrorism. Journalof Strategic Security,3 (3), 1-14.
Sacco,G. (2013). Re-envisaging the eight developmental stages of ErikErikson: The Fibonacci life-chart method (FLCM). Journalof Educational and Developmental Psychology,3 (1), 140-146.