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Stage Development Theory

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The education and development of children is a complicated task in that the educator not only has to accomplish certain curriculum requirements but must also socialize the child to efficient and effect learners.  Consequently, one of the most challenging goals is to move the child from expecting immediate enforcement to being intrinsically rewarded for efforts and accomplishments.  In other words, it is critical for the future learning success of the child to create a motivational atmosphere that becomes internal for the child.  Stage Development TheoryStage development theory can assist in this process by suggesting the most effective methods for motivating the child in such a way that the learner becomes intrinsically motivated.

Stage development theory suggests that there are phases in which skill level and cognitive processes may develop.  Thus, for the child to progress in the development of cognitive process or skill level, the student must “complete” the previous stage.  As he or she moves through the stages or phases, there is a building of knowledge and ability that forms the foundation for the next phase or stage.  This suggests that the child is deficient in some skills at the initial stages or phases and must achieve those skills before moving to the next stage in development.

Research demonstrates that the affective qualities of the educational environment have a tremendous impact upon achievement in the classroom.  Interestingly, these researchers have differentiated between affective level and cognitive level, indicating that the two are not related.  Of course, since the order of emotions that individuals develop are consistent, this would suggest that there could be a stage theory with regard to the development of emotions that is closely connected to stage development theories of cognitive development.

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