Connection to Play Experiences
In putting the different development theories on a table, it could be understood how one works, how one differs from the other, what brought to its existence and to whose theory can you relate your development most. With regards to my play experiences, I find I can relate to Erik Erikson and his theory called the “Theory of Psychosocial Development,” because it is the most accurate in explaining how my play experiences helped me develop into who I am today. David Shaffer gives a brief discussion of Erikson and this theory in his book, entitled, “Social and Personal Development,” stating that, “Erikson is labeled as ego psychologist because he believed that each stage of life, people must cope with social realities in order to adapt successfully and show a normal pattern of development” (Shaffer, 2009, p. 41). This research paper discusses the ways by which the Erik Erikson and the Theory of Psychosocial Development relates to my childhood play and how the theory can be applied to children during their classes to facilitate efficient learning.
I can relate to Erik Erikson, first and foremost, because he is an educator. He was a professor at Yale and Harvard despite not having any bachelor’s degree. His works in the fields of psychology and psychoanalysis are influenced by works of Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis. He is the author and creator of the Theory of Psychosocial Development which is also known as Erikson’s Theory of Personality (Friedman, 2000, p. 47, 49). Just like me, Erik Erikson observes his students – his young students. It is from his observations that he formulated the said theory.
I can also relate to the Theory of Psychosocial Development; because, I can now understand my behaviors during my play times when I was still young. The theory describes eight psychosocial stages which people undergo through their developmental years. These stages are the Infancy, Early Childhood, Preschool, School Age, Adolescence, Young Adult, Middle Adulthood and Maturity Stage. Erikson explains that for each stage, a child develops unique characteristics and behavior. For example, during the infancy stage (18th month of existence), the child learns two conflicting principles called trust and mistrust. According to parents, during my childhood play experiences, they would usually help me play toys that cause diverse rattling sounds. Consequently, I came to recognize these sounds and trust them – in the sense change my mood when I hear them. For example, my parents told me that whenever I cry exhaustively, they would hand me the toys and help me make the sounds. After hearing the sounds, I begin to calm down and fall asleep.
The next stage is the Early Childhood Stage which is defined to start when one turned two years old up to his or her third year of existence. Its basic conflict is Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt. Given that its concept revolves in a child developing control over skills and trying to be independent. When I was still on this age bracket, I could remember myself locking the room while playing with my toys. With that, I make myself realize that there is no one inside the room to help me out or to play with me or make me do stuffs. In this stage, I also put into practice the lessons that my mom gave me like not to pee on carpets and on the halls. These experiences made me realize how this theory works for me. The theory also explains, exactly, why I was delighted with patterns and shapes when I was in preschool. According to Erikson, during this stage, children start exploring their surroundings. They also start to recognize patterns. During my childhood plays at this stage I was, indeed keen to patterns. I would draw different figures and recognize shapes. I delighted in games that involve matching spaces with shapes – like putting a triangle inside a triangular hole. I was also keen to different colors, and I could relate them to the colors of objects in my surroundings. For example, I color leaves red and sun yellow or orange. During my childhood plays, my mother would give a set of crayons and let me color some objects in a coloring book. Lastly, Erikson’s description of the school age stage is very accurate in describing my childhood play when I was between 6 years old to 10 years old. Erikson explains that during this stage the child learns the principle of industry and inferiority. It is during this stage that the child is highly competitive, which is true based from my personal experience. When I was 9 years old, I would get into a fight with my playmates. I would always want to win, and when I do not win I try to blame other people until I get into a fight with them. After the fight the truth sinks into my heart and would feel that I am inferior to my playmates because I lost. Sometimes, I strive hard or train hard at home to win on our next games – this is a sign of industriousness.
As an educator, I find Erik Erikson’s theory to be applicable in of teaching. I now understand that people love doing or playing different things at different stages in their lives. This means that I must teach different age groups differently. I may use games in teaching them. I now realize that we can learn from playing – it is not just a tool for recreation but also a tool for learning. Before, I thought that children need to be inside the classroom and strictly monitored so that they will not engage in playing – I thought that this is the best way that they will learn. But now, I understand that they can learn better if we engage them in playing, and then injecting the knowledge that we want them to learn while they play.
Learning does not have to be boring – it can be fun. When we are enjoying on what we do, we tend to learn more. But our level of enjoyment differs according to stages in our lives. Hence, we should have a variety of things to do that makes us enjoy. There should be different play experiences for every student depending on their age brackets. We, as educators, can use these play experiences to teach the children and to help them acquire the knowledge they should have at specific age. This can also help us evaluate the progress of each student – whether they learned something or they need any additional attention to learn. One thing is for sure: Educators should know how to make learning an enjoyable thing.
Friedman, L. (2000). Identity’s Architect: A Biography of Erik H. Erikson. Harvard University Press.
Shaffer, D. (2009). Social and Personality Development. Cengage Learning Inc.