AbstractVery few theorists have impacted and influenced child development as did the work of Jean Piaget and Arnold Gesell. Although they stand at opposite poles, both have recorded facts useful to parents and professionals alike. This paper presents the highlights of their theories and focuses on their major differences.
The views of Piaget and Gesell on how development occursIntroductionIn Psychology, very few theorists have impacted and influenced child development as did the work of Jean Piaget (1896-1980) and Arnold Gesell (1880-1961). Although they stand at opposite poles, both have recorded facts useful to parents and professionals alike. Piaget's contributions to learning theory and intellectual development have helped shape many educational programs in our schools, while Gesells schedules of behavior development are still used as clinical and diagnostic tools by many pediatric developments. (Meyerhoff, 2007)While they have contributed a tremendous amount of knowledge about growing infants and children, we will be analyzing their main theoretical views on child growth and development as well as discussing the differences between the two.
Gesell's theory on developmentGesell said that the child's growth or development is influenced by two major forces: The environment and the action of the genes. Gesell called this process maturation (Crain, 2005). He observed that a child's development occurred in a fixed order through a series of stages. This is an outstanding feature in maturational development. (Gale Group, 2001).
By observing how an embryo adhered to a specific order in its own development, Gesell proposed that a child post natal neuromotor development also followed a strict specific order (Crain, 2005).
His concept of maturation allowed him to see that just like a baby learns to run by first sitting, then standing, then walking, the principles of maturation also have a "rate" of development that is controlled by internal genetic mechanisms...