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Educational Psychology Essay Sample

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Educational Psychology Essay Sample

            Ben’s family is close knit and complete.  He has both parents and a younger brother, Tyler.  His parents are young and busy but they always make time to partake family activities such as playing outside, going to the movies and visiting the park.  Ben also has a dog and is proud of him.  He takes care of his dog and is very fond of him.  He is also very fond of his daddy and he expresses this feeling when he reports about the handle they mended with his dad.  He also loves his younger brother Tyler and when he was born, he held him in his arms and remarked at how small his hands and toes were.  Ben is very nurturing of his brother and protects him by blocking him from anything that might harm him. Despite the affection that Ben feels for his brother, they often scream at each other or get physical whenever Tyler does something that Ben does not want him to.

            Ben cannot wait for his brother to grow so that they can share his room and he can sleep on the bottom bunk.  Ben is an intelligent boy and is very aware of his surroundings and events that happen in life, as seen on the way he talks of his grand father’s death.  He is able to express his views verbally but not his emotions.

            Socially, Ben seems to be struggling.  He is unable to relate well with friends or sustain healthy peer relationships.  Additionally, he has problems relating with adults as depicted in the relationship he has with his mother.  Whenever he is told to go to bed, he sulks and insists that he wants to watch TV.  Even when it gets to reading him a bedtime story, he gives his mom a hard time because he indecisive in choosing a bedtime story book and will not let his mother choose for him.  It seems he has to have his own way in any discussion.  The case is similar during playtime at school, he growls whenever a playmate does not comply with what he says.  For this habit, he is often timed-out.  The explanation behind this is that at Ben age he needs greater sense of control. That is of his food, his brother, his dog and even himself.   He has not yet crossed this stage, which is characterized by conflicts between autonomy vs. shame and doubt.  Although Ben plays alone he is always excited when he is invited to play with others.  He likes it when they go to the park and sing and make things.  Ben loves making friends and intrinsically he is friendly.  This is because of the programs that he likes, say, pango the friendly dragon and the super heroes who have many friends.

            In reference to Eriksson’s stages of development, Ben has yet to cross the crisis between shame and Autonomy.  This is because he exhibits self-doubt and a sense of inadequacy. Children who pass this stage are usually confident and secure, but not so with Ben.  In addition, at this stage Ben is trying to assert his power and control. For example, by directing Tyler and his classmates and by initiating play.  However, these skills have not been well developed as he lacks the social skills necessary to convince his friends to play his games without throwing a tantrum or growling.  His mom reports that what pushes Ben’s buttons is wrong food and restricting him from watching TV before bedtime, implying his assertion of control.

            I believe that Ben is able to express his feelings better with adults than with children.  He uses words like ‘very angry’ when asked to go to bed.  He also greats his teacher with a big smile in the morning and when the children beat him with a stick, he reports them to the teacher.  Although she does not listen to him, it implies that Ben is not afraid to express his hurt feelings to the teacher.

            According to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development Ben appears to be on the pre-operational stage, which is characterized by use of language imagery, memory and symbols.  Egocentric thinking and non-logical thinking also dominate it.  (Newman & Newman, 2005)  An example of non-logical thinking is evidenced in the way he gets confused on the issue of Tyler being his brother.  He believes that Tyler has a brother which is him and then at the same time he says that he has no brother.  He is unable to coordinate or relate the two. The egocentric thinking is seen when he says that he expects someone to listen to him whenever he uses ‘excuse me’ He does not understand that when he addressed his teacher she was engaged in a conversation and could not hear him in his opinion the teacher are unfair.  Ben is fond of using songs and reciting rhymes as he plays.  Ms Silver also reports that Ben is extremely verbal.  Ben’s imagination is sharp and even as he plays with the horse, he rides it as though it was real and alive i.e. he is able to use his imagination and make believe.  His birthday request is equally imaginative, a magic bus.  All this depict the pre-operational stage as proposed by Piaget.

            Ben’s mom has tried to enhance his social skills the best way she knows how.   For example, she also makes use of reinforcement to get Ben to do what she wants.  For instance, negative consequence for not going up to the bedroom after she finishes counting one to ten.  Failure to go to bed means no bedtime story for Ben. (Slee, 2002).

            Ms Silver has also tried to enhance Ben’s social skills.  For example, she lets Ben know that he will be the only one playing in the field when he does not go back to class together with the rest. Additionally, Ms Silver rewards and punishments to teach Ben self control.  Whenever, Ben uses the in your face behaviour to get what he wants or make others comply with his demands.  Ben is timed out or given a negative feedback to control or minimize his undesirable behaviour.  She also tries to tie the ‘in your face behavior’ to the hurt feelings of others in order to make Ben understand social skills.

            In my opinion, Ben is a child who is growing and his behaviour is only natural.  Given the right reinforcements and teaching skills he can learn social skills.  He is a very nurturing boy as seen in his choice of films and videos.   The characters in those films are friendly and loving and Ben feels he can relate to them.  He feels nervous and insecure that he cannot have or maintain friendships with friends or even his brother, hence the nervous chatters. (Forrester, 1992) Ben needs positive reinforcements other than the negative reinforcements used by Ms Silver and his mom. Complimenting Ben whenever he politely initiates play will build Bens social skills greatly as well as his confidence and self-esteem.  Ms Silver’s recommendation is a good one and Ben’s mom should consider it because if Ben fails to resolve his inner conflicts at pre-school stage, the subsequent years will be tough for him as well.


Forrester, M.A. (1992). The Development of Young Children’s Social-Cognitive Skills.
Psychology Press.

Newman, B. & Newman P.R. (2005). Development through Life: A

Psychosocial Approach. Thomson Wadsworth.

Slee, P. T. (2002). Child, Adolescent and Family Development. Cambridge University Press.

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