Free «The Development of Alex Mack» UK Essay Paper
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The preoperational stage of children’ development is a period when the child cannot use logic and transform, combine and separate ideas. The further development consists in the acquaintance with the outside world. At the end of this stage, kids, including Alex Mack, can mentally represent events and objects, and take part in a symbolic game. The vocabulary also develops during this period.
Memory, problem solving, reasoning, and thinking develop actively. Children learn to use symbols to play and pretend and to perform roles. In the observation of Alex, such play as “Represent the Object” took place. The boy was given a particular object and was asked to show something. For example, he showed a broom as a witch on the broom or a horse. Some useful techniques, such as the identification of egocentrism and conservation, helped to assess cognitive development. According to psychologist Jean Piaget, “The egocentric child assumes that other people see, hear, and feel the same as the child does” (qtd. in McLeod).
Children’s thoughts are always directed to themselves, but not to other people. They are incapable to see the situation through the eyes of other person. Children at this age believe that others think and feel the same as they do. This stage is called “centration,” whereby kids usually focus only on one aspect of the situation during a certain period (McLeod). During the observation, one of the most famous techniques “Three Mountain Task” was used to determine the level of Alex’s egocentrism. He had to observe a scene and then to choose the right picture. The boy had some troubles in doing this task. Then it was made a little complicated. Alex had to choose a picture other people would do, but he could not cope with this task at all because the level of egocentrism had not been formed yet.
The social development of children of 2-7 years presupposes the building of the relationship with their caregivers. Later they try to interact with other preschoolers of their age. During the observation, Alex’s readiness for communication with his peers was checked. He was asked to share his favorite toys with other unfamiliar boys. First, Alex refused to give them to someone else. Nevertheless, having acquainted, children exchanged the playthings. With the age, children always create small communities, choosing friends based on common interests. During a selection process, kids define which person they will take to their group and who will stay outside. In addition, the importance of children’s development consists in the interaction with their parents. Alex Mack lives in a two-parent family and spends a lot of time with his grandparents. All this helps the child to see communication in society from different sides and to interact.
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At the age of six years, in the behavior of preschool children, the possibility of self-control is formed, whereby begin to impose on themselves those requirements set by adults earlier. At 5-6 years, the system of primary gender identity based on essential signs (female and male qualities, features of the manifestation of feelings, emotions, specifics of behavior, appearance, and profession) is formed (McLeod).
Alex’s level of emotional formation revealed certain problems. The boy had some uneasiness and fears. It was shown in communication with other kids. Other kinds of fear were rather typical of children of his age, namely the fear of darkness and loneliness. The child is afraid to sleep alone in the room, demands someone’s presence, the lights to be turned up, and the door to be slightly opened. Otherwise, the child is uneasy and cannot fall asleep for a long time.
The seventh year of life is a period of prompt growth of the child when all body systems grow actively and are improved, and adaptation properties of an organism increase. As the research has shown, at this age, dexterity, consistency, coordination, focus, balance, self-confidence, and force develop (McLeod). All these qualities are necessary for the child to become interested in sport and physical culture. Alex’ milk teeth have changed for the second teeth; also, the development of the musculoskeletal system happens. There are some defects in the pronunciation of sounds. At school during the PE classes, Alex and other children in the course of a free game activity seize the balance of preservation, swimming, walking on skis, skating and so forth. Orientation and the development of movement skills improves as well.
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At the preschool age, a qualitatively new stage of the development of speech starts. The growing needs of preschool children are to learn, tell and imitate acts for active acquisition of the native language. Speech is present in all kinds of activities, including the informative ones. It represents a change in tasks facing the preschool child, emergence of new kinds of activities, complication of interaction with adults and peers, and the expansion of a circle of vital communication and relations. In the development of the vocabulary of the preschool child, high-qualitative and quantitative changes are observed. There are not only more words in the speech of the child, but the development of his values. The kid learns words early, but acquires the value contained in them gradually. Alex was given an assignment to read the text and then to do some post text tasks. They were to define the main and minor heroes, state his attitude to them, give them a reasoned assessment, as well as to determine a work form (a fairy tale, poem, or a story) and some means of language expressiveness, for example comparisons. In the course of retelling, the child uses means of expression typical of the literary work. This type of work has shown that the boy has developed speech at a sufficient level and can reproduce and introduce his ideas.
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