Reasons To Choose Childhood Studies

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I have chosen to study this module as part of my Psychology degree. I choose this module because I feel that a lot of issues that adults face either emotionally or cognitively can be due to an event that happened in their childhood. I believe that by learning more about the cognitive and emotional development of children I will have a much more in-depth knowledge of how different circumstances can affect a child’s development and how this could affect them later in life. I am very interested in how children develop and what makes these developments happen or not happen as effectively as in others. I am very interested in the role that social environments play in the development of children and how different child-rearing techniques provide different results. I understand that there are no definitive ways to guarantee that a child develops at the “correct” rate and has no cognitive or emotional problems but I felt it would be very interesting to learn what professionals make of these techniques. Once I complete my degree I hope to work in the NHS to help assist people who are struggling with their mental health as this is a struggle that I have had in the past and have received some excellent care through the NHS and various other organizations. I would like to gain as much knowledge about every stage of life but particularly childhood as when I was treated this was highlighted as a major factor in my depression.

As this module is working towards my Psychology Degree the area that I am most interested in is Childhood Psychology. Most importantly I am keen to learn how children develop and their cognitive skills and emotional development. I am very interested to explore how children develop. Is it simply due to genetics and reaching milestones or do their external experiences help to accelerate or slow down these developments? Do their behaviors, social skills, and understanding of the world simply happen as they reach a certain age or is it influenced by experiences they have had? It also interests me how differences in experiences may result in different developmental results. I find the two theories about cognitive development very interesting with one saying it is biologically generated whilst the other argues it is influenced by the child’s social experiences. I believe that Lev Vygotsky’s theory on cognitive development is very accurate in that external situations to help a child to develop. I also feel that a child’s socio-cultural context plays a very important part in how they grow up and influence their personalities. I believe that children have the ability from a very early age to influence their own world by using social cues which I find fascinating and witnessed last week with my friend’s 1-year old daughter.

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When I first started to study Childhood Studies I had no idea what to expect but have found that a lot of what I have learned will be very beneficial in my degree. My understanding of childhood before studying this was a time for play and shelter from the harsh realities of the world but I know that in other parts of the world this is not necessarily the case. I now understand that childhood is a social construction based on many different factors including location, affluence, access to health care, and many more factors. I now understand that my original view of childhood is not what is meant by childhood studies at all. I was surprised to find out that in other parts of the world things that we see as normal child-rearing duties are regarded as uncaring or wrong, for example putting a baby in a pram or separate room. I also understand now that at certain parts of the world childhood is a time to prepare for adulthood and to learn responsibilities. The idea of children having agency in their own world absolutely fascinates me and if I am being honest it is a term that I have never even heard of. I never thought that a child could have so much impact on their own lives as well as those around them. I found it very compelling to learn that children have the agency to make decisions that will have an impact on their lives whereas before studying this module I assumed this responsibility would always fall to the adults in their lives. I feel that looking at what a child can do rather than what they can’t is a good way to gauge their development.

The Nature-Nurture argument has been the topic I have found most interesting and intriguing as it attempts to make sense of what has the biggest influence on a child’s life, genes, or environment. I feel that the Blank State put forward by John Locke is an excellent example of how Nature and Nurture works however I don’t quite agree with all his methods. I also think that Victor, the wild boy of Aveyron is another fantastic example of how lack of nurture can be detrimental to a serious extent. I also found the adoption study of schizophrenia very interesting as it shows that nature plays a role in development as well.

When I reflect on my learning so far in this module it is clear to me that I have been quite erratic. I have always read the course material from the textbooks however there have been weeks where I have completed the tasks with time to spare but also weeks where I have fallen behind and had to play catch up. My time management skills have also been a problem. To start with I only studied when I had the time available to me, I have now changed my routine and plan my week out in advance to ensure I can cover all course material, I have even decided to change my job to allow me a more structured approach to my study. I feel that my biggest weakness is in my note takings skills as I tend to read a chapter first and then go back through it taking far too many notes and using up a lot of time. I now read the textbooks and highlight key ideas as I go, I then type them, save and print them. This allows me to insert links to external sources that may help with my understanding of certain ideas or themes, it also allows me much easier access to my notes as they are very well organized both on my computer and on paper files. I also struggled taking notes from audio and video so have now taken to printing off the manuscripts. Another area that I feel I struggle with is referencing. I understand the whole concept of plagiarism and why referencing is so important but as I have never had to do it in any previous study it all seems a bit new to me. I think that reading a few examples of how to reference properly would be beneficial to me. Finally, I believe that setting aside a specific room in the house with all my materials has benefitted me a lot and made that mind connection that when I am in this room it is for study only. My biggest strength is how quickly and easily I grasp and retain the information that I have learnt, I think this is because it is a subject that I am very interested in. I have used a few different sources to help with my study skills and feel that the clear majority of them have helped. I used a video on YouTube called “Study Less, Study Smart” which gave me lots of tips particularly on how long a person can take in information and retain it which seems to be about 25-30 mins. Due to this instead of sitting down for a few hours at a time, I now take 10-minute breaks every 30 mins so that the information I am taking in will be better processed. I have also used the OU Library to learn more about different theorists that have been mentioned in particular Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. 

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