Test Your Prior
To complete this assignment successfully, you should:
1. Self test on the terms
2. Read definitions carefully and check for depth of understanding.
3. Respond to the requests at the end of the glossary.
If many of these words are unfamiliar to you, browsing through a few of
the books listed in the annotated bibliography will get you excited about
the available information on how children grow and learn, and the maturity
process. Child Development goes hand in hand with teaching. The more you
learn about children, the more exciting and fulfilling the time spent
Accommodation - Making a fresh paradigm to explain
new knowledge, rather than fitting the idea into an old framework. For
example, if a child believes that only birds can fly and then learns that
bats fly, he or she can change the belief structure.
Adolescence - The developmental period from the onset of puberty
until young adulthood. It is elongated now, since the average age of onset
has moved from 14 to 12 years of age, and many youth are not leaving the
parental home to live as an adult, or are returning and remaining with
parents until middle age.
Aggression - This is verbal or physical behavior that intentionally
hurts someone or destroys something.
Altruism -Unselfish behavior that contributes to the well being
Androgyny - The tendency to incorporate both male and female characteristics
into the personality.
Aptitude Inherent ability to perform certain tasks or become accomplished
in an area.
Assimilation - Developing an answer by fitting new knowledge into
an existing belief. For example, when a tyke sees a bat, it is likely
to call it a bird, since the schema he or she developed suggests that
birds fly, thus a flying creature is a bird.
Attitude - Personal beliefs or feelings that are expressed in nonverbal
ways and may also be acted upon. Children are often instructed to "change
their attitudes," when behavior is perceived as inappropriate. A
more productive focus involves communicating openly to ascertain the cognitive
mind set and then work with the child to view the situation with additional
information and insights.
Attribution - Causal explanations for behavior. We hear theories
that attribute childhood aggression to TV watching or hyperactivity to
Autonomy - Heteronomy - Internal mechanism that provides an intrinsic
push to meet personal ego needs, to have one's own way, and alternately,
to seek the approval of others. It evolves over time and has a cycling
nature. Autonomy is usually most pronounced during the ages of 2, 4, 7,
11 and during adolescence. Heteronomy is more pronounced at ages 3, 5,
8, and sometimes at age 12.
Babbling - The universal sound making that occurs
at about four months of age and eventually is reduced to sounds specific
to the child's first language.
Birth order - Research suggests that placement in a family may
contribute to personality. For example, those who are oldest or only children
tend to be more conservative, more concerned with social approval and
more achievement oriented than children who are born later in the family.
Catharsis - The overt release of emotions, usually with the belief
that it will lessen the intensity of feelings or energy for acting out
the emotions in less productive ways.
Conformity - The tendency to look and act as others wish or to
try to appear to feel as others desire. Conformity may be linked to heteronomy,
the desire to "do" what others wish, to be accepted and acceptable
to others, to try to fit in and please. Not only is a sense of conformity
likely to be partially genetic, it also is a way of reacting to highly
stressful or noxious life trauma.
Consciousness - Selective attention and awareness of attention
to thoughts, perceptions and feelings.
Conservation - Recognizing that properties such as weight, volume
and mass remain constant, even when the appearance or size of a container
Critical Period - A limited period of time when the child must
be exposed to specific experiences if proper development is to proceed.
It may not be possible to accomplish the same quality of development if
missed. Some of the best examples have been seen in research on language
development and bonding.
Defense mechanism - Ways a person protects self from
anxiety. They can also become habitual ways of responding that become
Displacement - This is a way of taking an uncomfortable feeling
or impulse and shifting it to someone else, as in being yelled at by an
adult and turning around and pulling the cat's tail.
Drive - An internal energized state that presses to meet a need,
sometimes without awareness of the need or the press to action.
Egocentrism - The ability to see from a personal
point of view but not able to see the view of others. Ego refers to self.
During the early years of development, a child does not have second person
perspective, and cannot see or may not even be aware of the existence
of any other viewpoint. This is a critical concept in disciploine, for
it suggests that misbehavior may not occur from the motive of hurting
others, but rather, is a response or behavior set in motion to please
the self, or order the world as he or she sees it, unaware that others
may not share that view; certainly without any intention to inflict displeasure.
It also means that understanding cause and effect is likely to be limited.
Emotion - This is typically a response to an eventful experience
that elicits physical arousal, conscious awareness of a heightened expressive
state. Cultural cues provide a positive or negative cognitive set to the
feelings, so a boy who is sad may not cry or a person who is angry with
a boss may hide the expression, while anger with a pet might be expressed
Empathy - The ability to understand and feel another's emotion;
may also be referred to as second person perspective. We are beginning
to question whether children must develop this, if it is a genetic endowment
for some, the influence of socialization -- norms, rearing practices,
cultural expectations, gender roles, hormones. We also are beginning to
question the idea that only humans are capable of experiencing empathy.
Gender - Biologically based and socially determined
classification as male or female.
Gender Identity - A person's sense of being male or female.
Genes - Biochemical units of heredity found on DNA; responsible
for many physical traits, with increasing evidence that they are also
responsible for many traits of personality, preferences, and behavior
options. The genome research is likely to provide new insight into our
current beliefs about personality development.
Homeostasis - Human beings have a tendency to maintain
a constant and optimum internal state. Some research suggests that this
is counterbalanced with surging needs for stimulation and change. Jung's
ideas about introversion and extroversion suggest that some of us maintain
the balance through external means - thus are more likely to turn to others
for stimulation or soothing -- extroversion, while others find the stimulation
and soothing from internal arousal systems -- introversion.
Identification - Concept from Freud that young children develop
a gender identity from adopting and modeling the characteristics of the
Imprinting - An internal drive or instinct that provides an attachment
between an infant and a care giver. Bonding is the term used when referring
to human connections.
Insight - This is a sudden, often creative solution to a dilemma
or problem, and often occurs after a number of trial and error efforts,
and frequently occurs when the person is not intentionally focusing on
the question or issue.
Instinct - An inborn set of rigid behavior patterns or actions
that occurs automatically without thought and may be species specific.
Ducks imprint, babies suckle [some theorists suggest that human beings
don't have instincts], whales rise to the top to breathe, birds make certain
shaped nests and migrate, fish return to home waters to spawn, sea turtles
come to the beach to lay eggs.
Intelligence - Crystallized -- Tends to increase with age
Intelligence - Fluid -- A person's basic ability to reason
Intelligence - General In recent years, the idea of what
constitutes intelligence has broadened. Gardener and Lazear have helped
popularize the belief that there are at least seven distinct kinds of
Language - How we combine words and use them to communicate meaning.
Learned helplessness - The reaction some children develop to cope
with pervasive life stressors or tasks that are too difficult.
Learning - A relatively permanent change that is the result of
Locus of control - Whether one believes that each person has control
over what happens and life's choices (internal) or that life if mostly
a matter of luck with little anyone can do to change the course or fate
Maturation - The belief that an inner biological mechanism presses
us to develop, and external factors have only a minor affect on that internal
drive. Walking is a prime example. Though environmental conditions of
practice, nutrition and structure may contribute to the timing of walking,
children walk when all the physical prerequisites are in place, usually
by the age of two, and most of this seems to occur as a pattern that does
not require teaching.
Modeling - This occurs when a youngster adopts the actions of those
around him or her, usually without the clear intention to or awareness
of doing so.
Motivation - An internal or external force that energizes and directs
Nature/nurture - Debate about the importance or weight of hereditary
factors and environmental factors in determining personality and development.
The answer probably exists on a sliding scale, depending on the traits,
the states and the timing of an event along with the age of occurrence.
Norms - Social prescriptions or rules for behavior, most of the
time, unstated or unrecognized at a conscious or intentional level, yet
still binding if a person is to be perceived as normal or deserving of
membership in a group.
Projection - When a child describes another person or toy as having
the feelings the child is experiencing, but the child does not wittingly
do so or recognize that attribution is occurring.
Rationalization - This is an inaccurate explanation that a person
devises to explain a self satisfying behavior or to justify behaviors.
Reaction formation - This is a defense for strong feelings and
the child converts unhappy feelings or attitudes into the opposite. An
example might be an older sister who is upset about a new baby, and responds
by becoming a primary care taker.
Regression - When a child reverts to an earlier way of behaving,
usually as a coping mechanism, and most often noted when it is less functional;
eg. a child who goes back to wetting the bed after being dry for a protracted
period. This should be monitored closely, since the revolution, back and
forth between autonomous and heteronomous pressure often brings a return
of more self focused behavior by the nature of its back and forth motion.
Thus, a child who returns to chewing nails at seven may just be acting
as seven-year-olds tend to act rather than because of a school incident
or family crisis.
Repression - Burying an experience rather than processing it; especially
at issue for children who have deep emotional scars from occurrences in
early childhood. It differs from suppression by intention. Repression
is not chosen but rather the person's unreasoned and unchosen response.
Suppression is intentionally burying or ignoring experiences or feelings.
Role - A set of behaviors for a specific time or place. Example:
When teaching, a person may speak a great deal of the time while at home,
as the fourth girl in the family, the person may have little to say. In
the teaching role, the person is verbal, charming, takes charge and tells
amusing anecdotes. In the role of sister, the person is quiet, stays to
herself, does not share feelings and manipulates situations by whining
and describing aches and pains to get family attention and express herself.
Rooting reflex - This is a baby's natural suckling response
which can be initiated by simply stroking the cheek near the mouth.
Scapegoating - This is a practice of choosing one child, unjustly,
to be the target for venting a wide range of frustrations and emotions.
At times, the child may receive the ire of an entire group, based on the
role assigned by the adult in charge. In a family situation, this behavior
may lead to an infant who fails to thrive. It can be based on appearance,
the child not being of the preferred sex, or unresolved emotional issues
of the parents. In the classroom, a teacher or class group may unintentionally
choose a child for unfair treatment based on smell,
Self control - The ability to put off immediate gratification in
order to gain an advantage or sense of esteem later. It can also refer
to the ability to self soothe, the amount of internal grip over expressing
emotions - especially the less socially acceptable ones of anger, crying,
Self efficacy - The feeling that one is capable and can accomplish
goals through self mastery and self control.
Self esteem - A combination of feeling likable and capable, not
only in the eyes of significant others, but from a personal internalized
sense. This is a very complex set of actions, reactions, emotions and
interrelated feelings, including appearance, trust in others, ability
to successfully interpret others' actions, an internal sense of being
as well as a sense of "doing" - setting out to do something and
being able to bring a project to successful completion. It often includes
believing that others of importance recognize or value what is done (referrent
Sensitive period - The belief that there are developmental time
frames that facilitate acquisition of skills and abilities, and that it
is best to introduce children to these activities, or even more effective,
to allow children to respond to their own sense of timing.
Sexual characteristics - Primary - Organs that are necessary
Sexual characteristics - Secondary - Changes that occur
during puberty that are gender related; growth of breasts, enlargement
of sexual organs, public hair, voice change, etc.
Shaping - Gradual changes in behavior created by reinforcing wanted
Social Clock - Cultural ideal for life changes -- marriage, leaving
home, having a baby, getting a first job.
Stranger Anxiety - A recognition of an unknown person that leads
to discomfort, as evidenced by reaching to be back with a parent, crying,
wriggling to get away. The initial onset tends to come at about seven
months of age. Some children appear to have a higher arousal point, more
anxiety and more discomfort. We tend to attribute this to child rearing
or early traumatic experiences, but recent research points to chemical
precursors that may be genetic.
Sublimation - This defense mechanism allows a person to take an
unacceptable feeling such as anxiety or anger and use the energy in a
Subliminal - The person responds, but the awareness of the stimulus
or trigger for an action is not realized or recognized.
Traits - Characteristic predispositions or inherited tendencies
to act in a certain manner. Some that are commonly ascribed are introversion-extroversion,
emotional stability, openness-privacy,agreeableness, conscientiousness,
resilience, need for stimulation.
You should now:
Go back to Assignment 1
Go on to PEPSI Reading
J'Anne Ellsworth at Janne.Ellsworth@nau.edu
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