ERIKSON THEORY 5
ErikErickson is a prolific psychologist credited with numerous invaluablecontributions to the field of psychology. He was born on 15/06/1902,in Germany. Unstable relationships and rejections by some of thepeople with whom he interacted characterized his early years. Hisfather had left before his birth. He was then adopted by his Jewishstepfather but then faced rejection from his neighbors. He had tomake do with teasing at school by those who thought he was Jewish.The events led to an identity crisis. In 1933, migrated to the US,where he began studies in child development. Erik Erikson was aNeo-Freudian psychologist, who adopted many of the principles ofFreud’s psychoanalytic theory.
Eriksonagreed with Freud on the importance that the unconscious mind has onan individual’s personality development (Snowman, 2012). Just likeFreud, Eric centered development on conflict. Poor resolution to suchconflict may lead to mental illness. In both of their models,childhood trauma has the potential of affecting the properdevelopment of personality. However, Eric adopted some changes indeveloping his theory of personality development.
Thereare certain basic tenets of Eric’s personality development theory.The main one is the epigenetics principle. According to theprinciple, individual development is usually through a series ofeight personality stages. The experiences of the previous stages tendto influence the events in the next. Interfering with the order ofevents may ruin the entire development (Schultz, 2013). Each stageincorporates certain development tasks referred to as crises. Thethird stage (initiative vs. guilt) entails learning initiative whileminimizing guilt. As one goes through the crises at each stage, theiridentity shapes up, determined by all previous events (Snowman,2012). His psychosocial principle is seen to influence a person`sbehavior at each stage which in turn determines their overallpersonality.
Schoolchildren, during stages four and five, are trying to balance betweenvarious roles that they have to fulfill. During the fourth stage,they try to develop industry while managing the pressure from theenvironment that may otherwise make them feel inferior (Snowman,2012). At this stage, they need support for their efforts to avoid afeeling of inferiority. During the stage, teenagers tend to face anidentity crisis. In his work, while talking of crisis, Erickson meantthe inability by an adolescent to achieve ego identity.
Erickson`sbelief in identity formation has been a subject of much controversyas some people question its inability to account for cases ofindividuals who tend to rediscover themselves in their adulthood andperceive themselves differently regardless of the past (Schultz,2013). The development stages are also limited to western culturalexperiences and may not necessarily apply to some cultures.
Applicationof Erikson’s Theory to my Future Classroom
Iplan on teaching 9th–12thgrade students. It will involve children between the age of 14 and 18years in the identity versus role confusion stage. Most of mystudents will be facing identity crises as they will be in theiradolescence. They will be yearning to learn about some of the rolesthat they look forward to occupying when they become adults.
Thefollowing lesson plan is for 10th-gradestudents.
Identifyingpotential sources of conflict within oneself and finding the approachto handling them.
Studentscan explain the approaches to solving teenage identity crisis issues.
Allstudents should be in a position to outline the eight stages ofdevelopment according to Erikson.
Studentswill have received directions during the previous lesson to conducttheir research on adolescent development.
Snowman,J. (2012). EdPsych (with CourseMate, 1 term (6 months) Printed Access Card) (New 1st Editions in Education)(1st ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.
Schultz,D. (2013). Theoriesof personality.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
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