Attachment theory has clear and important implications for education. Dr Elizabeth Harlow considers its relevance to children’s learning and looks at how some schools have been applying the principles of the theory to the organisation of pastoral support and teaching and learning

Child development in general, and the children’s learning in particular, might be understood from a number of overarching psychological perspectives such as the biological, psychodynamic, behavioural, cognitive and humanist.

Over time, the socioeconomic and political context together with theoretical innovation and empirical research has meant that some of these perspectives have fallen out of favour, while others have been combined in order to further their explanatory potential and application in practice.

In illustration, Piaget’s model of cognitive stages in children’s ability to learn has been found wanting, when tested in the light of new data on the ability of children to imitate: hence the advancement of cognitive social learning theory (Glassman & Hadad, 2009).

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