Posted: February 5th, 2022

Theories of Human Development Across the Life Span

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Discussion Response – Week 10
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Discussion: Theories of Human Development Across the Life Span
As a social worker, you will never have the privilege of seeing a client grow and evolve over the entire length of their life. Even if you do work with a client for a long time, you won’t witness their evolution firsthand; rather, the client will convey to you what they are experiencing. For the purposes of the HBSE I and II courses, though, you have gotten this front-row seat into someone else’s life. You have seen Ray navigate hardship in childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle adulthood, and now later adulthood. You have seen him find a sense of joy and meaning.
Through Ray’s case, you can refine your application of human development theories in the context of an aging client who has lived a full life. For this Discussion, you do just that, selecting a theory and examining how it illuminates Ray’s life.
To Prepare:
Respond to two colleagues who identified different theories than you did. Explain whether you agree with the application to Ray’s case and whether you would apply the theory to your social work practice. Provide support for your position.
Use the Learning Resources to support your posts. Make sure to provide APA citations and a reference list.
By 02/04/2021
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Required Readings
Transcript – Meet Ray: Age 69 to 87 [PDF]
My Discussion
Two Colleagues
Walden University, LLC. (2021). Theories of human development [Interactive media].
Colleagues 1: Brianna Swopes
RE: Discussion – Week 10
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Your application of a theory of human development to Ray’s life.
For this discussion I’m looking at the Social Learning Theory and applying it to the point in Ray’s life where he is married to Yolanda and they have their son Peter and are expecting their second child, at this point in his life Ray has come to realize that he is repeating the patterns that his father had projected onto him in his young life.
How does the theory deepen your understanding of Ray’s experience?
The Social Learning Theory “views children as sponges, taking in the actions and attitudes of others in order to know how to act themselves” (Walden University, LLC. 2021). In this first video of Ray, it shows that he loses his temper with his son, which causes tensions to rise and eventually Yolanda tells him that she can’t continue in his volatile situation and in this instance he recognizes that he is acting like his father and this recognition leads him to changing his behaviors (2021). This theory deepens my understanding of Ray’s experience because it allowed me to look into way Ray is acting the way he did and encourages me to have faith in people being able to understand why they may act the way they do and shows that people can change their behaviors if they understand where they stem from.
How might this application of theory assist you as a social worker engaging with Ray?
The application of the Social Learning Theory will help me as a social worker because it helps me break down and understand why people act the way they do by breaking down how people learn at a young age and mimic what they have seen through conditioning, reinforcement, and punishment (2021). Through these interactions children learn how to perform tasks, respond to peers/elders, and behave in society (2021). These concepts help create a more understanding environment and can help create a game plan towards helping people break these cycles and build on their strengths towards achieving change.
Finally, what does Ray’s example tell you about the human spirit, resiliency, and the capacity to evolve?
Ray’s example gives me hope, especially during the scene I focused on. Ray was able to recognize what he had done wrong and actively work towards changing his ways, not wanting to repeat the mistakes his father made and damage his son while threatening the breaking of his marriage. In terms of the human spirit, Ray embodies that life doesn’t stop at any age, he joined new communities to make friends and explored a hobby that he used to make toys for his grandchildren. I think that as long as there is hope, support, and self-awareness the human spirit can be resilient and evolve over time.
Walden University, LLC. (2021). Theories of human development [Interactive media].
Walden University, LLC. (2021). Transcript – Meet Ray: Age 19 to 40 [PDF]
Colleagues 2: Kenchelle Wells
RE: Discussion – Week 10
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The theory of human development that effects Ray in from 19 to 40 years old is social learning theory. This theory states that children are sponges taking in order to know how to act (Walden University, 2021). During this stage in Ray’s life, he has met his wife Yolanda has had two kids Peter and Amy and a steady full-time job working at a factory. After having Peter Ray begins to discipline him the way that his father disciplined him, by yelling and being aggressive. This action Ray shows that as a child he absorbed the way his father treated him and was now doing the exact same thing with his own child. As individuals we are constantly learning, and Ray is no exception. That can be seen in the way that he changes the way he acts towards his son Peter before his daughter was born. The application of the social learning theory could assist me as a social worker, engaging with Ray. Knowing that people are always learning is the key to this theory. It shows that with experience and observation of others whether real or fictional can lead to an individual emulating them (Walden University, 2021). As a social worker once I understand that concept then I can work through with a person how to break bad habits and learn new ones. Ray’s life shows me that people are ever evolving. Although we fall down, we can get back up and start over again. Ray’s story also shows that people are stronger than they think and are able to overcome even the worse situations.
Walden University, LLC (2021). Meet Ray [Video]. Walden University Blackboard.
Walden University, LLC (2021). Theories of human development [Interactive Media]. Walden University Blackboard.
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My discussion to compare to the colleagues
Mercedes Diaz
RE: Discussion – Week 10
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At the age of 69-87, Ray is, according to Erick Erickson’s theory of human development, putting him at a cross fix of integrity versus despair. When he notices that many complications are swinging in, this depresses him and makes his spirit low. However, getting involved in the activities organized by his catholic church makes him find joy in his life by being and remaining active. When he starts using a wheelchair, he does not suddenly become hopeless in his life.
The theory has enabled me to understand his case better and how he can be helped. As presented by Erick Erickson, this psychosocial theory of human development maps Ray at the stage of integrity versus despair. This is the moment where Ray is degenerating, no more positive growth. Ray is at a stage of questioning whether he has achieved anything in life or not. He is depressed about the way he used to carry himself out and worried about how he will end it.
The theory helps me understand that the bitterness and depression that Ray had started harboring is part of what an older person is supposed to go through. Despite all this, Ray can find fulfillment, especially when the grandchildren are playing with them. The theory suggests that to age successfully, the old have to accept themselves, feel at peace, and develop a sense of success. Ray develops a sense of success and achievement through sitting outside and looking at the grandchildren and great family he has built (Widick et al. 1978). The theory emphasizes strong family relations to help people age successfully. People aging should be deliberate in creating meaningful relationships and reframing their thinking.
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Follow Rubric
Follow-Up Response Postings: Content
6.75 (22.5%) – 7.5 (25%)
Student thoroughly addresses all parts of the response prompt. Student responds to at least two colleagues in a meaningful, respectful manner that promotes further inquiry and extends the conversation. Response presents original ideas not already discussed, asks stimulating questions, and further supports with evidence from assigned readings. Post is substantive in both length (75–100 words) and depth of ideas presented.
Readability of Postings
5.4 (18%) – 6 (20%)
Initial and response posts are clear and coherent. Few if any (less than 2) writing errors are made. Student writes with exemplary grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation to convey their message.

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