The Problem of Age Crises, The Problem of the Correlation...

Problem of age crises

The concept of crisis or critical age was introduced into science empirically and in a random order. First, the crisis of seven years was opened as a transition from preschool to school age, then the crisis of three years as the age of obstinacy and stubbornness and, finally, the crisis of 13 years , which was described as a negative phase of the age of puberty (Sh. Buhler). Sometimes crises were seen as painful deviations from the true path of development.


So, in the concepts of social learning, the names of the critical periods of socialization are those ages when the environmental influences are most effective. Bringing man closer to the animal, and developing the child's social attachment - with the process of imprinting, the supporters of the sociogenetic approach insist on the criticality (or sensitivity in our understanding) of earlier ages. At the presentation of mental development as the interaction of biological heredity and social learning, qualitative changes in the psyche are ignored, and therefore the concept of crisis as a period of acquiring a new quality is practically absent.

In psychoanalytic tradition, on the contrary, one emphasizes the qualitative difference between one stage of development and another. However, the concept of conflict was initially applied there, and not the crisis. Even E. Ericson, who distinguishes regular age crises at every stage of personality development, views the crisis as a conflict of opposing favorable and unfavorable development trends.

Soviet psychologist and educator P. P. Blonskiy (1884-1941) was one of the first to point out that age changes can occur gradually (lytically) and sharply (critically). He called the times of children's life, separated from each other by crises, epochs and stages, and the times of children's life, separated from each other in a lyric, smooth, gradual manner, in phases .

L. S. Vygotsky, in turn, showed that the alternation of stable and critical periods is a natural feature of mental development, manifested in the alternation of childhood stages.

The regularity of crises, which are turning points in development, confirms that the development of the child is a dialectical process in which the transition from one stage to another is not an evolutionary, but a revolutionary way. In relatively stable or stable ages, development takes place mainly due to microscopic changes in the personality of the child, which, accumulating up to a certain limit, are then discontinuously detected in the form of any age-related neoplasm.

We can name after Vygotsky the following features of critical periods of child development:

1) there is a relative child's difficulty in this period;

2) in critical periods, the child does not so much gain as he loses from what he has acquired before. There are no new interests, aspirations, new activities and forms of inner life;

3) the crisis occurs imperceptibly, it is difficult to determine its beginning and end. However, in the middle of this age period, the crisis is sharply aggravated. This culmination point sharply distinguishes the critical ages from the stable epochs of child development.

According to LS Vygotsky, the most significant content of development at critical ages is the emergence of tumors, which, as shown by specific studies, are highly specific. Their main difference from new growths of stable ages is that they do not persist in the form in which they arise in the critical period, and do not enter as a necessary term in the integral structure of the future personality.


Modern followers of LS Vygotsky interpret the concept of the crisis somewhat differently. For example, KN Polivanova describes the content of the crisis as a subjectivation of the new formation that was formed in the previous stable period of development. Subjectivization is the detection by the subject of his own desire or action. According to this point of view, the skill achieved at a stable age exists only objectively, but before the crisis is not presented to the child, is not his achievement, does not belong to him. It becomes an achievement of the subject itself only in a crisis. Only in the crisis are born the subjectivity of the act of development and its real participants. In the crisis, there is an oirobyvanie new ideal form in the current situation. The content of the crisis of mental development is subjectivation of the neoform of a stable period. Thus, the emergence of a tumor takes place in two stages: the formation of a neoplasm (in a stable period) and its subjectivation (in a crisis).

The concept of the age crisis is applicable only to childhood and adolescence. Since an adult changes, changes his place in the system of social relations, he performs a set of social roles, it is natural to assume that these changes can also take place critically.


American psychologist Daniel Levinson believes that in an adult, normal development crises occur on average once every six to eight years. Other researchers believe that the onset of the crisis is not due to the chronology of life, but to vital turnaround events that force a person to rethink their past, revise goals and change the leading motives (TB Kartseva). At the same time, the same objective events for some can be vitally important, but for others there is not. There are empirical data showing the great importance of resolving the next crisis of adulthood (the crisis of life changes) for the favorable course of the next period of life (P. Niemel). Thus, it turns out that the crisis plays in the adult period the same role that in childhood and adolescence, i.e. its full resolution ensures further progressive development (B. Livehud).

To. N. Polivanova, analyzing the periodization of the mental development of adults, put forward by D. Levinson, V. I. Slobodchikov and G. A. Tsukerman, notes: in all cases it is a question of what a person does at some periods of life, and in others comprehends what has been done.

The problem of the correlation between learning and development processes

The relationship between learning and development processes is a problem for the concepts of social learning, in which it is commonly believed that all mental development is nothing less than learning and fixing the impacts of the social environment. It remains only to find out the most favorable periods for these or other effects of the environment, the so-called sensitive periods.

In other approaches, involving spontaneous mental development due to internal contradictions, the role of teaching no longer looks so comprehensive.


F. Piaget believed that any training should begin only when the child has already prepared the appropriate mental structures. According to his point of view, the child himself, in the process of his own activity, must form more complex cognitive schemes, and then with the help of training to extend them to a wider range of phenomena of reality. Thus, but Piaget, learning can not translate development from one stage to another, but can only help spread the level of development achieved to different areas.

L. S. Vygotsky could not agree with the point of view that "teaching trails behind development". In his view, training should lead to development. Unlike J. Piaget, he considered the main driving force of the child's mental development not to be the activity of the child with objects, but his communication with the social environment. In communication, in interaction with an adult, each child is capable of more than alone with test tasks.

The level of potential development of a child (what it is capable of in cooperation) always exceeds the level of its actual development by some individually determined value. Vygotsky called this advance LS the zone of the nearest development , on which training should be oriented.

The zone of proximal development is the region not ripened by maturing processes & quot ;; the level reached by the child only in the course of joint activity with the adult.

Developing the teachings of LS Vygotsky, BD Elkonin treats the process of mental development as a sequence of critical acts, events in which the mediator offers a different position (point of view). In this case, the main task of the intermediary is to find a way to initiate a search.

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