In today’s society children are faced with many factors that can influence their behaviour within a care or educational setting. These factors can sometimes enhance a child’s behaviour and in some cases impair or damage how a child learns behaviour.
When looking at the factors that influence children’s behaviour is important to take into consideration the nature versus nurture debate, MacLeod-Brudenell (2008) informs the reader that the term “nurture-nature debate” is to indicate two different perspectives; some propose views that genetic inheritance also known as nature influence children more that contextual factors or nurture. The influences of the debate can we widely seen as some people believe that all children are born with the ability to talk or walk as this is inbuilt knowledge. McDevitt and Ormrod (2010) reinforces this “All children have a set of universal human genes that permit them to develop as reasonably capable human beings.” The other side of this debate is nurture some believe that through children being loved they will develop to be person who can contribute to society, this however is not always the case as some children grow up in neglectful situations and are not always given the same love.
The study into “Genie” allows us to get a better understanding of the importance of nurture in a child’s life, she was confined to a small room and not discovered until she was aged 13 up until this point in her life she did not experience many social interactions. Cherry (Unknown) tells us through her inability to speak or communicate she was hard to assess her mental ability but on tests she scored around the level of a one year old. From her life scientists were able to look more deeply into the nature vs nurture debate as Genie was unable to talk her case suggests that even as humans have an inbuilt ability and capability to learn language and communicate, there is a very critical point in time in which language must be learnt to enable a child to reach full linguistic ability, as a result they concluded that both nature and nurture have a role to play in a child’s development.
Similar to the case of Genie many feral children miss development at critical or sensitive periods this is because they were not able at a young age to learn from adults or people around them. An example of this comes from Channel 4 (2006) they completed a documentary on feral children, one of which was Oxana, at the age of three he parents left her outside to live with the dogs. Before this happened it was said that she was developing well and at a normal speed for her age, however as she lived with the dogs in isolation from human contact she missed out on “sensitive periods” and “critical periods” of her development as she grew older but missed developmental stages. This affected Oxana’s behaviour greatly as she forgot her human tendencies and adapted her behaviour to fit in with the dogs she lived with. The documentary states that she is “More like dog...