Developmental Theorist

Basic Theory Explanation

How children socialize and how it affects their sense of self. Erikson’s Theory of: Psycho-social Development - has eight distinct stages, each with two possible outcomes. According to the theory, successful completion of each stage results in a healthy personality and successful interactions with others. Failure to successfully complete a stage can result in a reduced ability to complete further stages and therefore a more unhealthy personality and sense of self. These stages, however, can be resolved successfully at a later time.

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Pros and Cons of the Theory


  • allows you to see both the routes of each step
  • theory can still be applied and used today
  • shows steps from birth to aging years
  • can be used by parents and people in the educational field


  • doesn't mention cultural differences
  • focuses more on children than adults

How the theory could be applied in the Classroom

Teachers may use Erikson's theory of psycho-social stages in a variety of ways. Stages three through five will be the main stages that teachers will need to focus on. While most elementary and high school teacher's deal primarily with individuals between the ages of 5 and 18 some teachers may also need to study stage six if they will be teaching students entering the phase of young adulthood. Preschool teachers may need to brush up on stages one and two if they have students between the ages of 1 and 4 in their classroom.

General Theorist Information

  • Erik Erikson was born June 15, 1902.
  • He died May 12, 1994.
  • Erikson's interest in "identity" didn't further developed based upon his own experiences in school
  • Erikson studied psychoanalysis and earned a certificate from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.

Does this theory still exist in education today?