Using Psychosocial Development in the Classroom

"Teachers who apply psychosocial development in the classroom create an environment where each child feels appreciated and is comfortable with learning new things and building relationships with peers without fear" (Tamara , 2010, para. 1). Teaching Erikson’s theory at the different grade levels is important to ensure that students will attain mastery of each stage in Erikson's theory without conflict. There are specific classroom activities that teachers can incorporate into their classroom during the three stages that include school age children. The activities listed below are just a few suggested examples that apply psychosocial development.

At the preschool level, teachers want to focus on developing a hardy personality. Classroom examples that can be incorporated at the Preschool level are as follows:
1. Find out what students are interested in and create projects that incorporate their area of interest.
2. Let the children be in charge of the learning process when participating in a classroom project. This will exhibit teacher
appreciation for the areas of interest of the students as well as confidence in their ability.
3. Make sure to point out and praise students for good choices.
4. Offer continuous feedback on work that has been completed.
5. Do not ridicule or critize students openly. Find a private place to talk with a child about a poor choice or behavior. Help
students formulate their own alternate choices by guiding them to a positive solution and outcome.
6. When children experiment they should not be punished for trying something that may turn out differently than the teacher
7. Utilize physical activity to teach fairness and sportsmanship.

Teachers should focus on achievement and peer relationships at the elementary level. Classroom examples that can be incorporated at the Elementary level are as follows:
1. Create a list of classroom duties that needed to be completed on a scheduled bases. Ask students for their input when
creating the list as well sas who will be in charge of what.
2. Discuss and post classroom rules. Make sure to include students in the decision making process when discussing rules.
3. Encourage students to think outside of their day-to-day routine by role plaing different situations.
4. Let students know that striving for perfection is not as important as learning from mistakes. Teach them to hold their head
high and move forward.
5. Encourage children to help students who may be having trouble socially and/or academically. Never allow any
child to make fun of or bully another child.
6. Build confidence by recognizing success in what children do best.
7. Provide a variety of choices when making an assignment so that students can express themselves with a focus on their
8. Utilize physical activity to build social development and to help students appreciate their own abilities as well as the abilities of

During the middle and high school years, building identity and self-esteem should be part of a teacher's focus. Classroom examples that can be incorporated at the Middle School and High School level are as follows:
1. Treat all students equally. Do not show favoratism to a certain group of students based on gender, race, academic ability or
socioeconimic status.
2. Incorporate guest speakers and curriculum activities from as many areas as possible so as to expose students to many career
3. Encourage students to focus on their strengths and acknowledge them when they exhibit work that incorporates these
4. Encourage students to develop confidence by trying different approaches to solving problems.
5. Incorporate life skills into lesson planning to increase confidence and self-sufficiency.
6. Utilize physical activity to help relieve stress, negative feelings and improve moods.

How to Apply Psychosocial Development in the Classroom. (November 28, 2010). Retrieved January 28, 2011, from

Psychosocial Development in Physical Activity. (June 4, 2010). Retrieved January 28, 2011, from