Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Adjustment & Maladjustment: Characteristics and Causes

The present article deals with ‘Adjustment’ and ‘Maladjustment’, characteristics of a well adjusted person and a maladjusted person, as well as causes of maladjustment.
Adjustment & Maladjustment
Adjustment & Maladjustment

What is “Adjustment”?

The term “adjustment” originates from the biological term “adaptation”. Biologists used the term “adaptation” strictly for the physical demands of the environment, but psychologists use the term “adjustment” for varying conditions of social or inter-personal relations in the society.
Adjustment means the reaction to the demands and pressures of social environment imposed upon the individual. The demand to which the individual has to react may be external or internal.
Psychologists have viewed adjustment from two important perspectives—“adjustment as an achievement”, and “adjustment as a process”.

Adjustment as achievement:

‘Adjustment as achievement’ means how efficiently an individual can perform his duties under different circumstances.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Edward Lee Thorndike: Theory of Learning

The present article describes in details the Theory of Learning propounded by Edward Lee Thorndike, his Laws of Learning--Law of Readiness, Law of Excercise, Law of Effect.

Edward Lee Thorndike
Edward Lee Thorndike
Edward Lee Ted Thorndike (31 August 1874 - 9 August 1949) was an American psychologist, who developed learning theory that lead to the development of operant conditioning within behaviorism.
Whereas, Classical Conditioning depends on developing associations between events, Operant Conditioning involves learning from the consequences of the behavior. Skinner's Theory of Operant Conditioning was built on the ideas of Edward Thorndike.
Thorndike was a pioneer not only in behaviorism and in studying learning, but also in using animals in psychology experiments.
Connectionism is a learning theory which is based on the concept of bonds formed between stimulus and response i.e., natural connections between Situations (S) and Responses (R) are formed and strengthened. The stimulus affects the organism which responds to it. Thus, S-R bonds are formed which are considered as physical conditions. 
This theory of learning is related to conditioning that utilizes the concept of association of connection. It emphasizes that the behavior begins with conditioned reflexes and natural responses and new behaviors result from the acquisition of new bonds through experience. Thorndike formulated the major laws of learning on basis of his belief in connectionism.

Thorndike’s Puzzle Box:

One of Thorndike major contributions to the study of psychology was his work with animals. He believed that learning occurred through trial and error. The animal made many responses, many of them were wrong and ineffective and eventually learned to repeat those that got desirable results.
Thorndike's Puzzle Box
Puzzle Box
Thorndike felt that the learning was a matter of creating associations between stimuli and response and no speculation about mind was necessary or useful. Through long, extensive research with these animals, he constructed device called puzzle box.
The puzzle box was approximately 20 inches long, 15 inches wide and 11 inches tall. The box had a door that was pulled open by a weight attached to a string that ran over a pulley and was attached to the door. The string attached to the door led to a lever or button inside the box. When the animal pressed the bar or pulled the lever, the string attached to the door would cause the weight to lift and the door to open.

At first, cat put in the cage explored restlessly, but did not know how to escape. Eventually, they stepped on the foot switch and the trap door opened. On succeeding trials, they operated the switch faster.
Cat in Puzzle Box
Cat in Puzzle Box
Thorndike explained learning with his “law of effect”. Animals tended to repeat a behavior that resulted in a pleasing effect. This was an early version of the concept of positive reinforcement that Skinner has used effectively. Behavior was varied during a trial and error phase. Thorndike believed that the animal stumbled upon a behavior that produced a desirable effect.

This created a link between stimulus (cage) and, a response (stepping on switch or pulling the lever). Later, in the same stimulus situation, that response occurred faster.
He produced a graph called a "learning curve" showing the number of seconds the animal took to escape on each trial.
Learning Curve
Learning Curve
Thorndike concluded that all animals learn, solely by trial and error or reward and punishment. He used the cat’s behavior in the puzzle box to describe what happens when all the beings learn together. 
All learning involves the formation of connection and connections were strengthened according to law of effect. Intelligence is the ability to form connections and humans are the most evolved animal because they form more connections than any other being.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Motivation: Definition, Classification, Source, Types, and General Approaches to Motivation

The present article discusses about motivation, definitions and characteristics of motivation, classification of motivation, sources of motivation (to learn), types of motivation, and four general approaches to motivation.

What is “Motivation”? 

Motivation is essential to the operation of organizations and classroom activities. The behavior is caused by the certain causes which relate to person’s needs and consequences that results from acts. 

Motives are expressions of a person’s needs. Incentives on the other hand, are external to the person. 

Definitions of Motivation: 

According to B.F. Skinner, “Motivation in school learning involves arousing, persisting, sustaining and directing desirable behavior.” 

According to Woodworth, “Motivation is the state of the individual which disposes him to certain behavior for seeking goal.” 

Characteristics of Motivation:

  • Personal and internal feeling.
  • Art of stimulating someone.
  • Produces goal.
  • Motivation can be either positive or negative.
  • It is system oriented.
  • It is a sort of bargaining.

Classification of Motivation: 

Classification of Motivation
Classification of Motivation

Primary, Basic or Physiological Needs: 

It includes food, water, sleep, sex, etc. These needs arise out of the basic physiology of life and these are important for survival and preservation of species. 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

What Are "Multiculturalism" and "Multicultural Education"?: Goals and Benefits

The present article discusses what multiculturalism stands for; what pluralistic societies or multicultural societies refer to, about macro-cultures, melting pot societies, distinct societies. It also deals with multiculturalism in classroom, cultural pluralism in education, and goals and benefits of multicultural education. Hope you all will enjoy reading this.


What is “Multiculturalism”?

Let’s start with an example. We all have heard about North America. There, multiculturalism has been a fact of life for many years, which is to say that, for many years, North American societies have been composed of a multitude of different cultures. 

In a layman’s term, multiculturalism means “having to do with many cultures”. A culture is the totality of the customary ways of behaving, the beliefs, the attainments, the stories, the songs, the dances, of an identifiable group of people, or of a specified period of time. 

Pluralistic societies (or multicultural societies)--that is, societies such as those in the United States of America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand that are made up of a large number of cultures--are often described by sociologists as having “macro-cultures”.

What is “macro-culture”? A macro-culture is a sort of umbrella culture made up of the combination of many different cultures in what are termed “melting pot” societies.

Within multicultural societies, there are typically also a large number of distinct micro-cultures--that is, identifiable groupings of people who share beliefs, values, and behaviors that are distinctly different from the mainstream ones. 

In Canada, another expression is sometimes used to describe the multiple cultures that make up the nation, that of “distinct societies”.

What is “Culture”? It signifies the customs, beliefs, achievements, art, and literature that is particular to a distinct group of people. 

What are “pluralistic societies”? Societies which are composed of many different cultures are called pluralistic societies. 

What is “macro-culture”? It refers to the type of culture that results from the melding of aspects of a variety of different cultures over time.

What are “melting pot societies”?  Geographical or political entities composed of a variety of cultures that are gradually assimilated to the dominant culture. The end result is that individual cultures are no longer identifiable, and the dominant culture becomes a macro-culture.

What is “micro-culture”?  Within a pluralistic society, identifiable minority groups who share a distinct culture different from that of the majority culture.

What is “distinct society”?  It is a metaphor used to describe the Canadian cultural scene where, theoretically, two distinct cultures coexist; neither has been assimilated to the other as would happen in a melting pot society. 

How a “race” is different from culture? We often think of culture and race as though they were largely synonymous. But, strictly speaking, a race is a major biological subdivision of individuals who share a common genetic ancestry and who are often identified on the basis of physical characteristics. 

The term “Ethnic” is another one which is frequently bandied about as though it meant both race and culture.

What ethnic signifies is membership in a racial, cultural, or language group where individuals share important things such as beliefs and values, history, or other characteristics. This causes them to have a sense of shared identity, or belongingness.

So when we speak of ethnic difference, we might be referring to language differences, cultural differences, or racial differences—or perhaps to all three.

What is a “race”? Race is a biological term referring to an attempt to classify humans in groups distinguishable in terms of their genetic ancestry; often identifiable on the basis of physical, mental, or personality characteristics. The concept is unclear, contradictory, and not very useful.

What is “racism”? It refers to the belief that identifiable groups of humans inherit different physical, mental, and personality characteristics.

What is “ethnic”? It refers to the sharing of beliefs, values, history, or other characteristics, as might happen with distinct cultural or language groups. 

What is “Multicultural Education”?

Multicultural education refers to the education that reflects an understanding and appreciation of different cultures and that accommodates to the needs of children from different backgrounds.

Multicultural Education

Multicultural education is three things, explain Banks and Banks (1997): First, it’s the idea that all children, regardless of their ethnic characteristics, should have an equal opportunity to learn and grow in school; second, it’s a reform movement that is trying to change schools to make this idea a reality; and third, it’s the ongoing, never-ending process of devising and implementing the changes that the reform movement requires.

Multicultural education is enormously challenging and also intensely controversial. This is clearly evident, for example, in the language issue that faces California.

Why We Need Multicultural Education:

As we have seen because of differing birth and immigration: rates, the demographic characteristics of North American societies are changing rapidly; as a result, increasing numbers of students come to school with limited English language proficiency. And it has repeatedly been shown that, such students are at serious risk of failing in school (Jimenez, Garcia, & Pearson, 1995).

What are the “Remedial Measures” for Behavior Problem?

The present article discusses various remedial measures necessary for behavior problem. These measures include "teacher’s Attitude towards his/her job", "change in teacher’s attitude towards the problem child", "abolition of physical punishment", "opportunity to learn good behavior", "good teaching", "motherly attitude of teachers", "appointment of lady teachers", and "behavior modification techniques".

Remedial Measures

If we have to help the problem child to proceed along correct lines and to maximize his potentialities, the following remedial measures needs to be taken:

(i) Teacher’s Attitude towards His Job:

Some teachers believe that teaching is the only duty which they have to perform and that remediation of behaviour problem is not their responsibility. Thus, they lack concern in behaviour problems of children. In worst cases they refer a problem child to the headmaster. In reality, showing lack of concern or referring problem cases to the headmaster is an instance of avoiding or shifting responsibility. 

A teacher may live in peace for sometime by keeping himself aloof from the problem situation but this does not bring permanent solution of the problem. The teacher fails to understand the child. His problem becomes more and more serious. A time comes when his instruction is bound to be interrupted. Due to lack of a sense of responsibility on the part of the teacher, other children in the classroom are also affected.

Monday, 20 March 2017

What is “Behavior Problem”?

The present article will discuss in detail about behavior problem”, “its (behavior problem) occurrence at different stages of development”, “symptoms or signs of behavior problem”, “causes of behavior problem”, what is meant by “adolescent rebellion”.

Behavior Problem
Behavior Problem

What is “Behavior Problem”?

Every child shows some behavior problem at a particular stage or at different stages of development in his life. But in case of some children, behavior problems occur more frequently. Some of these behavioral problems persist over a period of time like a chronic disease. In most cases, these problems interfere with their normal day-to-day activities and the activities of the classroom.

The behavior problem refers to those behaviors of the child which create or which are likely to create difficulties in the learning activities of the child. As a result, the instructional program and discipline of the classroom get hampered.

About 2-4 percent of children in the classroom demonstrate behavior problems. The occurrence of behavior problems is more in case of boys than in case of girls. Girls also experience behavioral problem; since they (girls) are more capable of socially adaptable behavior, their problems do not come to focus.

A child may show one or more than one behavior problem during his period of development. Some behavior problems may occur at a specific stage of development while some behavior problems occur at different stages.

For example, revolt against parents, teachers, and other authority figures is characteristics feature of adolescence. Similarly, stranger anxiety is a problem of infancy. Lack of interest in studies or negligence of duties may occur at any stage of development.

M. Dash (1995) conducted a study on behavior problems of children. His findings reveal the following behavior problems occurring at different stages of development.

Stages of Development
Behavior Problems
Lack of appetite
Stranger anxiety
Separation anxiety
Sibling rivalry
Early Childhood
Excessive shyness
Temper tantrums
Bullying and teasing
Late Childhood
Excessive shyness
Temper tantrums
Bullying and teasing
Telling a lie
Destroying school property
Getting nervous and feeling disappointed over petty matters

Rebellion against parents, teachers, and authority
Unhappiness and excessively moody
Bullying and teasing
Telling a lie
Destroying school property
Defiance and disobedience
Excessive daydreaming
Objectionable behavior towards girls
Getting disappointed over petty matters
Excessively thoughtful
Excessive carelessness

Causes of Behavior Problems:

Every behavior has a cause. The behavior problem of a child has also a cause or a number of causes. The manner in which the child behaves is clear enough to suggest that he has a problem. This external manifestation of the child’s problem through his typical behavior may not indicate the real cause or causes of his problem.

For example, a child of Class V steals money from the schoolbag of his classmates. But why does he steal money? There may be a number of causes of his stealing money. Stealing money is a symptom of an underlying problem. The causes of his behavior problem cannot be ascertained from its symptom. The causes of his behavior problem can only be ascertained through a psychological analysis.

A child behaves in a specific way to meet his basic needs and to avoid or to get rid of frustrating circumstances or the impending danger which may arise out of the failure to satisfy his basic needs. if his behavior is not socially acceptable, it is considered as behavior problem.

Behavior problems are not hereditary in nature. They are caused by social and psychological environment of the child. The environment which causes behavior problem may be the home environment or the school environment of the child.

Home Environment:

Some children come from families with low socio-economic status. The way such children are brought up, the care, education and stimulation which they receive in their homes cause behavior problems in such children.

It is generally noticed that the occurrence of behavior problems is more in case of children who come from low societies than those children who belong to middle class or high class societies.

For example, a child from low class society may learn that stealing is acceptable until it is detected. But a child from high class society may learn that stealing is bad.

In some homes, parents exert authority over their children. Children who are brought up by authoritarian parents generally show bullying and teasing behavior towards their classmates. Some children are rebuked, scolded, insulted, blamed and punished very frequently by their parents. They are considered as useless by their parents. In some cases, these children are rejected and neglected by their parents. Such children show behavior problems at later point of time.

Parents teach social and moral values to their children. Children also learn values from their peers. Very often parental values come in conflict with the value system of peers. If the child fails to appreciate the parental values and behave accordingly and if his behavior is predominantly influenced by the value system of peers, behavior problem may occur.  This is particularly noticed during adolescence. We call it “adolescent rebellion”.

In some homes, children are discourages by their parents for performing various activities. Such children fail to co-operate in various school programs. A child who has been discouraged in his home does not understand the significance of co-operative behavior in school. Rather, he demonstrates “attention-getting mechanism” to draw other’s attention towards him.

School Environment:

In addition to the home environment, the school environment is largely responsible for behavior problems of children.

The school policy, the social, moral and psychological climate of the school, teacher’s behavior and attitude towards the problem child, and inter-personal relationship among children in the school, etc. lead to the behavior problem or aggravate the behavior problem of children.

Some children notice differences in the behavior acceptable in school and those that are encouraged at home. Generally in most schools, middle class behavioral standards are accepted. If a child from low social class imitates the behavior of middle class and behaves accordingly at his home, parents discourages it.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Main Recommendations of "Education Commission" (Kothari Commission) (1964-1966)

The present article will let you know about the Indian Education Commission (which is also popularly known as "Kothari Commission"). The Commission was set up by the Government of India on 14 July 1964 under the chairmanship of Daulat Singh Kothari, then chairman of the University Grants Commission. The Commission's aimed at examining all aspects of the educational sector across the country. Among other objectives behind setting up of this Commission also included evolution of a general pattern of education. The commission, under the chairmanship of D. S. Kothari, was the sixth commission in India post independence and the first commission with comprehensive terms of reference on education. The Commission had submitted its Report on 29 June 1966; its recommendations were accommodated in India's first National Policy on Education in 1968. 

Education Commission or Kothari Commission

The main recommendations in the area of educational administration are as follows:

(1) Free and Compulsory Education:

 Strenuous efforts should be made for the early fulfillment of the Directive Principle under Article 45 of the Constitution seeking to provide free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14. Suitable programs should be developed to reduce the prevailing wastage and stagnation in schools and to ensure that every child who is enrolled in school successfully completes the prescribed course.

(2) Status, Emoluments and Education of Teachers

(a) Of all factors which determine the quality of education and its contribution to national development, the teacher is undoubtedly the most important. It is on his personal qualities and character, his educational qualifications and professional competence that the success of all educational endeavour must ultimately depend. Teachers must, therefore, be accorded an honoured place in society. Their emoluments and other service conditions should be adequate and satisfactory, having regard to their qualifications and responsibilities.

(b) The academic freedom of teachers to pursue and publish independent studies and researches and to speak and write about significant national and international issues should be protected.

(c) Teacher education, particularly in-service education, should receive due emphasis.

(3) Development of Languages

(a) Regional Languages: The energetic development of Indian languages and literature is a sine qua non for educational and cultural development. Unless this is done, the creative energies of the people will not be released, standards of education will not improve, knowledge will not spread to the people, and the gulf between the intelligentsia and the masses will remain, if not widen further. The regional languages are already in use as media of education at the primary and secondary stages. Urgent steps should now be taken to adopt them as media of education at the university stage.

(b) Three-Language Formula: At the secondary stage, the State Governments should adopt, and vigorously implement, the three-language formula which 'includes the study of a modern Indian language, preferably one of the southern languages, apart from Hindi and English in the Hindi-speaking States, and of Hindi along with the regional language and English in the non-Hindi speaking States. Suitable courses in Hindi and/or English should also be available in universities and colleges with a view to improving the proficiency of students in these languages up to the prescribed university standards.

(c) Hindi: Every effort should be made to promote the development of Hindi. In developing Hindi as the link language, due care should be taken to ensure that it will serve, as provided for in Article 351 of the Constitution, as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India. The establishment in non-Hindi States, of colleges and other institutions of higher education which use Hindi as the medium of education should be encouraged.

(d) Sanskrit: Considering the special importance of Sanskrit to the growth and development of Indian languages and its unique contribution to the cultural unity of the country, facilities for its teaching at the school and university stages should be offered on a more liberal scale. Development of new methods of teaching the language should be encouraged, and the possibility explored of including the study of Sanskrit in those courses (such as modern Indian languages, ancient Indian history, Indology and Indian philosophy) at the first and second degree stages, where such knowledge is useful.

(e) International Languages: Special emphasis needs to be laid on the study of English and other international languages. World knowledge is growing at a tremendous pace, especially in science and technology. India must not only keep up this growth but should also make her own significant contribution to it. For this purpose, study of English deserves to be specially strengthened.

(4) Equalization of Educational Opportunity

Strenuous efforts should be made to equalize educational opportunity.

(a) Regional imbalances in the provision of educational facilities should be corrected and good educational facilities should be provided in rural and other backward areas.

(b) To promote social cohesion and national integration the Common School System as recommended by the Education Commission should be adopted. Efforts should be made to improve the standard of education in general schools. All special schools like Public Schools should be required to admit students on the basis of merit and also to provide a prescribed proportion of free-studentships to prevent segregation of social classes. This will not, however, affect the rights of minorities under Article 30 of the Constitution.

(c) The education of girls should receive emphasis, not only on grounds of social justice, but also because it accelerates social transformation.

(d) More intensive efforts are needed to develop education among the backward classes and especially among the tribal people.

(e) Educational facilities for the physically and mentally handicapped children should be expanded and attempts should be made to develop integrated programs enabling the handicapped children to study in regular schools.

(5) Identification of Talent

 For the cultivation of excellence, it is necessary that talent in diverse fields should be identified at as early an age as possible, and every stimulus and opportunity given for its full development.

(6) Work-experience and National Service

 The school and the community should be brought closer through suitable programs of mutual service and support. Work-experience and national service, including participation in meaningful and challenging programs of community service and national reconstruction, should accordingly become an integral part of education. Emphasis in these programs should be on self-help, character formation and on developing a sense of social commitment.

(7) Science Education and Research

With a view to accelerating the growth of the national economy, science education and research should receive high priority. Science and mathematics should be an integral part of general education till the end of the school stage.

(8) Education for Agriculture and Industry

Special emphasis should be placed on the development of education for agriculture and industry.

(a) There should be at least one agricultural university in every State. These should, as far as possible, be single campus universities; but where necessary, they may have constituent colleges on different campuses. Other universities may also be assisted, where the necessary potential exists, to develop strong departments for the study of one or more aspects of agriculture.

(b) In technical education, practical training in industry should form an integral part of such education. Technical education and research should be related closely to industry, encouraging the flow of personnel both ways and providing for continuous cooperation in the provision, design and periodical review of training programs and facilities.

(c) There should be a continuous review of the agricultural, industrial and other technical manpower needs of the country and efforts should be made continuously to maintain a proper balance between the output of the educational institutions and employment opportunities.

(9) Production of Books

The quality of books should be improved by attracting the best writing talent through a liberal policy of incentives and remuneration. Immediate steps should be taken for the production of high quality textbooks for schools and universities. Frequent changes of textbooks should be avoided and their prices should be low enough for students of ordinary means to buy them. The possibility of establishing autonomous book corporations on commercial lines should be examined and efforts should be made to have a few basic textbooks common throughout the country. Special attention should be given to books for children and to university- level books in regional languages.

(10) Examinations

A major goal of examination reforms should be to improve the reliability and validity of examinations and to make evaluation a continuous process aimed at helping the student to improve his level of achievement rather than at 'certifying' the quality of his performance at a given moment of time.

(11) Secondary Education

(a) Educational opportunity at the secondary (and higher) level is a major instrument of social change and transformation. Facilities for secondary education should accordingly be extended expeditiously to the areas and classes which have been denied these in the past.

(b) There is a need to increase facilities for technical and vocational education at this stage. Provision of facilities for secondary and vocational education should conform broadly to the requirements of the developing economy and real employment opportunities. Such linkage is necessary to make technical and vocational education at the secondary stage effectively terminal. Facilities for technical and vocational education should be suitably diversified to cover a large number of fields, such as agriculture, industry, trade and commerce, medicine and public health, home management, arts and crafts, secretarial training, etc.