Saturday 1 April 2017

What is “Sentiment”?

The present article is all about what sentiment means, about self-regarding sentiments (such as self-concept, self-esteem, and self-image) about the process of formation of character, as well as types of character (such as amoral, expedient, conformist, irrational conscientious, and rational altruistic).

What is “Sentiment”?

What is Sentiment
A sentiment is a combination of various emotions clustered around some important persons, objects, ideals and values. These sentiments form one's permanent emotional disposition.

In the initial stage, these sentiments are centered around family members. Later, these are developed around one's community members and are based on caste, religion and language.

Gradually, they are transformed into abstract ideals of cooperation, gregariousness (fond of company), honesty, truthfulness and justice.

For instance, one person from Bihar gets excited to see another Behari in Kanyakumari, because they belong to the same state. But the same Behari may be happy to see any Indian in Canada, because they belong to the same nation.

Self-regarding Sentiments:

Before we discuss the concept of self-regarding sentiments, we should first understand and have clarity on the term “self”. Self means oneself- one’s identity, one’s personality, that is what one is.

Self can be defined roughly as the elaboration of such statements as –“I am this sort of a person. These are my strengths and weaknesses....”

Thus, self refers to the image of total personality of an individual, including bodily self and the sense of identity. Self is the central point of personality. It directs the process of individualization through which the useful and creative aspects of the unconscious are made conscious and channeled into productive activity.


A human being is aware of himself. He is aware of his past and future, and of other people, friends, enemies and strangers.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Frustration & Conflict: Measures to Resolve Conflicts; Various Forms of Defence Mechanism

The present article discusses about frustration, the concept of conflict, types of conflict, various measures for resolving conflicts, and definition and forms of defence mechanism.

What is Frustration?

Frustration & Conflict
Frustration & Conflict
Frustration is the hollow state of mind which occurs when a goal response is blocked. In other words, it occurs when satisfaction of needs is interfered with or blocked.
One major element of maladjustment that is consistently repeated in almost all the causes of maladjusted behavior is frustration. Frustration may be due to familial conditions, school atmosphere, personal inadequacy or peer group relationship.

Frustration could take place under two circumstances:

  • When the biological, psychological and social needs of the students are not fulfilled or satisfied
  • When the individual faces conflicting situations or moral dilemmas

Concept of Conflict:

Before going ahead, let us understand the difference between conflict and frustration. Yes, there is a difference between conflict and frustration. The latter (frustration) is the product or the consequence of the dissatisfaction of needs, whereas, the former (conflict) is the process, or one of the factors responsible for causing frustration.
Conflict is the operation of two incompatible action systems, it may be drives; needs, values, tendencies and impulses. The individual finds it difficult to make a choice between two conflicting situations.

A conflict is caused under two situations.

First, it (conflict) arises when there is an urge to fulfill the two equally important objectives, needs, drives, values, tendencies and impulses. This situation of conflict is exemplified in the following situation.

Example: Mr. Singh is a Police Inspector. He is quite sincere and honest in his work. He has a good reputation in the community. Like any other responsible father, he too arranges his daughter's wedding. Unfortunately, the marriage expenses exceed the budget and he finds it difficult to manage. At that moment, his wife advises him to borrow money from his friends. But Mr. Singh cannot even think of borrowing money from others as he gives much importance to self-respect.

So, the situation may create a conflict in his mind. In the above given example, you find that the psychological need of self-respect is incompatible with the social need or social status in the community.

Second, conflict arises when two different goals are set to fulfill a single need. For example, a young girl wants to establish herself as a social scientist. There are many ways through which she can get recognition. She can work hard as a committed researcher and achieve her objective, or can seek the influence of the higher authority in the department and get the academic recognition, without working on it.

She is in a dilemma, whether to seriously work or achieve the goal through easy means. Often, people find easy means to come up in life, eventually gain, but this leads to tension and anxiety.

Types of Conflicts:

Conflicts are classified into three types. These are the following:

An approach-approach conflict:

An approach-approach conflict is a situation, wherein I the individual is caught between two mutually exclusive goals which are desirable and also are difficult to realize simultaneously. This is exemplified in the following situation. A student prepares for his examination, is keen to secure high marks but at the same time, wishes to attend the wedding of his best friend, both due on the same day.

Similarly, a girl who is eager to marry her fiance, and also wishes to complete her computer course in the same semester itself. In these illustrations, you find that the boy and girl should move towards the other goal in order to achieve one.

An approach - avoidance conflict:

Let us consider a common example. A girl of twenty five wishes to marry a boy who is highly qualified and well placed. She hesitates to achieve her goal because the life style of the boy is totally different from the girl. He smokes and drinks. Similarly a boy wants to approach his father to obtain grace marks in two subjects.

However, he hesitates to approach him, as he had assured his father that he would secure a rank in his class. This situation creates conflict in the student's mind. These examples reveal that at some point of time the person wishes to realize the goal and at the same time avoids the goal.

Thus, approach-avoidance conflict is a situation wherein the individual is motivated to achieve a goal and at the same time develops a tendency to avoid it.

An avoidance-avoidance conflict:

An avoidance-avoidance conflict is a situation, wherein an individual is motivated to avoid both the goals. Observe yet another dilemma. Karan is forced by his friends to see a new movie, which he is reluctant to watch. At the same time, he does not want to displease his friends by saying that he would not accompany them for the movie. In this situation, he wants to avoid both the goals and finally faces a conflicting situation.

Measures for Resolving Conflicts:

Every individual faces a conflict in life sometime or the other. But it is not necessary that every time, it leads him to frustration. Whenever he meets frustration in life he develops tolerance towards that situation. Thus, every individual develops a certain degree of frustration tolerance. A person who has low frustration tolerance may live in a maladjusted manner.

If an individual is intelligent and has an insight into the problem, he will find ways and means to solve it. In such situations, he may adopt the direct method or an adaptive mechanism, to solve his problem.

On the other hand, if he is timid and weak in understanding the problem, he may adopt the indirect method or a defensive mechanism to escape from the conflicting situation. You, as a teacher, have to develop in the students the skills to resolve conflicts.

Some of the adaptive mechanisms of resolving conflicts are as follows:

Accepting reality:

We tend to move far away from reality. We set our targets beyond our capacity to achieve. Instead, if we change our goals and re-set them according to reality, it may be feasible for us to achieve the goals and thus solve the conflicting situation.
For example, a teen-age girl aspires to study medicine in the United States, but her financial position forces her to re-set her goal and takes up the course in one of the best colleges in the city or country.

Analyzing problem situation:

 Whenever we face conflicts in life, we usually think of only one alternative solution. If that alternative is not a viable one to help us arrive at the solution, we stop at that point itself and start worrying about it.

An intelligent person will not react in such a passive manner. He may think of as many alternatives as possible for a given problem and analyze the pros and cons of each of the alternatives and may find a better solution.

Prioritizing the goal:

At times, you might have observed that individuals meet with conflicting situations, where more than two goals are involved. In such situations, one should work out positive and negative aspects of achieving each one of these goals and choose the best.

For example, a student may want to finish an assignment in time but there is a very interesting movie on television he does not want to miss. Here he may face a conflict which may be resolved by prioritizing the goal.

Developing value-judgement:

One should develop the ability to judge values when one is facing a moral or value dilemma. Study the following situation.

Diverging one's interest:

Open mindedness could help solve one's problems easily. Narrowing down our interest to one specific act leads to conflict.

For example, Smith is good at drawing. He is keen to take up Architecture as his specialization because of his interest towards arts. Unfortunately, he fails to obtain a seat in that course. Immediately, he switches over to Mechanical Engineering. He further utilizes his talent by developing interest in freelancing artwork, calligraphy, advertising, etc. Thus, changing one's interest also solves the problem to some extent.

Defence Mechanism:

Defence mechanism is a technique adopted by individuals to cope with tension, stress and anxiety that are mainly aroused by conflicts.

When an individual meets with such a problem, instead of developing an insight to solve it, he may find an easy way to escape from the problem and give a totally different explanation for it.

However, psychologists are of the view that a defence mechanism rescues the individual from maladjusted behavior. Nevertheless, excessive use of such techniques may again lead to maladjustment.

Types of Defence Mechanisms:


It is a tension-reducing device and is temporary in state. Human tendency is to retain the pleasurable experiences in mind and push aside the undesirable one’s to the sub-conscious mind or one may force oneself to forget such unpleasant experiences by repressing it. This is true even with growing children.

Reaction formation: 

This is a technique wherein an individual reacts in an extreme way for the one he is already in conflict about. It is just switching over from one end of reaction to the other end. For example, a child who has been very notorious during his early school becomes cooperative later on and helps in the study of his classmates.


It is a mechanism wherein the individual gives false reasons, other than the actual one in order to reduce his guilt feeling raised out of conflict.

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.