Imitation and education - Pedagogical psychology

Imitation and upbringing

Selective imitation, as noted in the studies of a number of specialists, begins to actively manifest in the child between the first and third year of life. It is about trying to repeat certain actions observed in other children. It was noticed that children of this age imitate parents much more often than brothers, sisters or heroes of favorite TV programs. Imitation is one of the effective ways of mastering new actions for the child. Culturologists and specialists in evolutionary psychology believe that the ability to imitate others was the most important factor in the achievement of human vertices of intellectual and technological development. Imitation is conditioned by consciousness, it is specific for a person, contrary to established opinions, it is rarely found even in chimpanzees. It is noticed that children with autism have great difficulties in imitation.

Naturally, children observe much more behavioral acts than they are able to imitate, so the question arises as to why they imitate one, and do not imitate other actions. N. Newcomb suggests four hypotheses in this regard:

1. Imitation facilitates social interaction. The parent usually reacts very positively to how the child imitates him. The responsiveness of the parent is reinforced by the child's imitative behavior. Such social reinforcement strengthens the desire of the child to imitate and influences the behavior that he chooses to follow. There is every reason to suppose that children will choose to follow the approved patterns of behavior.

2. Imitation as a way to look like the other. Closer to three years the child begins to imitate people, rather than actions. By the age of two, most children realize that they have more similarities with some people than with others. For example, boys begin to notice their similarities with fathers and other men, girls - with women. Understanding these patterns causes the child to make active attempts to find additional traits of similarity with other people, which allows them to better understand which category they belong to. They do this by imitating the actions of these people.

3. Emotional arousal as a precondition for imitation. Kids are much more likely to imitate their parents than other adults. This happens, probably because parents are much more likely than other adults to cause positive and negative emotions in kids. Increased attention of children attracts people who have the ability to bring him into a state of emotional arousal (joy, confusion, anger, fear, etc.). A similar process is observed when playing in bunks unfamiliar to each other two-year-olds, usually a more passive, calmer child imitates the most dominant, active, talkative.

4. Imitation as a means to an end. A conscious imitation is said when the child has an idea of ​​the goal that he wants to achieve by imitative action. For example, a three-year-old child may aspire to forcibly take away a toy from another if he sees that such behavior can lead to the desired result. If an adult (or an older child) and a two-to-three-year-old begin to build a house of cubes at the same time, the child will closely monitor how the adult does it, and then try to repeat it. Because this behavior leads to the desired result.

As writes, concluding this transfer, N. Newcomb: "... imitation can be the result of a certain reaction to the child's uncertainty about the correctness of his behavior, social reinforcement, the desire to look like the other or the desire to achieve certain goals." From the point of view of upbringing, it is important what kind of behavior the child will imitate in the first three years of life. This, to a large extent, depends on the samples observed by him, but at the same time, it also depends on the levels of the child's cognitive and emotional development.

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