Psychological foundations of personality education in adolescence
Youth as a phenomenon of culture
Youth, or adolescent age, is the time period separating a teenager from an adult. This segment of a person's life is most often limited to the age interval - from 17 to 21 years for boys and from 16 to 20 years for girls. The difference in the offensive and the end of adolescence between young men and women, in this case is due to the physiological characteristics of the development of people of different sexes. In this case, other temporary borders of adolescence are often indicated. In the cultural traditions of many peoples, youth is seen as an independent and highly valuable period of a person's life. Since the second half of the XX century, and almost to this day, the first years of adolescence for most people coincide with the time of schooling in high school. Therefore, often in the psychological and practically always in the pedagogical literature, the beginning of adolescence is called early adolescence or senior school age.
The boundaries of adolescence, as well as of other ages, have changed over time and are now largely dependent on cultural traditions. So, for example, in the national psychology and pedagogy, youth is usually limited to 14-18 years, and the early age is defined by the age boundaries of 14-17 years. Everything else in Western European and North American culture, where adolescence and adolescence are usually not divided, are viewed as a single age stage. In this case, its scope is determined in very wide time frames from 12-14 to 25 years.
From the point of view of physiology, adolescence is characterized by the completion of turbulent processes of puberty. In place of puberty comes post-pubertal period. The growth and physical development of the organism are significantly slowed down compared to previous age periods. The completion stage includes the process of functional development of tissues and organs, muscular strength increases, and the work capacity increases markedly. These features of the functioning of the body have a significant effect on the general mental state. However, while acknowledging their importance, most experts emphasize that the main role in the development of the psychosocial and cognitive sphere of the personality during the adolescent age is played not by them but by the social development situation (IV Dubrovina, AM Prikhozhan, B. D Elkonin, etc.).
Youth is one of the most important historical achievements of civilization, allowing a young man to maximize his intellectual and creative abilities, his personality before entering adulthood. Obviously, these complex processes do not take place by themselves, they require deep serious internal work. The solution of the tasks of upbringing in a given age period should be based on knowledge of the psychosocial and cognitive development of young men and women, studied by pedagogical psychology.
Peculiarities of the mental development of the personality in the period of adolescence
Culture and society in this age period put before the young man the task of professional self-determination. And if at the previous age stages the dreams of the future profession were quite enough, now a real professional choice is inevitably required. At present, in our country this choice can often take place in stages, first the young man needs to determine for himself the form of secondary education or the profile of education in the senior classes, and then decide on obtaining a particular profession.
The current situation of professional self-determination of young men differs significantly from the one that prevailed until recently at the end of the 20th century. In the cultural traditions of the XX century. The profession was usually chosen once and for all, because it was considered as the main meaning-creating business in life. In the modern world, it often happens differently. Boys and girls, as a rule, choose not a profession, but a lifestyle. The profession in this case is not so much an independent goal and the meaning of life, but rather a means to achieve the expected social status and the required level of material comfort.
Thus, for example, in most modern United States higher educational establishments, research units have been created that study the motivation for choosing young people and girls from universities, faculties, and specialties. Research beginning of the XXI century. testify that among the young men and women the number of people choosing a profession but ideological reasons is reduced, as a vocation. At the same time, the number of people indicating the main motives for choosing a higher education institution - its location ("live side by side ...") is growing; acquaintance with accidentally fallen into the hands of advertising, etc. This is no reason to blame modern young men and women for neglecting their future or infantilism, as is sometimes done. This should not be seen as any danger. The choice of the profession at present is only a step on the big path of conscious professional self-determination, and not its final stage, as it was in the 20th century. If it turns out that the chosen profession does not guarantee the social standard required by the individual, does not allow to match the chosen lifestyle, it is rejected and acquired by another. The practice of changing professions, getting a second and third higher education has become the norm and no one is surprised and shocked.
This problem is not new, yet J.-J. Rousseau wrote about conscious self-determination in adolescence, referring to adolescence as being a "second birth" personality. Despite the fact that the elements of conscious self-determination can already be seen in the case of a teenager who sets certain life goals, the self-determination of a young man is different. He is already realizing his plans, thus affirming the chosen lifestyle, actively mastering certain professional and social skills. Errors along this path can lead to serious problems of a dramatic nature. Therefore, youth is considered a fateful period in a person's life.
This circumstance requires a revision in the age psychology of the notion of a leading activity for a given age. The task of professional self-determination, which was a key issue at this stage of age development, should now be viewed in a broader context, like the task of designing one's own future, determining the general design of one's own life. And in earlier times, many psychologists believed that turning to the future, building life plans and prospects is an affective center of life for boys and girls (LI Bozhovich). According to LI Bozhovich, a teenager looks at the future from the perspective of the present, and the young man looks at the present from the perspective of the future.
In youthful age, the process of developing self-consciousness that has begun earlier is actively evolving. The discovery of oneself as a unique personality is closely associated with the intensively occurring discovery of new facets of the surrounding world, especially in the world of social relations. In this process, the main role is played by the propensity of young men and women to reflect, introspection. Boys and girls are more than teenagers, are focused on the search for the world outlook of their own existence and understanding of the moral foundations of society, which sets their psychosocial self-determination a special moral vector. Psychologist IV Dubrovin, on the basis of his own research, argues that the main neoformation of early adolescence is readiness and the ability for personal and life self-determination.
This is confirmed in the studies of foreign psychologists, dedicated to the psychosocial features of personality development in adolescence. In particular, this is in tune with the data of the American psychologist Eric Erickson, who proposed the concept of "identity". Despite the fact that in modern psychology the range of its application is incredibly wide (it studies national identity, ethnic identity, professional identity, etc.), most often the problem of identity is considered in relation to adolescence. Identity E. Erickson interpreted as the integrity, the identity of a man to himself. Identity, in his representations, is the result of the acquisition by the individual of his own "I", not dependent on the constantly changing external situation. E. Erickson emphasized that youth is a period of pronounced identity crisis, when a person has to develop his main life prospects from his own individual life experience. The person of this age faces a difficult task - to unite everything that he knows about himself in a single concept. This concept must be coordinated in his mind and transformed into a coherent whole of all the roles that he had, must and will have to be performed in life. And moreover, the comprehension of these roles must relate the past and the future. To successfully cope with the task of finding an identity for a young man means to find the first satisfactory answers to questions about "who is he?"; "Where is it?" Where are you going? and the like.
If there is a violation of the normal course of the process of identity formation, there is a so-called confusion of roles, or "confused identity". The youthful confused identity most often the result of a difficult childhood. "Confused identity", or mismatch in understanding one's own roles is often observed in juvenile offenders. This circumstance makes us consider the formation of identity as applied to this age as one of the most important educational tasks.
A special block of educational and social problems is associated with the manifestations of "negative identity" - a phenomenon that is very common in a youthful environment. Due to different circumstances, boys and girls often identify themselves with images that are opposite to those that parents, teachers and society try to offer them. Discussing this problem, E. Erickson came to the conclusion that even a negative identity in adolescence is preferable to the absence of identity in general. In his opinion, the lack of a sense of having one's own I - an educational phenomenon is more disturbing than, for example, identifying yourself with a "hippie", a juvenile criminal and even a drug addict.
Studying the process of entering young people in the socio-cultural context of their time, the psychologist A. Tolstykh came to interesting conclusions from the point of view of the practice of education that in his youth a person becomes more "consonant with the epoch". He consciously constitutes himself as a representative of a certain generation, which necessarily unites and "synchronizes" with some important events of modern social life, attitudes, tastes, fashion. The consequence of this is that most people retain their love of the music of their youth for the rest of their lives, the preference for the dominant style of dress, the type of male or female beauty, and, of course, special feelings for the values and ideals that they were committed to during the period entering into adulthood. In his youth, in the figurative expression of the German psychologist E. Spranger, who was still working at the beginning of the 20th century, the individual psyche grows into the objective and normative spirit of the age. Strongly expressed consonance of the era creates a special background for all educational work in this age period.
Young men and girls have much more intellectual and physical abilities than younger schoolchildren or teenagers, for active interaction with culture. They are quite capable of reading, traveling, visiting museums, theaters, concerts. The emotional charge received in youth from dialogue with culture, remains for all life. To miss this chance means forever to lose the free, fresh, not distorted by external (professional, social, etc.) stratifications of the person's familiarization with culture. It is often impossible to make up for lost time in adolescence.
Describing the classical version of the mental development of the personality in adolescence, E. Spranger noted that the most characteristic in the development of young men is that the intentions, interests of representatives of this age group are directed far into the future. Building his own life, the young man, as a rule, tries to behave to a certain extent autonomously, regardless of what seems reasonable or reasonable for the adults and society as a whole. He tries to actively expand the repertoire of his own possibilities by including new cognitive and social reference points in his own way of life. The French psychologist R. Thome conventionally called this type of mental development in his youth "creative", and as a type of the opposite suggests "pragmatic". For representatives of pragmatic type is characterized by an orientation toward expediency and the desire to escape from sources of anxiety.
The consciousness of young men and women, whose type of development is called pragmatic, is usually characterized by the domination of material values. Often they refuse to receive further education. Despite the destructiveness of these manifestations, the main reason for the concern of educators and society is not them. In the educational aspect it is important to understand that pragmatic young men and women are among pupils whose development is a development in the full sense of the word. Their personality is arranged in such a way that the central is the desire to establish a balance with the environment, and not the desire for self-improvement and improvement of the environment itself. For a given age, the predominance of pragmatic attitudes in the mind of a person is fatal.
In adolescence, the character of establishing interpersonal contacts, attachments, and friendships undergoes significant changes. With the youthful age in culture, the ideas of the first love and adult friendly relations are usually associated. These events and related experiences are usually very strong, they remain forever in the memory of a person and greatly influence his future life.
Descriptions of the main features of the mental development of people of any age are always conditional and the young men here are no exception. Obviously, there are quite significant individual-typological variations due to a variety of factors. Back in the 1920s, the already mentioned psychologist E. Spranger, wrote that three types of personality development in adolescence are possible. The first is characterized by a violent crisis, when youth is experienced as a second birth, the second type is characterized by a slow, gradual entry into adulthood, without profound changes in one's own personality, the third type is marked by an increased inclination to self-education, to striving to overcome internal anxieties and crises by an effort of will.
From the point of view of upbringing, it is important that in almost all cultures adolescence is viewed as an extremely valuable stage in a person's life. Youth is a time to be bitterly separated, a time in which many would like to return. These circumstances are well represented in works of art. Subjective sensations of the attractiveness of adolescence are supported by culture and are dangerous for the possibility of reassessing the significance of this age period to the detriment of others.
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