Term Paper: Social Contexts of Development

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Social Contexts of Development

The social influence on human development is discussed. The role of parents, teachers, peers, family members and work colleagues in an individual's development is reviewed. The theories of development that includes development theory, cognitive theory, and moral theories are reviewed within the framework of human development.

Social development can be defined as a method of systematizing human energies and activities at higher levels to attain superior results. The use of human capability is enhanced in the course of development. Social development can also be explained as an 'upward directional movement of society from lower to higher boundaries of competence, understanding, originality, preference, achievement and other positive attributes'. (Social Development Theory: (www.icpd.org/development_theory/)Development of individuals and societies lead to an increased freedom of choice and an increased capacity to fulfill its choices by its own capacity and plan. Social development consists of two interconnected characteristics, namely, learning and application. Society finds out better ways to realize its ambitions and it builds up organizational mechanisms to communicate that knowledge to accomplish its social and economic goals. The course of discovery enlarges human awareness. The course of application improves social organization. (Social Development Theory: (www.icpd.org/development_theory/)

Eccles and Templeton propose a list of characteristics of social contexts that encourage positive youth development. They are: Sufficient provisions for physical and psychological safety; Developmentally fitting levels of structure and adult supervision; Helpful relationships with adults; Sympathetic and reverential relationships among peers; Opportunities to build a strong sense of belonging; Opportunities to understand mastery and mattering; Opportunities to learn the cognitive and non-cognitive skills essential for success in school, work, and other encouraging social settings and Strong positive social standards for behavior. In this paper, we will study the role of parents, teachers, peers, and work colleagues in the development of individuals and we will review some of the development theories that discusses about human growth. (What are the Essential Characteristics of Social Contexts that Promote Positive Youth Development?)

Role of Parenting in Social Development:

Majority of the parents think that it is their duty to raise their children through guidance and correction so that their children turn out to be grown-up adults. Parent-child relation is more serious than husband-wife relation. Even though this parent-child relation is for good purposes, in most cases, it leads to struggle and revolt. The fact is that kids of different outlook will develop in completely different directions, regardless of what the parents do to dampen one direction in support of another. The origin of the problem is that parents are inclined to suppose that their children are very much the same as they are, that is, extensions of their own personality who will necessarily follow in their paths. But the temperament hypothesis proposes that, in several cases, children are basically different from their parents and are required to build in totally different directions, so that their mature personalities can take their correct form. In fact, parents of other temperament who think that they share the experience of life of their child and that they know and understand what their child requires, thinks or feels, are typically quite incorrect. The worse part is that parents act on this assumption; they disconfirm the varying messages their children are sending and interfere on the private space of their children with their own thinking. How we can take up the job of parenting? The first job of parents is to acknowledge the different characters of their children. But parents must also acknowledge the role their own character plays in guiding their children. (Parenting and Temperament)

One method of parenting will not work in all situations. but, in majority of the cases, commanding parenting works better than most other parenting styles in bringing about the development of social competence in children at home as well as in the peer group. Elevated levels of nurturance merged with medium levels of control assist adults to become responsible child rearing people for their children and make provisions for children to become mature and capable members of society. With a slight luck, the children of commanding parents should enjoy more than their share of success in their circle of friends. (the Role of Parents in the Development of Peer Group Competence)

Role of Peers:

If parents do not dominate the mind of child, this will help in four different ways: the children will learn from peers, the children will not become clones of their parents, children will reduce their dependence on their parents, and children will develop interests different from their parents. In the group of kids, kids can act very differently around peers than at home; children are attracted to each other; babies have alien nervousness for adults, but not for other babies; kids won't even like a food if they learn their friends do not like it; kids' attitudes toward school is greatly influenced by peers. To kids in school, most significant people are the other kids; groups have dominant effect on behavior due to belonging or non-belonging group effects; when kids split into groups on the basis of academic achievement, between-group differences cause them to amplify their performance tendencies; when kids go to school with many from their ethnic or immigrant group, they may not act like majority. (Peers and Social development: Judith Harris's Theory)

Role of Family:

Constructive relationships within the family have a tendency to convert to better quality friendships for the child later in their life. Children study relationship abilities from their parents, and before testing those skills on friends outside the sphere of the family test them with their brothers and sisters to understanding their efficiency. By replicating good relationship abilities within the family such as reverence, optimism, tenderness, compassion, sincerity, parents may assist their children form strong, high-level friendships that will help them through the rages of teenage years. (Peer influences and peer relationships)

Role of Teachers:

good teacher should understand that children attend school to make a living. School is their work, their living and their identity. Thus, the crucial role that school has in the social progress and self-concept of children must be acknowledged. A child's attitude about school is based on the levels of social success that the child attains even if he is successful academically. A teacher can do a lot in advancing social development in students. Children can be grouped into four categories in the school environment: REJECTED denotes students who are constantly subjected to mockery, discrimination and harassment by classmates; ISOLATED stands for students who, even though not explicitly rejected, are overlooked by classmates and are detached from the social issues of school; CONTROVERSIAL indicates students who have created a group of friends based upon mutual interests or nearness but rarely move beyond that group; POPULAR denote students who have effectively launched positive relations within a range of groups. (the Teacher's role in developing social skills)

Many students with learning disabilities belong to the rejected or isolated categories. Their status as being low status individuals affects them through their entire school life. It is essential for the teacher to aid the student's classmates in altering their opinion about this child. Punishment is an unsuccessful method of altering bullying or rejecting behavior. but, one can improve a child's acceptance levels in many ways: The teacher should identify talents of the kids and encourage them to reveal their talents. The teacher by performing the role of an expert will enable the isolated child to improve his status. The teacher, after proper guidance, can offer leadership position to the child facing isolation so that other students start to depend on him and this will elevate the status of the child among his peers. The teacher must visibly show acceptance of and affection for the isolated or rejected child. This expresses the steady message that the child is worthy of attention. The teacher should her leadership role to improve the status of the child. (the Teacher's role in developing social skills)

The teacher can aid the child by making him conscious of the characteristics that are accepted and praised by his group. These characteristics are: smiles or laughs; greets others; provides invitations; shares and provides compliments. It is necessary that the teacher understands the significant role that the child's parents and siblings can have in evolving of the quality of social competence. The teacher can ask the child's parents to visit school for a conference for a discussion on the child's requirements and social standing. School and home must work in combination to ensure that skills which are selected as targets are stressed and supervised. Social aims and objectives should be listed and be given due significance. It is important to concentrate on a small group of skills like sharing and taking turns, in place of trying to deal concurrently with the complete characteristics of social skills. The child who is having low social status would have to face isolation and rejection among his peers, while traveling on the school bus and while indulging in-group social acts.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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