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Indicators of the child’s mental development and methods for their study

The indicators of the child's mental development include:

- development of the cognitive sphere of the child (perception, attention, memory, imagination, thinking);

- the formation of a system of personal relationships (emotions, needs, motives, attitudes, value orientations, orientation, etc.);

- mastery of a system of diverse practical and mental actions, providing the possibility of productive, creative activity.

And what should be the subject of psychological study?

This is a psychological fact. However, psychological facts are diverse in content, form, volume and complexity. This may be a mistake made by the student, and his misconduct, and a new own word, say, “diving” - an excellent, energetic, sonorous, according to K. Chukovsky, word. By the way, there is the word “walking” from “walking” or “shooting” from “shoot”.

In order to determine what facts need to be collected, it is important to formulate the goals and objectives of such work. When collecting facts, one should take into account their ambiguity. Say, some children experiencing increased excitement can scream, laugh, gesticulate intensively; in others, a similar state can cause depression, isolation, tears, etc.

And yet, what are these facts?

Firstly, it is the physical and mental actions of the child. It is important to understand what they are caused by, what they are aimed at, and how they are prepared. For example, a toy that a child is trying to get hold of is in a field of inaccessibility, and, nevertheless, he stubbornly seeks to get it. Watching him, you can think about the stubbornness, perseverance of the child. But if the child is already 3-4 years old, then we can conclude that the baby is not very smart. Instead of jumping fruitlessly near a toy, he could substitute a chair or a stool and calmly get it out.

To assess the overall level of mental development of a child, N-A.Rusin and V.A. Uryvaev recommend first to make a general impression about him based on his somatotype (asthenic, picnic, athletic), puberty (masculinity - femininity), posture (linked, tense, relaxed, depressed), faces (narrow - wide, thick - thin, delicate - rough, beautiful - wrong), facial expressions and pantomime (lively, lowered, exaggerated, stereotypical). In addition, you should pay attention to the condition of the skin, cleanliness of the body, the social appearance (neat appearance, hairstyle, jewelry, etc.). ''

Secondly, this is a child’s speech, because goals are expressed in words, motives are often revealed, children express their understanding or misunderstanding of something. Not to mention that speech itself can be used as a diagnostic indicator of a child’s development. The following speech parameters are evaluated: voice (monotonous - colorful), pace (fast-slowed down, talkativeness (talkative, low-talkative, closed, non-talkative), diction used by a child (rich-poor, conversational - refined, pretentiousness of sentence constructions, speech vulgarisms, literacy, etc.). When analyzing a child’s speech, attention should be paid to how he reproduces the thought: easily, difficult, connected, slow.

Thirdly, a child’s social behavior may become a psychological fact. When evaluating it, you should pay attention to:

1) the nature of establishing contact with the child: hastily, familiarly, boldly, eagerly or with restraint, carefully;

2) the nature and course of adaptation of the child during the examination (fast or slow);

3) the level of social activity (adequate-inadequate situation);

4) the manifestation of the qualities of social behavior: self-confident, decisive, stubborn, boastful, draws attention to himself, emphasizes his superiority, insubordinate, arrogant, mocking, unstable, secretively indecisive, shy, insecure, provoking sympathy, annoying, persistent, submissive, seeking to please, providing assistance, receiving joy from contact, direct, mocking, humorous, affectionate, trusting. Based on the assessment of the listed qualities, one can understand the motives and tactics of the child's behavior.

And now we turn to the characterization of the methods of studying these psychological facts. The most real and effective method is the observation method. How is he good?

First, facts about the actual behavior of the child are collected. The child behaves freely, and therefore you can receive true facts.

Secondly, each child appears before the observer as an integral personality. Everything that we see and hear is not perceived in isolation, but in connection with other actions, words or actions of the child.

Thirdly, if the observer (teacher, psychologist or doctor) has the opportunity to observe the child with his parents, he gets an idea of ​​the nature of the relationship between them.

How to make observation as effective as possible?

The first and, perhaps, the main condition is the ability to observe in yourself. Observation, generally speaking, should be included in the register of professionally necessary qualities of a teacher, educator or doctor. To be observant means actively watching and listening, really paying attention to what the child is doing and saying that he is trying to do or say what he has already learned and that is still above his abilities or understanding.

The second condition for the effectiveness of observation is to correlate or reinforce your observations with your knowledge of the development of the child. The absence of the latter makes it impossible to compare the visible with the standards known to you, and without this it is difficult to draw sound conclusions.

The third condition is the organization of observation. It is clear that, for example, medical activity itself minimizes the possibility of detailed and extensive monitoring of the child’s behavior.
Therefore, the ability to prompt, comprehensive and deep observation comes with years of training. To increase the effectiveness of observation, its elementary organization is desirable, which is possible using various means. One of them (the simplest) is compiling child development cards. With their help, you can establish what the child already knows how to do, and, therefore, determine his level of achievement. The following headings are used in different development cards:

- physical development;

- communication and development of speech (for example, expressiveness of speech, its understanding, etc.);

- social development and play (under this heading are marked with adults and children; how the child plays, his interests, etc.).

- independence and independence, i.e. the ability to do without the help of adults during meals, dressing and undressing, using the toilet, etc.

- the behavior of the child.

The card structure is a list of individual items for each aspect of a child’s development. The following is an example of a physical development card (according to J. Lashley).

What advice should be given to the observer?

1. Justify your opinion (you must be responsible for your words).

2. Stick to your observations - do not try to generalize.

3. Refrain from value judgments. For example, you can say: “Petya is naughty because his mother doesn’t stay with him when he brings him to kindergarten” (the statement contains a hidden rebuke from the mother). And you can do it like this: “It seems that Petya calms down faster in those days when his mother manages to stay with him for several minutes.”

You can recommend that parents keep such observation cards.

Table 4

Fragment of a physical development card



Table 5

A fragment of a developmental card that captures a child’s behavior

.

Significant information can be extracted from a conversation with a child, which can be recommended when working with children aged 6 to 15 years. According to N.S. Rusina and V.A. Uryvaev, topics for discussion may be:

family: its members and relations between them, tolerance, preferences, intimacy, dominance, dependence, aggression, intensity - extensiveness and activity - passivity of relations, jealousy, envy, conflict, etc .;

parents: educational methods and parental positions, attitudes, interests, prospects of the child;

participation in homework: its content, systematicity and independence;

free time: quantity and quality of conduct, under the supervision of parents, spontaneous or in a group; friend of the opposite sex. Interests, hobbies .;

self-esteem: general self-esteem, appearance, abilities; hopes, ideals; self-satisfaction, expectations;

School: year of study, course of study, change of school, attachment to school. Study: academic performance, behavior, preferred subjects, attitude towards exams (stress level). Level of claims. Classmates:

class status, friends and enemies, relationships. Teachers: the student’s perception of the teacher’s attitude towards himself and other students, the degree of popularity, the presence of conflicts.

Fears and fears: the presence and objects of fears, nightly fears.

Health status: chronic diseases, self-assessment of health status.

Based on the results of observation and conversation with the child, it is possible to draw informed conclusions about his psychological characteristics. In this case, an assessment of the temperament of the child and his character should be given. Assessing the character, pay attention to the following relationships of the child: to other people, peers, adults, business, yourself.

Another group of methods for studying a child is an experiment.

For the doctor and teacher, the most acceptable form of the experiment may be research using tests. A test is a standardized task for determining the development of various mental processes in a child. The positive aspects of testing usually include:

- the ability to determine the development rate;

- the possibility of repeated, i.e. comparative tests;

- the possibility of simultaneous collection of large material;

- lack of lengthy special training.

At the same time, tests suffer from known limitations. Child and age psychology is rich in a variety of test procedures. Among them are many reliable, well-established ones. However, only express methods can most often be practically applicable. They are easy to use, do not require long-term data processing, complex and detailed analysis of the information received.

So, in this chapter we decided on the main - conceptual approach to the process of mental development of the child. Subsequently, analyzing the process of the child’s mental development within a given age, we will operate with the basic concepts of child development psychology each time — the social situation of development and changes in it, the nature of the child’s leading activities, the products of this activity — psychological neoplasms taking into account the characteristics of the development crisis . All this will be considered in the light of the formulated principles and patterns of mental development. I think that only in this way will it be possible to understand all the multitude of empirical data with which child and adolescent psychology is so rich. There is a good saying: "He who has no ideas does not see the facts." Armed with the concept (idea) of the child’s mental development, we will try to see and analyze many specific psychological facts of the life path of the child and adolescent.
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Indicators of the child’s mental development and methods for their study

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