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Psychology of Learning
and Development
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Answer the following questions

Q. 1. Explain the characteristics of humanistic approach to learning and discuss the importance of self
in the humanistic approach.
Ans. Humanistic approach to learning is concerned with humans and their welfare. Humanists believe that
learning is unique for every individual. This approach focuses on new individuals can attain their potential and their
greatest satisfaction.
Humanistic approach advocates that human beings posses the ability to take their own decisions and solve
problems using reasoning, courage, vision etc. Thus, learning should not be imposed on anybody. It is inevitable.
Concept of Humanistic Approach to Learning
The term humanistic has its origin in Latin word homo meaning human. Thus human beings and their welfare
form the center or forms of humanistic approach to learning.
Characteristics of Humanistic Approach to Learning
This approach has human welfare as its focus.
It emphasizes of self-motivation for learning so as to make the learner independent.
It focuses on leaving with external pressures and with inner peace, love and freedom.
It believes that learning is need based, but the needs should be of higher level like self-actualization rather
than money, wealth.
Contribution of Psychologists
Towards Humanistic Psychology
There are various psychologists who have contributed immensely to humanistic psychology. Some of their
theories are discussed below:
Maslows Theory: He believed that human existence depends on the fulfilment of certain desires and wants
which he termed as needs. He has given a hierarchy of human needs as given below staring from lower level needs
to higher level needs.
Physiological needs such as food, sleep, sex etc.
Safety needs
Need for belongingness such as love
Need for prestige such as rewards, recognition
Need for self-actualization
Thus learning involves satiation of these needs according to experience and exposure of individual he advocated
three methods of learning:



Subjective or on the basis of self-experiences.

Objective or on the basis of external experiences.
Interpersonal or by observing others.
Carl Rogers Theory: Self and human experiences are the centre of his theory. According to him learning
takes place in an individual as a result of his interaction with the external environment based on his internal experiences.
Thus the interactions take place between the human being, his values, past experiences, aims etc.
Different individuals have different interactions. However when these interactions are positive they help the
individual in becoming a better learner and a well adjusted person.
Educational Implications
The main implications of humanistic approaches are:
Place of child in teaching-learning: It is a child-centred approach and focuses on the fact that in order to
teach the child, it is very important to understand his abilities, aptitudes, interests, and then teach the child by
using a suitable teaching method.
Emphasis on individuality: This approach highlights that all human beings are unique and have individual
differences in terms of charac-teristics, experiences, abilities etc.
Method of teaching: This approach advocates an active and interactive method of teaching- learning where
learners mental readiness and motivation should be taken into consideration.
Discipline: This approach emphasizes self-discipline than external control.
Role of teacher: Teacher plays a very important role as a guide, facilitator and a friend in the process of
overall development of the child.
Humanistic approach places a responsibility on the teacher to do the following:
Teachers should focus on motivational learning.
Teachers should keep in mind that each child is unique and can feel and think and has his own set of values
and experiences.
Teachers should use discussion and other interactive methods of learning.
Teachers should give the students freedom to make own decisions and choices and attach their own meaning
to learning.
Teachers should give the students freedom to make own decisions and choices and attach their own meaning
to learning.
Teachers should be empathetic and understand things from students point of view.
Limitations of Humanistic Approach
This approach is criticized as being too much common sense and too little science. It focuses too much on
individual differences and catering to needs of each individual which at times is not possible in a big group. It lays
a lot of emphasis on active learning. However, one cannot write of the benefits of lecture method of teaching though
it involves passive learning.
Self and human experiences are the centre of Carl Rogers theory who is a famous humanist psychologist. His
proposition was that learning takes place in an individual in order to actualise, maintain and enhance his/her self.
Thus the interactions that take place between the human being, his values, past experiences, aims, and the
external environment, all aim at making the self better.
Different individuals have different interactions. However when these interactions are positive they help the
individual in becoming a better learner and a well adjusted person.
Q. 2. Discuss the influence of environment on individual differences.
Ans. Now we will discuss how environmental factors result in individual differences. We know that the
environment of a child affects his upbringing and personality. However we need to understand that environment
does not simply mean objects around a child. Psychologically, it means those objects which act as stimuli and
directly affect a childs physical and mental growth and experiences while growing up. Thus two children born in the
same family may have very different environment depending on treatment and expectations of parent. Studies have
shown that even pre-natal environment which includes diet the mother has taken her mental status etc. influence the
development of child in mothers womb.



Environment and Individual Differences

Several studies and experiments have been done to find out how environment causes individual differences.
Among these, the studies done on identical twins are most significant. This is because in case of identical twins
genetic factors are ruled out because both the twins get same set of genes from the parents.
Research by Newman, Freeman and Holzinger (1937) on identical twins brought up in different foster homes
with dissimilar environment concluded that such differences only cause differences in IQ or intelligence level of
However, on taking into account the errors in intelligence testing, Woodworth (1941) concluded that the differences
in IQ of identical twins brought up in different foster homes were not much significant.
Thus, it was concluded from the researches above that only large differences in environment can result in major
differences in IQ. For example, differences in the educational system can cause differences in IQ. Such researches
could not find much about the personality differences due to non-availability of personality tests at that time.
Children in Foster Homes and Institutions
Studies have also been done to find how adoption of children living in foster homes has influenced their intelligence
level. It was found that adoption of such children by good homes has a positive impact on their personality. Burks
(1928) conducted a study of two groups of children of same age and sex and living in similar localities with a
difference that one group was of adopted children and another of foster homes. She concluded that there was moderate
increase in intelli-gence level of adopted children. However, superior heredity and superior environment definitely
leads to a marked increase in intelligence level.
Some More Research Findings
Some more research studies concluded at University of Iowa has challenged the result of the studies of Burks
(1935) and other psychologists. The new studies conclude than environment has a large influence on the IQ of
children. Superior environment leads to better IQ. Environment consists of a multiplicity of factor. One of the factors
nutrition plays a very important role in shaping a childs IQ and personality. Malnutrition and a diet lacking in
proteins and vitamins can adversely affect the physical and mental development of child. That is why our government
has started mid-day meal programmes in government schools so that children from poor families can get one time
proper meal during the day. This has also attracted many poor children to schools and improved attendance at
Psychologists like Bloom and David Krech have emphasized that to ensure proper intellectual develop-ment of
child; he should be given a lot stimulus from the environment. The more are the stimulus given to child, the more his
brain develops.
Murlidharan and Srivastava concluded that the serene and calm environment of Hindu temples had a positive
impact of cognitive development of children living near such temples.
Desh and kaal or time and place are two important factors which influence the personality and overall development
of an individual.
The place where an individual lives influences his behaviours. For example, a child behaves very differently at
school, home and in play group. Similarly kaal or time also has an impact on the intellectual development of an
individual. The rate of mental and intellectual development is the highest during childhood.
Q. 3. Identify the following categories of special needs students in your school and illustrate the strategies
you adopt to meet their social, psychological and educational needs.
(a) student with learning disability
Ans. Teaching Students with Low Mental Ability: Such students should be taught any task or text very slowly
and that too by repetitions. They should be given immediate rewards to encourage them. The curriculum needs to be
taught in interesting manner so that they can gain the maximum in short span of attention.
Students with Learning Disability
A teacher at times may come across students with specific learning problems such as reading, writing, spelling
or arithmetic. This is because of difficulties in one or more psychological processes involved in learning. Some of
these problems are aphasia (difficulty in grasping spoken language), diflesia (difficulty in reading), hyperlexia
(little or no comprehension) dyscalculia (difficulty in doing arithmetic) and dysgraphis (difficulty in writing).



Some symptoms of such learning disability are writing pat instead of tap or 12 instead of 21 not being able
to join alphabet sounds to read words, poor performance in examination. They are normal as above average in
intelligence. Some are hyperactive, inatten-tive and behave impulsive. They follow instructions poorly and do not
often complete the assigned tasks.
Education of Students with Disability: The teacher should provide additional help and attention to the specific
disabilities of such children instead of criticizing or scolding them.
(b) Economically and socially weaker girl student
Ans. Since ages we find gender biased and discrimination against women prevalent in our society. It is so deep
rooted that it has hampered the development of women. Some examples of discriminations against women are:
Women are considered to be incapable of taking their own decisions.
They are considered to be physically and mentally less capable in competing with men in areas like leadership,
boldness etc.
Social evils like dowry, prostitution, child marriage have also contributed in degrading the status of women
in society.
Widows, spinster, issueless women are looked down upon in our society though this is not the case with
men having similar characteristics.
Roles of men and women have been rigidly defined by the society. Men are the bread winners and are
considered to be the boss, whereas women are expected to look after the family and be submissive. These
traits are nurtured in children since childhood.
Unfortunately our textual material also aggravates the discriminations by highlighting more on the heroic deeds
of men than women and at times using expressions like dont cry like girls which degenerate the status of women.
Teachers behaviour at times also reinforces the discriminations. Remarks passed by teachers like do not behave
like girls in a boys class contribute to the discrimination.
A teacher can do the following to create a positive image of girls:
Explain the importance of girls education especially to parents from low socio-economic families.
Encourage girls in the class to be self-reliant.
Explain to girls and their parents that boys and girls are equal. Show this by own behaviour.
Encourage healthy competition among boys and girls.
Discourage malpractices like dowry, child marriage.
Make the girls realize their true potential and capabilities.
(c) SC/ST student
Ans. Now we will focus on the children belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Their groups and
their special educational needs are required to be studied separately because the reasons for their educational
backwardnesds are different. We need to understand the reason for inequality in educational development of these
groups and the role of teachers and education in discouraging the discriminations against these groups.
Students from Scheduled Castes
The term scheduled castes refers to those castes in India which are considered untouchables since ages because
they are involved in occupations like cleaning, sweeping, shoe making etc. This term scheduled castes is an expression
taken from our Indian Constitution which gives a list of castes which are socially and economically backward and
deprived and thus need special measures for their upliftment.
The reason for the pathetic condition of these castes has been the discrimination against them since ages due to
their dirty occupation. On olden times these castes were not permitted to use public amenities like tanks, rivers etc.
and were prohibited from going to temples and receive education. This further deteriorated their condition and
nibbed all chances of their mobility to other more respected jobs.
Various documents of education like National Policy of Education, 1986 and Programme of Action
(POA- 92) spell out the provisions and schemes that have been laid down by government for these backward castes,
These documents recommend that incentives like free books, scholarships, free coaching should be provided to the
children of these backward classes and spread awareness among teachers regarding the needs of these children.



Many of the recommended schemes have already been implemented by the government. Reservations have been
done for these students in various educational institutions across the country.
It has been observed that despite measures taken by government, the condition of these classes and the spread of
education among them remains poor. The school dropout rate among the SC and ST students continues to be high.
This is because these students do not get support and encouragement from their teachers and parents to motivate
them to study and perform well in studies.
Students from Scheduled Tribes
Scheduled tribes in India refers to those tribes that live in far flung areas like interiors of jungles or areas that are
not accessible because of no roads leading to them. As a result of this providing food, clothing and education to them
has been difficult.
The following are some of the reasons for low educational level among children of scheduled tribes and measures
that can be taken to rectify them:

The textbooks should be written in local language of the tribals and certain examples from their environment
and related to their life. Unfortunately this is not the case in most schools near to tribal areas.

In tribal areas there are a lot of hurdles in the path of education such are less number of school, absence of
teacher, low enrolment ratio of students etc.

Formal education system is new for tribals. Besides, they do not feel comfortable in the company of nontribal people. All these acts are demotivating for them to send their children to formal schools.

Teachers role is very important in tribal education. Preferably, teacher should be appointed from amongst
themselves so that they can convince the parents to send their children to school more effectively and teach
in the local dialect.

Teachers should be empathetic towards the students instead of scolding the students for not attending school;
teacher should understand that these children are expected to help their parents in household work and
agriculture. Thus teacher should provide maximum support to the students at school.

The school curriculum and mode of teaching should be close to the real life of tribal children. Classes in
open area and curriculum that is useful in their daily life can attract more and more tribal children to schools.