Educational Psychology: How does the personality traits characterize persuasibility of a young learner?



8b iii). Justify how the personality traits are able to characterize persuasibility of a young learner.

Personality traits that characterize persuasibility

The teacher as a person who is central in attitude change needs to know the personality traits that characterize persuasibility. These are traits that make a person open or closed to suggestions that change attitudes. These are the following:

1. Congruence

Congruence refers to the agreeability. In this respect individuals will readily listen to messages with which they agree. They turn away when confronted with a message with which they do not agree with. By way of example lets consider this boy who comes to school with his trouser hanging dangerously around his hips, his shirt lacking all the buttons and shoes that have not seen polish for months. His hair has not encountered the torture of a comb in weeks. This is an ungainly sight capable of revolting even the most compassionate of teachers. If we want to change his attitude there are nice things that this boy wants to hear. He wants to hear that he is a good boy that he is handsome, that you like him, but is there something that he can do about his dressing? On the next day he will appear looking better. This should not be ignored, he should be applauded for improved grooming and within no time he will have rejoined the flock.

2. The age factor

Age is a factor that influences suggestibility. Children are more influenceable when they are young. This suggestibility increases from early childhood through age nine. This means that all the positive attitudes should be instilled at this time. From age nine through adolescence the influence is from the peer group. So it is very important that the peer group has imbibed the appropriate attitudes.

3. Intelligence and educational level are factors influencing suggestibility

Intelligent and more educated people are more persuadable because they can process more information.

    • They need to be presented with both sides of an argument because they have no problem dealing with the pros and cons of an argument.
    • The less intelligent people can be persuaded by naïve arguments. The politicians, theologians and even people who move masses for personal gain use his particular insight.
    • In school a few people use this style. They use a few arguments on people who don’t think for themselves and in a short while the school is burned down.

4. Sex is a factor

Women are more readily influenced than men. This is because they are better listeners and they absorb more messages.

5. Self esteem

People with high or low self-esteem are more influential than people with average self- esteem

6. Dogmatism

Dogmatism deals with the area of belief systems where people are supposed to take in religious teachings and training without questioning. They are also expected to escape any possibility at questioning and even become militant when people question their beliefs.

In dogmatism there are people who are high while others are low.

    • High dogmatic people are intolerant,
    • Stereotypic in their thinking and
    • Highly defensive.
    • They tend to avoid views that are inconsistent with those they hold and they avoid information as well. Due to these reasons they are unable to mix widely with other people.
    • That is why they tend to spend a lot of time together so that they foster narrowly held attitudes.
    • Generally, they tend to be psychologically immature and poorly adjusted.
    • Teachers will encounter students who come from different dogmatic orientations
    • Students who dress in a certain prescribed way,
    • Who eat only certain foods or
    • Drink certain beverages.
    • The issue of the Sabbath in seventh-day Adventist areas has been contentious for long and will not be resolved.
    • The issue of how women should dress and how they should not, has been controversial with conservative thinkers wanting to prescribe a particular dress code and subjecting women to humiliating, horrors in public undressing by the of women in trousers and mini skirts.

Imagine if the Scott and not the English Colonised Kenya, then every man would be wearing a Scottish Kilt and those in trousers would be publicly undressed.

The low dogmatic people are enterprising,

      • Calm,
      • Mature,
      • Forceful and
      • Efficient.

They listen to information even when it is inconsistent with their belief.

        • Teachers should actually be sensitive to students’ orientation so that they don’t confront and attack them. Confrontation makes students more resistant because in the process of acquiring the various dogma they also get the psychological inoculation, which makes them very resistant to attack.

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