Educational Psychology: What role does the teacher play in attitude change of the learner?

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

ATTITUDES

8b ii). Evaluate the role of the teacher in transforming the attitude of the learner in a learning environment.

 Teacher and Attitude Change

What is the teacher’s role in attitude change?

The teacher is the person on the ground. He is in direct contact with the students and therefore his role in attitude change can never be overestimated. For him to be effective in changing pupils’ attitudes;

He should be conversant with the following:

        • Remember that attitudes are very resistant to change because they are tied up with personal feelings, needs, and self-concept.
        • Note that schools are usually unable to change attitudes because their programs do not appeal to the total person.

With this in mind, to be effective in attitude change, the teacher should first know the attitudes held by learners, then use the following methods to change them.

1. Use the peer group

The peer group can be used in discussions or debates on certain topical issues. For example sexuality,

    • Abortion,
    • School life
    • Friendship and so on.
    • As the peers exchange their views and give points for or against the topic being debated or discussed they influence each other’s attitudes.
    • The catch here is that the youths will readily accept values of their own peers. Attitudes changed this way are more effectively inculcated.

2. First-hand experience

Students need to be exposed to first-hand experiences in the attitude issues concerned. I f they had previously thought that the subject is boring or difficult, they should be exposed to interesting teaching and to proper guidance that leads to success. If they are taught in an interesting manner and they experience how a good teacher works, they will change their attitudes.

3. Appeal to feelings

The teacher should always ensure that the students register information not only with their senses but also with their feelings. If they are expected to cultivate positive feelings towards the attitudinal issue or even negative feelings this issue should be well addressed.

    • The teacher could refer the pupils to sources of information that will arouse feelings. Video shows that arouse feelings could be shown. Stories with first hand experience could be exchanged. Whatever feelings the teacher thinks will be beneficial should be evoked. Feelings lead to experience of catharsis, which is very important in attitude change

4. Discovery Method

The teacher could also allow the students to discover for themselves basic information concerning the attitudinal object. For example: There could be a student who is HIV positive or one who has lost parents through AIDS and the rest of the class don’t know how to behave towards him/her. Nobody wants to share a desk or books with her. For the teacher to instill positive attitude towards the particular student he could give students projects to visit doctors for information, to read about the topic, to contact families with AIDS patients and then present their findings in class. After they have discovered all the basic information, that they can, they will be friendlier, more helpful and more accepting towards their fellow student.

5. Persuasive periods

The teacher should look for persuasive periods in the child’s life and then foster the necessary attitudes. There are times when students will be most receptive to new attitudes, for example during a transition or crisis. This is the time when the student is facing some challenge or some kind of failure. This could be.

  • When a good student’s whose performance has been dropping steadily due to influence from bad company.
  • It could be a well-behaved student whose behavior has suddenly changed and is facing punishment almost daily or
  • It could be a lazy student who has lost a parent and now he needs to see the importance of being serious and focused in his life.

Whatever the case a student who is in a crisis situation will be more receptive to suggestibility and attitude change.

6. Consistent attitudes

In attitude change, the teacher should foster attitudes that are consistent with attitudes held by the home, the community, and the mass media. In other words, the teachers’ attitudes should not deviate from generally held attitudes. Of course, some care and discretion may be required here because there are widely held attitudes which need some revision if not a complete overhaul.

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