Influence-techniques used in nursery school to modify the behavior of children Public Deposited

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  • The major purpose of this study was to determine if there was relationship between the power of the influence techniques used by teacher in a nursery school setting and the response of the children to these techniques. The subjects were sixteen nursery school children and two trained nursery school teachers at the Fruit and Flower Day Nursery in Portland, Oregon. The children were divided into two groups of younger and older four-year-olds, ten children in the younger group and six children in the older group. The mean age of the younger group on the last day of observation was 51 months. The mean age of the older group was 58 months. Systematic observation was used as the method of measurement. This involved a preconceived category system, developed as a check list, to measure all interactions between the teacher and the child where the teacher tried to modify the child's ongoing behavior by the use of an influence technique. The category system consisted of three power categories for the teacher: high, moderate, and low; and three response categories for the child: immediate compliance, qualified compliance, and non-compliance. Observations were taken for seven days from 8:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. and from 3:00 P.M to 5:00 P.M. Each teacher was observed alternately for an hour giving a total of 22 hours and 45 minutes of observation per teacher. The reliability of individual categories of behavior, and of the observer in general, were demonstrated by a measure of percent agreement between two independent judges before observation for purposes of data collection were undertaken. The data were analyzed by the chi-square analysis to determine if there was a relationship between the response of the children and the power of the influence technique used by the teacher. A descriptive, interpretive analysis of the direction of this relationship was also made. The results of the chi-square analysis indicated clearly that there was a relationship between the power of the influence technique used by the teacher and the response of the child to this technique. When high power techniques were used there was a strong tendency for the child to comply immediately. However, when the response was not immediate compliance, it tended to be non-compliance nearly as often as it was qualified compliance. When moderate power techniques were used there also was a tendency to comply immediately. When immediate compliance was absent there was a slightly greater tendency to comply in a qualified manner than not comply at all. With low power techniques, non-compliance was the most frequent response. Although this study does not attempt to determine the psychological results of influence-techniques, studies have shown that high power influence-techniques tend to produce such results as accumulation of hostile tensions, needs to be power assertive and heightened autonomy needs. In contrast, moderate and low power techniques not only eliminate these consequences, but also help the child develop his own internal controls and help him understand the consequences of his actions. From this point of view the moderate power techniques are probably to be preferred.
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