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Sociology. 1. Very young children are programmed to be selfish, because this ensures that they obtain the necessary support for survival, but over the course of the middle years of childhood from 7-11 children grow less selfish and begin to appreciate the need to take account of the wishes of other people…
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Sociology Very young children are programmed to be selfish, because this ensures that they obtain the necessary support for survival, but over the course of the middle years of childhood from 7-11 children grow less selfish and begin to appreciate the need to take account of the wishes of other people. The family is the biggest single influence on the child during this period. The educationalist Vygotsky pointed out that in formal schooling, “all new knowledge and newly introduced skills are greatly influenced by each student’s culture, especially their family environment” ( Children learn in this phase by imitating what they see around them, and constructing a view of the world that is based on this family culture. Many of the characteristics and habits of their parents make deep impressions on them, and they internalize the values of their home, and build their own world view upon these early foundations. In school they learn more and more about the world, but the framework they pin it all on to is the example set at home. This is why they are at the same time keen to learn and yet very like little clones of their parents. 2. Shakespeare’s maxim “all the world’s a stage” refers to the way that people take on roles in life. Each person has to present an image of himself or herself to the outside world. This is reminiscent of the theories of Erving Goffman, who wrote influential books in the 1950a and 1960s using the metaphor of the actor on a stage to explain the way that human beings have both an inner concept of self, which is personal to each individual, and a view of the self as seen by other people in society. This was an important insight in the field of sociology because it explains some of the tensions that exist within human beings, and the way that they behave differently in private and in public. The presence of an audience exerts all kinds of influence on a person, most notably the desire to fit in with the mainstream, or occasionally to stand out from it. Concepts such as stigma and impression management arise out of this line of thinking and these, too, are important ways of understanding human social behavior (Freidman 361-362). 3. Human beings are social animals, and just like other social animals, they have a complex system of communication which uses sounds, gestures and body positions to convey information between individuals. Human spoken and written language present ideas that have been consciously formed in the brain, while body language can be either a conscious act, as for example when people shake hands as a greeting, or turn their back to someone as a sign of disapproval or disgust, or an involuntary and often unconscious phenomenon as for example when someone blushes in embarrassment or when nervous fidgeting and evasive eye contact reveal that a person is not being truthful in what they are saying. Neurolinguistic programming is a branch of science which attempts to use knowledge about body language to help people make sense of their own lives, and become more competent at reading the non-verbal messages that other people are sending out. It is a relatively new discipline, and it has proved useful in therapy, for example in treating people who lack confidence or suffer from depression or difficulty in forming relationships. Many people maintain that it is a better way to treat such problems than drug treatments: “NLP increases the depth and effectiveness of our relationships, beginning with our self and extending through our intimate relationships to our professional and work lives, and, finally, to the therapeutic arena or working with others to bring about healing, change and growth” (Holistic-online). For some people this avenue offers a new way of looking at life, increasing awareness of the emotional tenor of human behaviors, which then helps smooth out misunderstandings. For other people, the focus on emotions, especially in areas such as work, may encroach on personal boundaries and this may account for the suspicion that exists in some quarters about the use of NLP in official contexts. 4. Group dynamics describes what happens when people come together for a purpose. Any teacher knows that teaching the same material to two different classes can produce very different results, and group dynamics is part of the reason for this difference. In education group dynamics are studied to help teachers find ways to motivate learners by using the interaction between learners who are all focusing on the same educational goals. It is easier to learn a language when there is a chance for group practice, for example. In the workplace group dynamics are seen as a useful phenomenon which can be harnessed to help companies achieve their aims. Groups give workers a sense of belonging, and a chance to form productive relationships, including a certain amount of interdependence (Smith 1). Group dynamics can create great loyalty and focus, pulling people together to learn from each other and form a new, collective take on the world. These same forces of group dynamics can also produce negative results, as for example when a group of football fans turns into a rampaging crowd of hooligans. Works Cited. Freidson, E. “Celebrating Erving Goffman.” Contemporary Sociology Vol 12, No. 4, (Jul, 1983), pp. 359-362. Accessed on 30th June 2012. Web. Holistic-online. “NeuroLinguistic Programming.” < > Accessed on 30th June 2012. Web. “Cognition and Development.” <> Accessed on 30th June 2012. Web. Smith, Mark K. “What is a group?” The encyclopaedia of informal education. Accessed on 30th June 2012. Web. Read More
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