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Assessment of Roma Children from Socially Disadvantageous Environment

Abstract

Introduction: Psychological assessment of Roma children belongs to the most controversial topics in recent theory and practice of school psychology in Slovakia. The paper discusses the problem from the three main aspects.

Discussion: The first of them raises into question the usability of “general intelligence” construct in the assessment practice. It is shown that from the psychometric point of view it is improper to represent couple of qualitatively different attributes by sole number. Moreover, intelligence as a construct refers to general mental achievement of child here and now but it says nothing about the causes and reasons of the achievement.

The second part is devoted to the problem of test adaptation. The author draws attention to the fact that Roma people are the minority with own characteristics, including language, style of life, customs and values. Due to this, it is necessary to use in the psychological assessment solely well adapted psychological tests with special norms for Roma children.

The third topic discusses the position of psychologists in decision-making with regard to the type of education of a particular child.

Limitations: Because education is realized in a broad social context (policy, social attitudes and expectations, material and financial conditions, teaching expertise, etc.), many of these factors are out of psychologists´ direct control and competencies. Due to this, the primary task in the psychological assessment of Roma pupils should not be based on the question about the advisability of their special education. Instead of this, the psychologist should be concerned more on the proper description and explanation of children’s psychological functioning and, following this, on formulating individual and particular recommendations how and what cognitive, emotional or motivational elements it is necessary to develop at school.

Open access
Exegi Monumentum
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Extracurricular Activity as Apredictor of the Use of Legal Addictive Substances by Pupils of Elementary and Secondary Schools

Abstract

Introduction: The study is focused on potential predictors of the use of legal addictive substances by children and youth.

Methods: The survey sample consists of 5370 elementary and secondary school pupils aged 9 to 20. In quantitative research (author’s questionnaire), legal and illegal addictive substances were examined, while more detailed analysis in the context of leisure time was focused on the use of legal addictive substances. Data were analyzed by factor and regression analysis.

Conclusions: The main results include the finding that the protective factors of drug use include reading books, attending school, attending extra curriculum activities, talking to parents, attending church and risk factors include going to discos/entertainment, part-time working and going out with friends.

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Gender and Developmental Aspects of Metaphor and Metonymy Comprehension Processes

Abstract

Introduction: The goal of the present study was, in line with theoretical findings, to confirm a shift in metaphor and metonymy comprehension on a sample of Slovak children and to track an effect of a gender as well.

Methods: Metaphor and metonymy comprehension were measured with an author constructed tool consisting of eight metaphors and eight metonymies. Respondents were given a multiple choice option to select a correct meaning of metaphor or metonymy. The sample consisted of 120 elementary school children from Košice area. For an age assessment, two age groups were created based on elementary school grades-fourth grade (9-10 years) and eighth grade (13-14 years).

Results: Results of our study indicate that both metaphor comprehension and metonymy comprehension shift significantly with age. Eight graders scored significantly better than fourth graders in tasks given. We found statistically significant differences between genders as well. Girls scored significantly higher than boys both in metaphor comprehension and metonymy comprehension.

Discussion: Metaphor and metonymy comprehension progress significantly in time, supposedly in line with the development of other cognitive processes. Gender differences can be explained in part by female advantage in verbal processes proclaimed by some research.

Limitations: We see limits of our research in capturing a relatively narrow age range.

Conclusion: Our study aims to contribute to knowledge about figurative language development since only few researchers have addressed the problem. Perspectives for future research are in exploring given topic on various developmental stages to gain a complex understanding of metaphor and metonymy development in Slovak population and to better explain gender differences.

Open access
Media Education and Prevention of Cyberbullying

Abstract

Introduction: European-wide bullying statistics shows that 93% of Internet users aged 9-16 have bullying experience, or have been bullied, or they have been bullying online1. The article highlights the most common threats encountered in communicating in cyberspace, with emphasis on cyberbullying and its possible negative consequences in the context of victim’s self-sacrifice. Based on the results of more researches, including also ours, it justified the need of media education implementation as across-cutting theme in primary and secondary education and high schools in order to develop critical thinking as a prerequisite of respect of human rights and cyberbullying.

Conclusions: The didactic materials (praxeological results of applied project APVV-14-0176 solved at the Department of Ethics and Civic education, Faculty of Pedagogy, Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica) are available online for primary school teachers. Teachers can use them directly to prepare specific media education topics, including cyberbullying, or to adapt them creatively to their own learning conditions and to share their pedagogical experience in an available on-line blog.

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Open access
Scientific Basis of Parental Alienation

Abstract

The authors of the study analyze the international scientific discourse of parental dismissal as a specific phenomenon, which is the attribute to abnormal and pathogenic behavior of children who are in a highly conflicting divorce or gait of their parents. They point to the difference between phenomena such as estrangement and alienation, which the critics of parental disclaimer share. In the case of theft, the psychological anomaly is the basis for the child’s reaction to ill-treatment by a strange parent. When the dismissal is the result of manipulation of the parent who has the child in power and the brainwashing method seeks to displace the attachment from the child’s psyche to the other parent. An analysis of the psychopathological phenomenon, referred to as parental alienation, is based on research data gathered by a community of about 400 experts from 45 countries of the world. The concept of parental dismissal has become part of three new diagnoses in the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in the US), which form the medical basis for understanding the unwarranted aggressive rejection of a non-parent. The study provides an overview of the state of the latest scientific knowledge and offers opportunities to assess parental dismissal in the context of ICD 10 (International Classification of Diseases). The results of this study are basic findings that clearly confirm that parental abortion is an abnormal state of the child’s psyche, which becomes a public health problem and instead of a controversial discourse among professionals, they should seek synergy that would bring amore significant shift in prevention and therapies of parental dismissal.

Open access
Using Artistic Expression as A platform for Learning About Children

Abstract

Introduction: We perceive artistic expression as a suitable form of knowledge, investigation, and construction of understanding through the use of creative representation. The main goal of a broader conceived research then is to explore the prospects of that same artistic expression as a personal representation of a child and develop possible pedagogical diagnostics. The presented study is focused on detecting the level of trauma of refugee children and helping them to get through their suffering using artistic and pedagogical diagnostics of expression. The inquiry was carried out over two months with five children.

Methods: Methods of observation, content analysis, and unstructured interviews were used during the research. Several themes were employed in meetings, but for the purpose of this paper we will analyze only one – that being “my house”. This theme was aimed through relaxation activities with clay, finger games, own world, reconstruction, and imagination of new space. It was a joint work that reflected children’s experiences using artistic expression with the clay.

Results: Clearly, from their own creation, children transformed their house into abridge, which could be interpreted as a transition to a better house than they have experienced. Signs that appeared in children’s creations led to following interpretations and communications that brought us closer to the children’s issues which, in turn, were often related to the disturbance they had experienced and are still experiencing.

Conclusions: It is precisely the art expression that proved to be the right mean for eliminating negative emotions and consequent problems arising from trauma. The effort of art expression is that the child, on their initiative, could break the barrier of secrecy related to his or her creation and could look for the connection between their own creation and their inner experience.

Open access
Analysis of Selected Recommendations of Parents for Improvement of Shared Care and Joint Custody After Parents/Partners´ Divorce/Separation

Abstract

The content of this scientific study is based on the qualitative analysis of selected answers of parents, in the framework of semi-structured interview. The qualitative research is apart of bigger research work P-155/A, dealing with mental health of children in family and school settings. The main goal is to learn and analyse the empirical experience and views of participants, related to joint custody and shared care. The research sample consisted of randomly selected 9 participants who visited Výskumný ústav detskej psychológie apatopsychológie on behalf of some problems regarding custody after divorce/separation. In this contribution the parents´ attitudes towards mutual communication of former partners/parents, functioning of joint custody and shared care and some views related to some limits in this form of shared parenting have been analysed. Some valuable remarks with regard to the need of multi-professional team work, addressed to parents within the process of their divorce/separation proved to be very useful. Parents proposed they would extremely welcome some more help from mental health professionals and their crises intervention actions.

On behalf of discussion we notice that the juridical institute of joint custody and shared care is a very important tool, however, some legislative changes of this law should be still done. Concluding the study, we state that in spite of some methodological problems – like a limited number of research participants, we believe that the results can serve as a basis for the next deeper research, bringing more proposals for improvement in this field.

Open access