The current issue of Psychology in Russia: State of the Art opens with reports from the 4th Annual international research-to-practice conference “Early Childhood Care and Education” held on April 23rd - 25th 2015 at the Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow, Russia).
Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, Volume 8, Issue 2, 2015, Psychology in Russia: State of the Art
Special section: 4th Annual international research-to-practice conference “Early Childhood Care and Education”
Early literacy in Norwegian and Swedish preschool teacher education
Since the turn of the century, politicians in the Scandinavian countries have placed great emphasis on early childhood education and care. They have been especially concerned with lifelong learning in the field of language learning, early literacy, and numeracy. Almost all children between the ages of 1 and 6 years attend a preschool, and the quality of the learning environment is of great importance. This article presents a comparative study of student preschool teachers’ conceptions of the knowledge that they claim to have acquired about children’s early literacy throughout their bachelor education in Norway and in Sweden. The aim is to compare responses to a questionnaire administered to the student teachers and to examine the similarities and differences in the content of and goals indicated in the two countries’ national plans for early literacy. This study is based on sociocultural theories and has a multimethod design. First, through a discourse analysis we examined the national plans for preschool teacher education in Norway and Sweden and studied similarities and differences. Second, we sent a questionnaire to all student preschool teachers at all universities and university colleges in Norway and at the University of Gothenburg. The differences between the Norwegian and Swedish education students were most obviously seen in their responses to the questions about how they work with early literacy. The discourse analyses showed that the national education plans for preschool teacher education in the two countries differ in certain instances but share common ground in others.
early childhood education, language learning, early literacy, preschool teachers, preschool teacher education, comparative study
Play and learning in early childhood education in Sweden
Learning through play is a common phrase in early childhood education worldwide. Play is often put forward as the overarching principle for working with young children (Johnson, Christie, & Wardle, 2005). However, if we go beyond the rhetorical level and explore how “learning through play” and a “play-based curriculum” are understood and transformed into practice, we may find differences both within and between countries (Karlsson Lohmander & Pramling Samuelsson, 2014a, 2014b; Pramling Samuelsson & Fleer, 2009).
In this article we discuss the relationship between the concepts of play and learning and describe how they are enacted in everyday practice in early childhood education in Sweden. Starting with a brief presentation of the development of early childhood education, we then reflect on the challenges preschool teachers may encounter when trying to implement a new learning-oriented curriculum (National Agency for Education, 2011) and still trying to keep play as a central dimension in children’s everyday life in preschool.
early childhood education, Sweden, preschool, play, learning
Styles of parent-child interactions in families with preschool-age children
With regard to cultural-historical and activity approaches, collaborative activity with an adult, including communication as a type of meta-activity, is considered to be the necessary mechanism of child development. A child is considered to be an active partner, possessing his/her own motives, and is guided by mental representations of the parent and interactions with him/her. Russian psychologists have developed a range of parenting style classifications; however, these styles primarily emphasize a parent’s position, contrary to methodological perspectives, with inadequate consideration of a child’s own agency. The aims of the current research were to investigate actual goal-oriented interactions between preschoolers and their parents and to outline certain patterns (types) of interactions, considering both partners and analyzing interac- tions according to the activity model. A total of 75 parent-child dyads (children aged from 4.6 years to 6.11 years) participated in “collaborative activity trials” in which the observational method was based on the activity approach. Cluster analysis (k-means clusterization) revealed five different groups of parent-child dyads: conflictual, harmonious, distant and two-fold dominant (with dominant parent or dominant child). Between-group comparisons (Mann-Whitney U test) showed significant differences in a range of parameters of activity and emotional components of interactions. The harmonious type of interactions is not prevalent, although subgroups with different types of domination are the most common, which may be attributed to cultural peculiarities. Domination-subordination misbalance does not seem to seriously distort the normal developmental trajectory; however, in cases of conflictual and distant dyads, interactional issues might hinder the course of goal-oriented activity, which might serve as a predictor for potential difficulties in further learning.
This article studies the structure of the pastime of contemporary preschool children and the importance and prevalence of various kinds of activities that parents and their children share. The emphasis is on those features of parental behavior that are determined by gender role (mother/father), family status (two-parent/separated family), style of parentchild relationship, and also child’s gender. The work is based on data from 1,936 questionnaires received from parents of preschool children (from 1.5 to 7 years old) who were attending Moscow kindergartens. The research was carried out in 41 kindergartens in 9 districts of Moscow. The survey uncovered several social-psychological features of the position parents take while organizing their shared pastime with preschool children: the influence of traditional gender-role models of parental behavior; the “complementary” principle of mother’s and father’s social-role positions in the upbringing of a daughter; the distortion of traditional maternal behavior in the upbringing of a son in a separated family; the reduced organization of shared play with a child in a separated family; the influence of the style of the parent-child relationship on the participation of parents in their children’s activities. The dynamics show how the parents’ position changes as their children grow older (from 1.5 years to 7 years): namely, the decrease of parents’ organization of and participation in a preschool child’s activities has a negative impact on their emotional state while interacting with the child.
preschool childhood, family pastime, shared activity of parents and children, parental position, parent-child relationship
Indicators of reflection during acquisition of symbolic actions in preschool Colombian children
Solovieva Yu., González-Moreno C.X., Quintanar L. (2015). Indicators of reflection during acquisition of symbolic actions in preschool Colombian children. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 8(2), 61-72.
The background of the study is the historic and cultural conception of development, which considers symbolic activities significant for preschool-age children. Our objective was to identify indicators of reflection as an essential feature of preschool development during the acquisition of symbolic actions at three levels: materialized, perceptive, and verbal. The design of the study was descriptive with qualitative and quantitative analysis applied. Included in this assessment of the development of symbolic function were 180 children of preschool age (from 5 to 6 years old) who were in the third year of formal preschool education in Bogotá, Colombia. Qualitative analysis of the results pointed out specific indicators of symbolic development at each level. On the materialized level such indicators were the sequencing of actions with substituted objects, the generalization of the symbolic features of objects, and a verbal, coherent explanation of the mode of substitution. On the perceptive level the indicators were the generalization of features in graphic representations, the possibility of using an image as a strategy for voluntary memorization, and a verbal explanation of the use of an image as a substitution. On the verbal level reflective explanation of verbal substitution was established as the positive indicator. The results permit us to posit the usefulness of clear qualitative indicators for assessment of a child’s level of psychological development and readiness for school learning at the end of preschool.
Project activity has a long history of implementation in education (Kilpatrick, 1918). This article describes the approach to project activity that became widespread in preschool education in Russia in the late 1990s. This approach is based on the cultural-historical theory of Vygotsky (1978), Venger’s (1988) understanding of intellectual giftedness, as well as an understanding of project activity proposed by Leontiev (2000).
At the heart of project activity lies children’s exploration of the space of possibilities — that is, their search for action options that correspond to their personal motives and express their individuality. The main features of project activity are the problem situation to be presented to the child; the subjectivity of all its participants, including teachers; and its nature, which includes its social context.
Three main types of project activity are presented: research, creative, and normative; each has its own structure and value for children’s development. Examples of their implementation in preschool settings are provided. The impact of project activity on all its participants in preschool — children, teachers, parents — is addressed.
The article shows the effectiveness of project activity for educational work with both intellectually gifted and normally developing children.
project activity, giftedness, intellectual development, space of possibilities
Psychology of personality
An existential criterion for normal and abnormal personality in the works of Erich Fromm
This is the first of four articles scheduled for publication in this journal on the position people with normal and abnormal personalities take in regard to so-called existential dichotomies. The main objective of this article is to propose a new, existential criterion for normal and abnormal personality implicitly present in the works of Erich Fromm. According to this criterion, normal and abnormal personalities are determined, first, by special features of the content of their position regarding existential dichotomies, and, second, by particular aspects of the formation of this position. Such dichotomies, entitatively existent in all human life, are inherent, two-alternative contradictions. The position of a normal personality in its content orients one toward a contradictious predetermination of life in the form of existential dichotomies and the necessity of searching for compromise in resolving these dichotomies. This position is created on a rational basis with the person’s active participation. The position of an abnormal personality in its content subjectively denies a contradictious predetermination of life in the form of existential dichotomies and orients one toward a consistent, noncompetitive, and, as a consequence, one-sided way of life that doesn’t include self-determination. This position is imposed by other people on an irrational basis. Abnormal personality interpreted like this is one of the most important factors influencing the development of various kinds of psychological problems and mental disorders — primarily, neurosis. In the following three articles it will be shown that this criterion is also implicitly present in the theories of personality devised by Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, Carl Rogers, and Viktor Frankl.
human nature, human essence, existential dichotomy, normal personality, abnormal personality
Formation of personality psychological maturity and adulthood crises
Based on theoretical analysis, in the present paper, we defined the structure of the characteristics of personality psychological maturity, which is considered an adult development criterion. The objective of this paper was to identify the mechanisms that contribute to the formation of psychological maturity in adulthood development. We first assumed that one of the possible mechanisms is the normative crisis of development. In turn, previously formed psychological maturity traits can relieve the experiences associated with this normative crisis. The aim of the present study was to analyze the formation of psychological maturity during periods of emerging and middle adulthood, with a specific focus on normative crisis experiences. The study design included cross-sectional and longitudinal methods. The participants included 309 adults. The emerging adulthood group ranged in age from 18 to 25 years, and the participants in the middle adulthood group were between 38 and 45 years of age. To study crisis events and experiences, we used three author-designed questionnaires. A self-actualization test by E. Shostrom (SAT), the Big Five personality test by Costa and MacCrae, a value and availability ratio in various vital spheres technique by E.B. Fantalova, a purpose-in-life test by D.A. Leontiev, and a coping test by Lazarus were used to define the personality characteristics used to overcome difficult life situations.
In this paper, we described experiences specific to the crises associated with emerging adulthood and middle adulthood in the context of developmental tasks. Using cluster analysis, we defined groups with different intensities of crisis experiences and analyzed psychological content of crisis experiences in different groups. Using ANOVA, we found that participants with low intensity crisis experiences show more developed characteristics of psychological maturity. During emerging adulthood, the overcoming of crises associated with the separation from family contributes to the formation of such aspects of psychological maturity as self-management, life organization and responsibility. In a longitudinal study of midlife crises, the data suggest that in groups where there are more intense crisis experiences, there are more significant dynamics in the meaning and value sphere over the course of a year that lead to the achievement of greater personal integrity and congruence.
The current study proved the hypothesis regarding the role of the crisis mechanism of psychological maturity development in two phases of adulthood. It also proved that psychological maturity contributes to a decrease in the intensity of crisis experiences.
development, adulthood, psychological maturity, crisis, crisis experiences, meaning and value sphere
Neuropsychological findings in personality disorders: A.R. Luria’s Approach
There is a lack of information concerning the features of cognitive processes in personality disorders, as well as the brain mechanisms of the pathogenesis of these diseases. Luria’s neuropsychological approach demonstrated its heuristicity in estimating the cognitive status of patients with mental disorders and can be employed to identify the brain bases of non-psychotic mental disorders (including personality disorders).
The objective of this research is to study the features of neurocognitive functioning in patients with schizoid personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder (against the norm), employing Luria’s neuropsychological methodology. Hypotheses: 1) While both types of personality disorders are related to schizophrenia spectrum disorders, the specificity of the neurocognitive functioning of each personality disorder will be observed in addition to general neuropsychological signs. Specific neuropsychological symptoms point to different brain deficits, which allows conclusion to be drawn regarding differences in the pathogenesis of each personality disorder; and 2) Luria’s methodology neuropsychology is adequate for the study of neurocognitive functioning in personality disorders.
The study was conducted using qualitative and quantitative analyses (according to Luria) of neuropsychological testing data in a group of fifty male patients aged 19,2±3,7 years with pathocharacteristic domain disorders. The group consisted of 30 schizoid personality disorder patients and 20 schizotypal personality disorder patients.
Statistically significant differences (p <0,005) in neurocognitive function (regulatory processes, memory, spatial function) between the healthy controls and patients with personality disorders were observed.
Specific cognitive disorders pointing to the dysfunction of front-thalamoparietal connections were characteristic of both groups. Lateral differences were discovered for both patient groups. The neuropsychological symptoms related to left hemisphere dysfunction were characteristic of the patients with schizotypal personality disorder. Neurocognitive deficits related to right hemisphere deficiency characterized the patients with schizoid personality disorder.
This article examines personality subjective well-being and describes its psychological structure, general components and characteristics. An overview of foreign theories and studies on subjective well-being is presented. Correlations among related concepts such as happiness, life satisfaction and subjective well-being are also described. Subjective well-being is seen as a multivariate construction of a stable nature in mobile equilibrium. It is argued that a type of professional activity can have great importance and a positive impact on an individual’s social life, health, identity shaping and psychological wellness. This article’s findings are substantiated by the survey administered to 2229 respondents divided into groups according to their area of business: students, psychologists, doctors, teachers, engineering and technical staff, representatives of service industries, workers, military men, and prisoners. The descriptors identified two types of natures: positive, directed to a person’s inner world (happy, lucky, optimistic) and to the outer world (trustworthy, competent, successful), and negative (pessimistic, unhappy, envious). This division of nature type was categorized according to the participants’ subjective well-being index. Empirical evidence has shown that occupational specificity influences a person’s subjective well-being. A substantial difference was found in subjective well-being index of the respondents. A higher index is typical of students and military men. Educators and industrial intelligentsia also demonstrate an increased level of subjective well-being, whereas prisoners tend to have a low level of subjective well-being. The same low index is characteristic of servicing trade representatives and psychologists.
personality, subjective well-being, life satisfaction, psychological security