Individual differences are essential whenever we wish to explain how individuals differ in their behavior. In any study, major difference exists between individuals. Reaction time, preferences, values, and health linked behaviors are just a few examples. Individual differences in factors such as personality, intelligence, memory, or physical factors such as body size, sex, age, and other factors can be studied and used in understanding this large source of variance. Importantly, individuals can also differ not only in their current state, but in the magnitude or even direction of response to a given stimulus.
Students differ from each other is obvious. How and why they differ is less clear and is the subject of the study of Individual differences (IDs). Individual differences research typically includes personality, motivation, intelligence, ability, IQ, interests, values, self-concept, self-efficacy, and self-esteem (to name just a few). Current researchers are found in a variety of applied and experimental programs, including educational psychology, Industrial and organizational psychology, personality psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology programs, in the neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development in particular. Earlier studies show us a higher risk with the factors of social and behavioral domains in young children with a single parent. However, the variety of single parent families regarding gender of the main parent has rarely been taken into reason when understanding the relation between family and child’s negative outcomes. Although to study individual differences seems to be to study variance, how are people different, it is also to study central tendency, how well can a person be described in terms of an overall within-person average.
Indeed, perhaps the most important question of individual differences is whether people are more similar to themselves over time and across situations than they are to others, and whether the variation within a single person across time and situation is less than the variation between people. A related question is that of similarity, for people differ in their similarities to each other. Questions of whether particular groups (e.g., groupings by sex, culture, age, or ethnicity) are more similar within than between groups are also questions of individual differences. Personality psychology addresses the questions of shared human nature, dimensions of individual differences and unique patterns of individuals. Research in IDs ranges from analyses of genetic codes to the study of sexual, social, ethnic, and cultural differences and includes research on cognitive abilities, interpersonal styles, and emotional reactivity.
Methods range from laboratory experiments to longitudinal field studies and include data reduction techniques such as Factor Analysis and Principal Components Analysis, as well as Structural Modeling and Multi-Level Modeling procedures. Measurement issues of most importance are those of reliability and stability of Individual Differences. Research in Individual Differences addresses three broad questions: 1) developing an adequate descriptive taxonomy of how people differ; 2) applying differences in one situation to predict differences in other situations; and 3) testing theoretical explanations of the structure and dynamics of individual differences. Taxonomies of Individual Differences
Taxonomic work has focused on categorizing the infinite ways in which individuals differ in terms of a limited number of latent or unobservable constructs. This is a multi-step, cyclical process of intuition, observation, deduction, induction, and verification that has gradually converged on a consensual descriptive organization of broad classes of variables as well as on methods for analyzing them. Most of the measurement and taxonomic techniques used throughout the field have been developed in response to the demand for selection for schooling, training, and business applications.
Personality and Ability
Although to some the term ‘personality’ refers to all aspects of a person’s individuality, typical usage divides the field into studies of ability and personality. Tests of ability are viewed as maximal performance measures. Ability is taken as the best one can do on a particular measure in a limited time (speed test) or with unlimited time (power test). Personality measures are estimates of average performance and typically include reports of preferences and estimates of what one normally does and how one perceives oneself and is perceived by others. The same procedures used to clarify the structure of cognitive abilities have been applied to the question of identifying the domains of personality. Many of the early and current personality records use self-descriptive questions (e.g., do you like to go to lively parties; are you sometimes nervous) that are reasonably applicable to some domain of interest for a particular investigator. Other researchers have supported a lexical approach to the taxonomic problem, following the basic assumption that words in the natural language describe all important individual differences.
This transfers the taxonomic question from how are individuals similar and different from each other to how are the words used to describe individuals (e.g., lively, talkative, nervous, anxious) similar and different from each other. Measures of ability and personality reflect observations collected across time and occasion. There are other individual differences that are readily noticeable to outside observers and require little or no inference about latent traits. The most obvious of such variables include sex, age, height, and weight. Differences that require some knowledge and assumption are differences in habits and social economic status. These obvious group differences are sometimes analyzed in terms of the more subtle measures of personality and ability or of real life outcomes (e.g., sex differences in neuroticism, mathematics ability, or income). Sources of Individual differences
The taxonomic and predictive studies of individual differences are descriptive organizations of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that go together and how they relate to other outcomes. But this categorization is detailed rather than basic and is similar to grouping rocks in terms of density and hardness rather than atomic or molecular structure. Connecting theories of individual differences are being developed but are in a much earlier stage than are the descriptive taxonomies. Genes do not code for thoughts, feelings or behavior but rather code for proteins that regulate and modulate biological systems. Although promising work has been done searching for the biological bases of individual differences it is possible to sketch out these bases only in the broadest of terms. Specific neurotransmitters and brain structures can be associated with a broad class of approach behaviors and positive affects while other neurotransmitters and structures can be associated with a similarly broad class of avoidance behaviors and negative effects.
Reports relating specific alleles to specific personality traits emphasize that the broad personality traits are most likely under polygenic influence and are moderated by environmental experience. Subtle differences in neurotransmitter availability and re-uptake vary the sensitivity of individuals to signals about their environment that predict future resource availability and external rewards and punishments. It is the way these cues are detected, attended to, stored, and integrated with previous experiences that makes each individual unique. Current work on the bases of individual differences is concerned with understanding this delicate interplay of biological propensities with environmental opportunities and constraints as they are ultimately represented in an individual’s information processing system. With time we can expect to increase our taxonomic and predictive power by using these basic bio-social theories of individual differences. How do Individual Differences Affect Learning
Some students are naturally enthusiastic about learning, but many need or expect their teachers to inspire, challenge, and stimulate them. Ericksen have once said “Effective learning in the classroom depends on the teacher’s ability to maintain the interest that brought students to the course in the first place”, Unfortunately, there is no single magical formula for motivating students. Many factors affect a student’s motivation to work and to learn, this may include: the students interest in a certain subject, perception of its usefulness, general desire to achieve, self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as patience and persistence. Nevertheless, not all students are motivated by the same values, needs, desires, or wants. Some students will be motivated by the approval of others, and some will be by overcoming challenges. If teachers spiced up their lectures and made it interesting and even funny now and then, they can lead most students to actually enjoy the class and even become more interested. Due to a partial reinforcement schedule effect, this is likely to pay off later even if the lectures may gradually become more serious over the course of the term period.
Apparently, intelligence of a student greatly affects to his/her actions in their studies. For if the intelligence of a student is not that good enough, probably the student finds something which will make him/her enjoy and studying bores him a lot, due to his inabilities of fast learning. This would tend for a child to have bad vices such as smoking, drinking alcoholic drinks, nightclubbing with friends, and even would tend to use dangerous drugs.
Theories of intelligence have been discussed by philosophers since Plato, intelligence testing is an invention of educational psychology, and is coincident with the development of that discipline. Continuing debates about the nature of intelligence revolve on whether intelligence can be characterized by a single factor known as general intelligence, multiple factors, or whether it can be measured at all. In practice, standardized instruments such as the Stanford-Binet IQ test and the WISC are widely used in economically developed countries to identify children in need of individualized educational treatment. Children classified as gifted are often provided with accelerated or enriched programs. Children with identified deficits may be provided with enhanced education in specific skills such as phonological awareness.
Students’ Different Lifestyles
Nowadays, teenagers have changed in comparison with the teens in the past, taking into account eating habits, an active way of life, spending free time and clothes. They are a “technology” generation. For teens in today’s world mobile phones, internet, music, movies, television and video games are very important. Most teenagers prefer watching TV and playing computer games to reading books. They don’t like reading because watching TV is easier and they don’t have to use their own imagination. Computer games teach but they are also harmful to health. Teenagers prefer to spend free time in front of a computer rather than to walk, play football or go to a swimming pool. Moreover, games transfer them into the world which doesn’t exist. It is very exciting for the youth. They meet with friends in such places as Jollibee. Teens eat there unhealthy food. They eat too much fast food.
Another aspect worth mentioning is communication via the Internet, especially instant messaging, it has become an essential feature of teens’ social lives. Teenagers say, that this can be very helpful to communicate, learn and can be fun. Through the Internet they can download music and other files and play on-line games, for example, with their real or virtual friends. What is more, cellular are very popular among teenagers and can be used to do a lot of things: we can communicate with friends using them, have a nice time playing games, listen to music and also watch films. For a lot of young people mobile phones are indispensable and they simply cannot imagine life without them. Teenagers’ clothes in the twenty-first century have also changed a lot. The clothes they wear depend on current trends since it is important to follow fashion. School uniforms aren’t so popular today like in the past.
Girls more often wear jeans than skirts; boys wear wide sweatshirts and trousers. The fact is that nowadays teens get dressed in clothes which are comfortable for them. All in all, it can be stated that the lifestyle of teenagers depends on many factors. It is connected with the constant development which is taking place and as a result is different from the lifestyle of young people in the past. Every young man should lead a healthy lifestyle independently of age or interests. This should be one of the things that you do every single day. According to many scholars that is the liability of every man, and everyone should try to take the advantage of this life the best he or she can. Young people should be aware of positive influence of healthy lifestyle on health and mood. This in effect would give them better results in studying and what is more important they would be pleased with good health much longer.
Students’ Study Habits
Study habit is a technique or a strategy used every time a person is studying. Some students would have the same study habit or may have a different one. It depends on whether a specific study habit is effective for them. The stress on good study habits will undoubtedly improved the students’ level of performance. Study habits are important on the part of the students so that it can make use of their time effectively and purposely instead of wasting their time with insufficient study accomplishments.
It is a common knowledge that many students fail in studying; even those who work hard often study in ways considered unproductive. Several others are just contented with barely passing grades, never developing their skills and abilities to the highest level attainable. What to study, where to study and how to study are indispensable to every student in class. In fact, proper study habits are the tool for acquiring deeper understanding in different subjects. With advances in technology, student study habits have dramatically changed. It’s affected the way classes are taught, students learn theories and the way information is presented. Gone are the days of slaving over books in the library and scribbling down notes on paper. The Internet allows students to access virtually all information that is publicly available from the comfort of their homes. There is no need to travel or even go to a library. Books are scanned in to the Internet, museums have work available online, and academic journals can also be sourced.
Students can now gain access to information in far quicker ways. Once a resource has been found they can quickly search the entire document by typing in a key word, rather than having to look in a book’s index. Mathematical calculations can also be performed on special programs, while graphs can be plotted instantly. Students are increasingly choosing to type notes rather than write them. Laptops are portable, inexpensive and have good battery life. Even math formulas can be typed using certain programs. PowerPoint can be used to present information, avoiding the need to change overhead projector sheets. Studying has become far more flexible, meaning students can choose to learn and present information in their own ways. Those who prefer visual learning can choose to watch documentaries available on the Internet, while others can download books to read.
Disadvantages of Technology
Although it’s easier to access more information, it’s also easier to become distracted from work when using technology; a theory known as DAD (divided attention disorder).Students are tempted to check their facebook, or any other social networking sites, download a song available at the click of a button, play addictive online games such as DOTA, Shaiya, and etc.; getting on with their assignments or doing some important reading can be difficult.