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Anikó Zsolnai: Development of Social Competence in Adolescence

Social competence, which is the complex system of social learning, social motives and social abilities, skills, habits and knowledge, fundamentally determines social behaviour. As Hungarian educational literature has paid little attention to the growth and development of social competence and to the question how different developmental levels of social skills and abilities effect academic achievement, the research tried to define those components of social competence that influence academic achievement. The following components of social competence were selected: extraversion - introversion; emotional stability - unstability; cooperation/empathy - egoism; openness; external - internal control attitude; and attachment patterns. The investigation reported in this paper was part of a longer empirical study. Altogether 438 hungarian students were included in the research sample. The 6th grade sample consisted of 218 students and the 10th grade sample contained 220 students. The results of the investigation focusing on personality factors show that the assessed social factors are not affected considerably by age. However, there are some sex differences in the case of some factors. Girls at the age of both 12 and 16 score higher on measures of cooperation, empathy, friendliness and obedience than boys. The same tendencies can be observed for reliability, orderliness and thoroughness: girls in both age groups are more succesful than boys. Students' scores on the external-internal control attitude scale were independent of sex and age suggesting that these two factors do not play a crucial role in the development of adolescents'control attitude. Data on attachment patterns show that children have close relationships with five to six persons, but it is surprising that 98,9% of the students did not mention a single teacher who they would have a close attachment to. Such an underrepresentation of teachers in students' choices indicates functional problems in our schools. Hawever could close connections between teachers and students help a lot in preventing communication disorders and interactional problems.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 98. Number 3. 187-210. (1998)

Address for correspondence: Zsolnai Anikó, József Attila Tudományegyetem Pedagógiai Tanszék, H–6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30–34.

 
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Magyar Tudományos Akadémia