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Discuss the two basic styles of social interaction and the ways they can affect the development and

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Discuss the two basic styles of social interaction and the ways they can affect the development and From a wide variety of possible styles of social interaction that might inevitably play a role in the development of independence and conformative behaviour in children, Subbotsky (1976) choose two styles which he considered to be particularly relevant to the development of independent and conformative behaviour. The first being an authoritarian style the second a democratic style, of which he wrote; In an authoritarian style of social interaction (ASI) one party has the opportunity of controlling, and in fact does control, the action of another in his or her interests; the other party does not have this possibility. In a democratic style of social interaction (DSI) , both parties have equal rights to control, and indeed do control, each other's actions according to certain common rules or programmes. (1). Subbotsky's decision to choose these two basic styles of social interaction was based on previous experiments he had conducted to determine which styles of interaction enhanced dependency in a child's behaviour. He found that when a child was put in a situation whereby they were allowed to take a leading, teaching, or controlling role in an accompanying adults actions, this was enough to eliminate the child's Global imitative attitude (GIA) towards the adult and to foster a more independent role. Subbotsky, therefore concluded that independent and conformative behaviours in children are a product of the styles of interaction the child is exposed to.


Whereas, children who were accompanied by the democratic adult partner showed a higher rate of independence than they had displayed in the pretest trials. This results indicates that ASI appears to prompt the development of conformative behaviour whereas DSI fosters independent behaviour. Experiment 3. Subbotsky (1981), decided to undertake further studies to determine whether DSI enhanced independent behaviour, but this time he chose to conduct his studies outside the laboratory and in the children's classroom. These studies were conducted in Moscow, where the prevailing style of teaching is authoritarian. In order to introduce a democratic style of social interaction a break had to be made with the traditional authoritarian style of relationships which existed between the teacher and the pupil and to introduce a democratic style of social interaction within the classroom. This involved two essential changes: (1) an equalisation of the demands made on the respective behaviours of adult and child which both children and educator may equally exercise the functions of model and controller, and (2) the educator's repudiation of social control over the child's acts (rewards and punishments) as much as possible. (3) The purpose of these changes was to make the child feel as if he/she was playing a more equal role in the interaction between the teacher and themselves. To make the child realise that the teacher was not an infallible person, that they too could sometimes make mistakes and require guidance.


By encouraging this type of two way interaction between the child and adult it appeared to enhance the children's confidence, which was further illustrated by their increased independent behaviour. This in turn appeared to make them less inhibited, which might well account for their heightened spontaneous, creative, active involvement in various types of lessons. Despite all the positive effects produced by the democratic style of interaction, it also produced a certain amount of negative results, such as liberation of aggressive tendencies and a lack of discipline displayed in the children's behaviour. The process of introducing a democratic style of interaction into the classroom was also time consuming, labour intensive and emotionally draining for the adults who took part. However, Subbotsky suggested that the disadvantages could be eliminated if a mixed style of social interaction was applied. In a further study using such tactics he found that this was the case. In conclusion, It would seem that a child's social position, reflected in the style of social interaction he or she is permitted to participate in is, to a substantial degree, responsible for the development of either independent or conforming behaviour. An authoritarian style of social interaction promoting GIA and a democratic style of social interaction promoting nonconforming behaviour. In the classroom a democratic style of interaction fosters not only independent behaviour but also seems to heighten children's spontaneous creativity. It appears however that children may benefit most from a mixture of authoritarian and democratic styles of social interaction, because the authoritarian styles seems to reduce some of the negative consequences that arise from applying the democratic style of social interaction alone.

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