Individual Difference

This is a lovely and colourful world with different types of people. Each individual is a precious and unique creation of God. No one is similar in this beautiful world with respect to cognitive skills, physical appearance and emotional behaviour. All these dissimilarities are just because of individual differences.

In education, since the most ancient times, students have been differentiated on the basis of their age for getting education. In addition to differences in age, another factor that was partly taken into consideration, is the difference in levels of intelligence.

In educational psychology, the concept of individual differences is very important. In every day teaching-learning environment, a teacher faces different types of problems majorly because of the different types of students in the same class. This is because of individual differences.

Meaning of Individual Differences

It is a unquestionable fact, that members of the same species, such as human beings, resemble each other in almost all features. But no two human beings are exactly alike, in all aspects. Each individual differs in size, shape, appearance, speed of reaction, learning process, attitude, aptitude and innumerable other aspects of behaviour. These differences between the individuals that separate one individual from the other making one as a distinct identity, is termed as individual difference in educational psychology.

Individual differences are the dissimilarities from one person to another person, on the basis of different variables such as self-worth, rate of cognitive development or degree of amicability. The study of individual difference helps us to understand not only what makes them different from one another, but also what makes humans similar.

Definitions of Individual Difference

1. According to, individual differences are, “A learner’s personal characteristics that can affect how she/he learns.”
2. According to James S. Ross, “The concept of individual difference influenced to a great extends the principles of education in relation to class room and teaching and learning process.”

On the basis of above definitions, it can be said that no two individuals are alike to each other. Individual differences in behaviour are largely the result of different kinds of learning experiences, encountered by different people. It affects every aspect such as changeability, interest, the rate of learning and development and other various characteristics of the human personality.

Types of Individual Differences

Individual differences can be categories into the following two types:

1. Inter individual differences: Shyam likes to play football but his friend Ram does not like it. He likes to play badminton. This is because of inter- individual differences. The difference in the traits of two or more individuals is called as inter individual differences.

2. Intra individual differences: A child likes to study mathematics but does not like History, this is because of intra individual difference. It is a difference within an individual.

Individual Difference

Areas of Individual Differences

Following are the various areas of individual differences:

1. Intelligence: Individuals are seen differing in considerable measure, in respect of their general intelligence. Every child differs, with respect to their learning and recalling abilities, abstract and problem solving abilities, concept attainment abilities, reasoning abilities, etc.

Children, who are either above, or below the level of intelligences, require special educational methods and conditions. On the basis of their intelligence level, children are usually classified as idiot, imbecile, moron, border line, average, bright and genius.

2. Special Abilities: There are individual differences in respect of special abilities. These special abilities are related to any of the three H’s, i.e., head, heart and hand of the individuals. Abilities of this kind are concerned with mental, artistic and motor ability.

3. Readiness in Learning: Difference in the quickness or alacrity in learning is visible not only in children of different ages, but also among children in the same age group. Some individuals learn quickly and are able to make use of their learning more easily as compared to others. The mode of learning and memorization are also different with different individuals.

4. Mental Age: It is also an important reason of individual differences as children of the same age show differences in their respective mental ages. The child’s level of education should be determined according to his/her mental age.

5. Motor Ability: To an extent, the one individual’s psychomotor abilities do not resemble with other individual. Different individuals of the same age group manifest considerable differences in manual dexterity. There is a wide difference in motor abilities such as speed of doing, neatness, accuracy in doing any activity with minimum errors, etc.

6. Physical difference: Every child differs in their rate of physical growth. Difference in growth is evidence not only in individuals of different age groups, but also between individuals of the same age. Individual differ in their height, weight, speech and walk, etc. One can even find physical difference in two siblings living in the same family. Physical differences are also found in the individual staying in different states of the country.

7. Difference of Interests: Individual difference can be seen in the field of interest also. Each child has its own interest. Some like to play and see the cricket matches, while others like to read books, watch educational programmes, listening music. Some have interest in drawing while others have in interest in craft, etc. It has been noticed that the difference in sex also leads to a difference in interests.

8. Personality: Each person is having his/her own unique personality. The differences in personality are dependent on the personality traits of the individual. These different personalities have been classified into many groups. For example: Some have an introvert personality, whereas, some have extrovert type of personality, some are optimistic while others are pessimistic, etc. Thus, on the basis of different types of personality, there are individual differences.

9. Difference in social development: Social development is the ability in a person to have an effective relationship with other people living in the society. This development takes place along with individual’s growth and development. Each individual differs in respect to his/her social development. Some adjust easily in a social situation and lead a happy social life. Those who are not able to do the same, are turned into socially handicapped or antisocial.

Who difference in social development can be seen through some characteristics, such as some children are very sympathetic and cooperative in nature, while others are aggressive, competitive in nature. Some are very selfish and some are sacrificing in nature. Some children are nervous and shy, while others are friendly to an unfamiliar person.

10. Difference in moral development: Moral development is a complex process. Individuals differ in respect to their ethical and moral development. Moral development is the process of interaction between an individual and the environment. As each individual lives in a different environment, the development of his values will also differ. For example: If a child is having friends with good moral values, she/he will also learn the same, and vice versa.

11. Difference in attitude: Individual may possess different attitude or behaviour according to the situation. Different children have different attitude towards various authorities. For example: Sarika has a positive attitude towards the school environment while Sapna’s attitude is negative towards the same. Some children have assertive attitude, while other children may show an aggressive attitude.

12. Difference in achievement: There exist the differences in the achievement of each child. One can find difference even in the achievement level of the children who are in the same class. According to the academic achievement of children, they are grouped into below average, average, gifted, etc. Achievement of each child differs, even if all the children have the same intelligence quotient, this is because, others factors such as motivation, previous knowledge, environment, interest and attitude also play an important role in their achievement.

13. Difference in emotional development: Difference in emotional development is also one of the areas of individual differences. There is some universality in the existence of emotions in all the people, but each individual differs in the degree of the emotional expression to a particular situation. For example: Emotion of love is common in all the individuals, but its depiction is different by different people in same situation. Also, some are very peaceful in nature, while others become angry very easily.

Leave a Comment

error: Content is protected !!