Want a young child to “help” or to “be a helper”? Word Choice Matters.

My dearest friends, hello!

Can a subtle linguistic cue that invokes the self motivate children to help? In two experiments, 3- to 6-year-old children (N = 149) were exposed to the idea of “being a helper” (noun condition) or “helping” (verb condition). Noun wording fosters the perception that a behavior reflects an identity-the kind of person one is. Both when children interacted with an adult who referenced “being a helper” or “helping” () and with a new adult (), children in the noun condition helped significantly more across four tasks than children in the verb condition or a baseline control condition. The results demonstrate that children are motivated to pursue a positive identity. Moreover, this motivation can be leveraged to encourage prosocial behavior.
The study, by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, the University of Washington and Stanford University, appears in the journal Child Development. The researchers carried out two experiments with about 150 children aged 3 to 6 from a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds who came from middle- to upper-middle-class homes. In both experiments, an adult experimenter began by talking to children about helping. The only difference between the two studies was that in one, helping was referred to with a verb (e.g., “Some children choose to help”), while in the other, it was referred to with a noun (e.g., “Some children choose to be helpers”). Then the children began playing with toys. While they were playing, the adult provided four opportunities for the youngsters to stop and help the experimenter – to pick up a mess, open a container, put away toys, and pick up crayons that had spilled on the floor. In each case, the children had to stop playing to help.
Children who heard the noun wording (helper) helped significantly more than children who heard the verb wording (help). When the experimenter talked to youngsters about helping, using verb wording, the children didn’t help any more than when the experimenter never brought up helping at all.
“These findings suggest that parents and teachers can encourage young children to be more helpful by using nouns like helper instead of verbs like helping when making a request of a child,” said Christopher J. Bryan, assistant professor of psychology at UC San Diego, who worked on the study. “Using the noun helper may send a signal that helping implies something positive about one’s identity, which may in turn motivate children to help more.”

Love always,
Vassiliki  xxxx

About vassilikiplomaritouhttps://mygreatteacheruk.wordpress.comHi, and thanks for visiting! My blog is a good place to find out more about me and my books. I am Vassiliki Plomaritou, a Greek mum of an amazing 27 years old girl and of a pug called Pumba. We live in Richmond, Surrey, a place that I was dreaming about for over 10 years. I wish the rest of my family was here with us, I miss them everyday and especially my little niece, Anna Maria. I love exploring new places such as parks, castles and villages with my husband, my daughter and my dog. Also, I love books, flowers and films, especially comedies. I am passionate about teaching children emotional intelligence skills that will last a lifetime. I have already published four books about emotional intelligence for children in primary school, a program for reading and spelling difficulties, another one for anxiety, fear and panic attacks and the last one which will be published in January 2019, is about the emotional intelligence of teachers. All of them are in Greek but I promise you that I will publish through my blog some important extracts of my books in English in order to show you all my love and respect. I have published one book in English “Charlie a boy with reading difficulties and his dream” which is an award winning book inspired by the real life of a young boy who experiences learning difficulties due to dyslexia. You can buy my books here and of course they are available in all bookstores in Greece: • The development of the emotional intelligence of primary school children: http://www.grigorisbooks.gr/product/1125/πρόγραμμα-ανάπτυξης-συναισθηματικής-νοημοσύνης • A practical resource for primary school children with reading and spelling difficulties: http://www.grigorisbooks.gr/product/1396/πρόγραμμα-αντιμετώπισης-μαθησιακών-δυσκολιών.-ανάγνωση-και-ορθογραφία • Without fear, without anxiety: http://www.grigorisbooks.gr/product/1670/χωρίς-φόβο-και-άγχος • The last panic attack http://www.grigorisbooks.gr/product/1724/ο-τελευταίος-πανικός If you would like to arrange a seminar on the development of emotional intelligence or a visit in Greek school you can contact me to the following email: plomvasso@gmail.com I will happily give you any information you need! I would love to hear from you! I apologise for not being word-perfect in English as it is not my mother tongue but I will do my best Love always, Vassiliki xxx

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