An attitude is a like or dislike, a positive or negative evaluation about some aspect of the world. Our attitudes towards things, people and situation are not Inborn, they are as a result of learning We do not purposely like or dislike an individual, it is due to our experiences with him if we have an unpleasant experience, we tend to dislike or fear that person. This is a conditioned response We associate something with.For instance, We associate burns with hot kettle.
Attitudes are derived from set of values, norms and opinions that are predominant in our cultural group. They are complex and part of the larger group
Attitudes are dynamic and change with time,Attitude is of the mind and only human beings are capable of forming attitude, Attitude directs and influences all human actions It gives direction solving individual’s problems, It fashions the individual’s behaviour,Attitude is regular and consistent feature as an individual.
COMPONENT OF ATTITUDES
There are three components of attitudes.
The Cognitive components of attitude are the thought process while the affective component of attitude are the physiological aspects of emotional reaction which are presented in verbal statements concerning our feelings.The behavioural component comprises of our actions that proceeded our thoughts.
DEVELOPMENT OF POSITIVE ATTITUDE
One way to develop positive attitudes and habits in children is to reinforce that habits give physical, verbal or material reward and a way to discourage negative attitudes is to punish or negatively reinforce such negative attitudes. The following points will encourage the formation of positive attitudes:
1.Such attitude trail must bring satisfaction to the child
2.Reward should follow the correct response so that the habit is easily formed
3.The greater the reward the quicker and easier the habit be formed
4.The more often the responses are rewarded at the beginning, the more firmly the habit is fitted.
Once an habit has been formed, the reward need not be regular but must be once in a while. If the reward is completely removed, the habit will come to extinction
A change in an individual’s attitude should be directed at changing the three components of attitude. As attitudes is consistent and regular, it cannot be changed forcefully but gradually
METHODS THAT HELP IN CHANGING ATTITUDE
These are some methods that can be helpful:
An individual can be persuaded to change an existing attitude. If strong reasons were brought forward on the need for the change that individual may be convinced to effect the change. If persuation will be successful it must come from people of authority in that field e g persuation concerning health.E.G,Smoking and drinking is more authentic from a doctor.
The mass media can be used to suggest solutions, arouse emotions and change certain attitudes in the public. Propaganda is most useful if it exaggerates our issues favourably or unfavourably E.G,free medical and educational services.
Every group exert some pressures on its members to ensure conformity Through the use of punishment and reward, a group is able to exert powerful influence upon an individual rewards such as, Awards and promotions can be used to encourage conformity while punishments such as demotions and negligence can be used on non-conformists.The extent to which an individual deviates from the norms,the more pressure (punishment) used on him to bring him to conformity.
CHANGING NEGATIVE ATTITUDE
A child who has already formed a bad habit can be helped to drop it by negatively reinforcing the bad habit and positively reinforcing the good one. This is known as reconditioning. Reconditioning can help a child to like what he hated before It can also remove dread.
There is every likehood that once a person is conditioned to a response, he is likely to respond the same way to any object or person that resembles that object or person.This is called ‘Stimulus Generalisation.For instance,In classroom situation a child attitude can be conditioned or reconditioned to like a subject If a child finds a subject easy to learn he develops favourable attitude towards it.The teacher should therefore ensure that students first attempt at a subject brings satisfaction or success,the teacher should also ensure that he is liked by the students so that they can develop positive attitudes to his subject.