Tuesday, 28 October 2014

That’s not fair!

That’s not fair!

Parents especially mothers are concerned about cultivating certain social skills in their young toddlers like sharing and waiting for their turn. Not many teachers and parents realize that sharing and waiting for their turn will stem from the concept of fairness, and this trait in young children is inborn. Yes, this was the subject of a puppet experiment research study conducted by Patricia Kanngiesser from the University of Bristol who led the study, and Prof Felix Warneken from Harvard University, a co-author of this study that was published  in the journal PLoS One.  (if I remember correctly this experiment was shared by ChildCareexchange newsletter, thank you)

The study used a puppet experiment with toddlers. Using puppets allowed the experimenters to carry out a controlled experiment whilst still revealing exactly how the children would behave towards peers in a real world situation. The game works like this: the puppet (with the aid of an adult puppeteer) and a three-year-old participant gather their hauls of little buckets.  Then the child /puppet team is rewarded with stickers – one for each coin they have collected. At this point the child has to decide how to share his or her prized stickers with their puppet partner.

The results of this study-experiment were quite surprising, “We were very surprised to find this sophisticated sharing behavior already present in three-year-olds,” said Ms. Kanngiesser. Ms. Kannigiesser said there was a “natural human predisposition” towards treating other fairly. “It seems to be intuitive,” she said.  “People have found that even by 18 months of age, children have expectations about how things should be shared fairly.” And there are logical, human reasons for this natural bias towards fair play.

We at Podar Institute of Education were Inspired by a BBC story by Victoria Gill on this puppet experiment and we decided to conduct the same experiment with different age groups and variations. Social situations or peers or adults as we wanted to find out if fairness and sharing is inborn and does it remain constant at all ages or do children influence different age groups and then do they show a change in their fairness and sharing behavior. Variations because we wanted to see what social situations cause this change in behavior or are they unconsciously influenced by adult behavior or expectations, after all young children do learn by imitation.

We conducted the study in Mumbai city and 13 other small and big towns and cities in India. Children were from different backgrounds, cultures and socio-economic status. We took equal boys and girls and the game/experiment was done at least 4 times with each child.  We conducted the same experiment with 2, 3, 4,5,6 and 7 year olds. From each age group we took 10 children.

1.     2 and 3 year olds not only shared equally with the puppet but also sometimes even gave their share to the puppet.
2.     4 year olds were very fair, which means if they took out 4 tokens and the puppet took out 2 tokens in the game, they shared their prize with the puppet as 4 and 2 which means prize is distributed as much as the effort and not more.
3.     5,6 and 7 year olds did not share fairly, they wanted to hoard all the prizes, they thought that the effort of the puppet was through its handler so why should the puppet get anything.
4.     So then we made them play with real children instead of a puppet but found the same unfairness in them.
5.     We then tried a different angle to the study, we made the 5,6 and 7 year olds play under the supervision of  a teacher. Just the teacher’s presence made them share equally and fairly.
6.     The same group was then made to play in the presence of some of their mothers. Mothers were not given any instructions. We found more squabbling and unfairness in this group. The ones whose mothers were around were more vocal and quibbled more and the mothers compounded the problem by taking sides.

What did we learn through this experiment? We agreed with the original researchers that fairness and sharing or equality is innate and is part of our emerging socio-emotional skills. Over a period of time we are unconsciously ‘groomed’ to be selfish and hoard the prize instead of thinking about fairness and justice. A simple example is the birthday game that all kids are exposed to, the breaking of the piñata, here everyone pushes each other and hoards, goaded by adults watching the game. We wanted parents and teachers to realize the impact of adults on shaping the social personalities of young children.

 Given here are the percentages of the findings of the game/study/experiment,
1.     In the 2 year age group 90% of the kids shared equally and fairly. 8 % took all and 2 % were not bothered about the prize.
2.     In the 3 year age group 88% of the kids shared fairly and equally, 7% did not share and took all, 5% were unsure about how many to keep and how many to give and ended up giving and taking back
3.     In the 4-year age group 76% of the kids shared fairly and equally, 10% did not share at all and 8% shared then took it back when no one was looking. And 6% did not like the prize so did not take it!
4.     In the 5 year age group 70% of the kids shared fairly and equally, 15% did not share fairly, 10% did not share at all and 5% argued that the puppet cannot compete as it was held by a teacher, not fair , were not participative in the game.
5.     In the 6 year age group 60% did not share fairly and equally, 30% shared fairly and equally and 10% threw a tantrum when asked to share- this is with the puppet
6.     In the 6 year age group 62% did not share fairly and equally, 28% shared fairly and equally on seeing the teacher standing there, and 10% had conflicts, cried, walked away, threw the prize etc.- this is when they played with children and had teacher standing.
7.     In the 6 year age group 68% did not share fairly and equally, 10% shared fairly and equally, 17% shared fairly and equally after mother intervention, and 5% had conflicts, cried, walked away, threw the prize etc. -  this is when they played with children and had mother standing.
8.      In the 7 year age group 65% did not share fairly and equally, 20% shared fairly and equally and 15% threw a tantrum when asked to share- this is with the puppet
9.     In the 7 year age group  71% did not share fairly and equally, 27% shared fairly and equally on seeing the teacher standing there, and 2% had conflicts, cried, walked away, threw the prize etc.- this is when they played with children and had teacher standing.
10.  In the 7 year age group 88% did not share fairly and equally, 5% shared fairly and equally, 7% shared fairly and equally after mother intervention- this is when they played with children and had mother standing.
We want to share this study with all parents, teachers and adults that work with young children so that precious human traits like fairness do not disappear because of lack of knowledge or understanding of how kids learn and why kids fail to share and be fair. As adults who work with young children we teachers and parents must realize our responsibility and preserve these important human traits so that our children grow up in a just and fair society build by them. Our study was featured in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, here is the link - http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31804&articlexml=Natural-for-kids-to-share-but-adults-ruin-24102014007048



54 comments:

Sonali Karmakar said...

Yet another very interesting blog Swati ma'am... I totally agree with you as even we had conducted the same experiment at our centre... Kids not only enjoyed doing the experiment but willingly gave their share too... Sharing behavior was already present in these kids, age group 4 to 5 years..

shilpa said...

Sharing concept if thought as early as per their age these children learn to wait for their turn also have good understanding. we can see the pecentage in the article it is true we have such experience .

Jumbo kids Chakan II said...
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Jumbo kids Chakan II said...

A very interesting blog shared by Ma'am. As a part of educational field, we all must share this study with parents and teachers that works with little ones so that the fairness do not disappears. As an adult, we should take up the responsibility to preserve these human traits so that our children grow up in fair society.

PJK Koradi said...

Thank you so much ma'am, for sharing yet another knowledgeable blog. Surely we must share this survey with parents and teachers so that we can preserve these fairness and sharing behavior in kids.

Jumbo Kids, Chakan said...

I have personally experienced in my family and observed a 5 year little girl who was not ready to share toys with her 1.5 year old cousin brother.Whichever toy he use to take she use to snatch the toy from him.When her mother told to give one toy to the cousin and she will buy a new toy for her,that time the little girl immediately gave the toy to her cousin.This is how we have grooomed our children to be selfish and it is very true that children learn by immitation.As adults we need to understand how kids learn from us and there is a great impact of parents and teachers on shaping the social personalities of our young children.

Kalpana Mahalwar said...

Sharing and waiting for the turn needs to be addressed at a very early age so that when children grow, they are able to accept the rules and norms required by society.This even we have observed in our class and we have observed the happiness of sharing on their faces and it helps in their emotional development.This can be further developed by making them participate more in imaginative and creative games

Snehal Pjk said...

Although each young child is unique, all have the same needs—acceptance, approval and a sense of belonging .So it’s very important that we as an adult need to work with kids and behave in same manner if we want our kids to grow in fair society .

Amravati Pjk said...

Thank you once again Ma'am for sharing and realizing us regarding sharing and caring behavior in kids.

jayshree shah said...

A very informative blog about sharing in children as i was very eager to read that age group in between 2 to 3 years had highest percentage of sharing . Children truly learn through imitation.Let's strive to preserve these human traits so that children grow up in fair soceity.

namrata singh said...

Thank you Swati Ma'am for sharing such a wonderful article with us.We had already done this at the center.We found that sharing behaviour was already present in the kids.

Pjk Baroda said...

Though many personality traits are innate, conditioning plays a very important part and 'survival of the fittest tendency over rules. Hence it is the responsibility of care givers like us, to nurture and guide those in our care with positive re-reinforcements. Sharing and self-regulation are skills which we develop in our students through our Free Play Learning Center at Podar Jumbo Kids. Ma'am we thank you for being a fore-runner and providing our students with Kiducation - the perfect pedagogy to enhance their life skills.

Beed PjkBeed said...

once when I was there in level 1 classroom I observed few children were happily shared their toys that time I was wondered to know how these age group children can have such kind of sharing behavior... where we used to say about this age group comes under solitary play........and here with this article I came to know inborn sharing behavior is already there in young age group children and as an adult our responsibility is how we can cultivate this quality in children so that they will grow as a fair human being in society.

Kamakshi Iyer said...

A very informative blog shared by Ma'am. We should personally experiment at home with our kids.
We also should really share this blog with our teachers and parents and workout for the unfairness done with our children.

PJK Vadgaon said...

Thank you Swati Ma'am for sharing such a wonderful article. We must realize our responsibility as a teachers and parents and preserve these important human traits so that our children grow up in a just and fair society build by them.

Pjk Jamnagar said...
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Pjk Jamnagar said...

Very interesting blog ma'am as now a days people live in nuclear family and only one kids slowly this sharing habits are getting deteriorated this survey will be eye opener for we adults and help us to develop and retain this moral value of sharing in our coming generation.

Pjk Bengaluru CBSE said...

It is an eye-opener for all who are involved in grooming the gennext. These days, the children are taught to be possessive and selfish at a very young age, which is making them grow to be inhuman or unjust, so let us wake up and imbibe the quality of caring and sharing among young children.

Bhosari Pjk said...

Yet another very interesting blog shared by ma'am with us & know it's our duty to share this with our parents & teachers so that,we all can work towards the unfairness done with our kids.Let's also strive to preserve these human traits so that our children grow up in fair environment.

Ankita Suchak said...

Thank you ma`am for sharing an interesting article once again.It is true that as kids grow sharing capacity reduces & they learn from the adults in their surrounding.So we adults must work on it as we make impact on our kids.

Pjk Belgaum said...

'Sharing is caring',as said we as parents as well as educators must inculcate the habit of sharing the things in our children at early stages which will help them not to be selfish and to grow up in a just and fair society.

Aur.harsultpoint Pjk said...

We learnt from this blog that how important is pro-social behaviour.This can be taught to kids in a best way when they are with their friends.One more important point is to ask kids to talk what is in their mind and also about their feelings.These 2 things will somewhere develop the childs social and emotinal competence.
Rachana Jagtap
HM PJK T-POINT
Aurangabad.

Uma Wagh PJK Jalgaon said...

Ma'am really good article.Ma'am please suggest few games to inculcate sharing & fairness.

Jumbo Kids Nanded said...

Learning to care for or share with others can be difficult for young children because they are so focused on themselves. But, thinking about others—their feelings and their needs—is a critical social skill. Very young children know when someone is unhappy or hurt, but they need guidance to learn how to help and share things with others which is our responsibility to develop these skills among them. I thanks Respected Swati mam to share interesting blog with us.

Pimpri Standalone PJK OWN said...

Thank you Maam for sharing this wonderful survey and observation
As parents,teachers should understand the fact very well that
young children learn by imitation.

kamal said...

A very informative article shared. As parents, teachers specially as mothers it are very important to inculcate social skills like sharing, waiting for their turn in young children. In turn which will help them to grow to be a fair individual rather to grow up being selfish?

pjkparbhani said...

With school age children, many activities take the form of games. “Freeze dancing,” for example, teaches youngsters self control over their bodies and their impulses. “Show and tell” allows children to take turns and develop communication skills. Children and adults can learn the art of “small talk” and chatting while sharing a small meal –another social skill. Board games or other group projects bring participants together to practice skills such as problem-solving, cooperation, and compromise. Role-plays are also key in teaching social skills to children, adolescents, and young adults. This technique and other approaches offer opportunities to practice and learn appropriate greetings, giving of compliments, and showing empathy.

PJK Vadgaonsheri 2 said...

It is yet another very thoughtful blog.As an adult we really need to take up this responsibility to inculcate such values in children so that our children grow up in a very fair atmosphere and they are always eager to share with others.
Thank you maa'm for sharing such a beautiful blog with us.

Abhaya K- PJK Bangalore-1 said...

Even though we teachers encourage our children to share along with others, when they grow,mostly they imitate their parents in amassing the things precious for them which should not be encouraged.

Abhaya K- PJK Bangalore-1 said...
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Abhaya K- PJK Bangalore-1 said...
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Shimoga Pjk said...

It is observed that as and when the child grows, habit of sharing is slowly coming down and children tend to become possessive and selfish.Hence it is a need of the hour to imbibe the qualities of sharing and caring.

Mysore Pjk said...

Thank you Ma'am .This will remind our duty of developing social skill like sharing and caring in children.Parents also should be aware of the importance of cultivating the same skill in kids.

Snehal N said...

Ms. Vijayshree said - In Jumbo Kids we had done puppet show on Parsi New Year ' Learn share & care.'Kids shared this story with their parents. Parents, teachers have very important place in children's life. children imitate us.As a mature people we must take up the responsibility to preserve these human traits so that our kids will grow up in fair society.

Sapna Belliappa said...

Thanks for sharing such an interesting blog Ma'am, with changing times joint families have reduced to nuclear families ,in turn making the children as well as adults,selfish.As educationist let us do our part and imbibe the quality of sharing and caring among our generation next.

Uma Nagdeo said...

Sharing teaches children about compromise. they learn that if we give a little to others, we can get some of what we want as well. children who share also learn how to take turns and negotiate, and how to cope with disappointment.
A very informative article we must educate teachers and parents to develop such social skills in children.

Veena Sangli said...

Thank you Ma'am for sharing such a interesting blog.The quality which is already present inborn child and how we as an adult groom them to become selfish.As a parents, teachers and adult we must preserve these human trait to bring up kids in social skill.

Pjk Ujjain said...

Fairness and equality is inborn in children, its our part as educators and parents to maintain those qualities in them for lifetime.

Ms Vaishali Chaudhary(PJK Chinchwad) said...

Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful blog. As sharing and waiting for their turn- traits are present in child right from his birth. Now, it is the responsibility of teachers and parents to preserve this precious qualities in children.

Podar Jumbo Kids Nandurbar said...

Thank you Ma'am for sharing such a interesting article with us. It helps us to inculcate the habit of sharing among Children.

Jumbo Kids Akola said...

This blog is very helpful to us as an educationist, teacher and as a parent.Today we see even at home own brothers and sisters are not willing to share there things and we adults are somewhere responsible for this. Firstly this is a learning for us which is very important, to inculcate the habit of sharing and caring in kids which will help in enhancing the child to grow up in fair society.

Pjk Gwalior said...

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ― Mother Teresa.
Thank You ma'am once again to spot light on the precious human behavior of sharing and behavior changes seen in the children as they grow are due to adults/parents/teachers.Through this experiment its has been highlighted that fairness and sharing or equality is innate and is part of our emerging socio-emotional skills.

PJK,Nigdi said...

Thank you ma'am.Thank you for the wonderful article.we should be the example for children.they are imitating us.

Jumbo Kids Pimpri said...

Thank you ma'am for sharing this blog.We as teachers and parents only have to motivate and enhance these qualities of the children. They are already present in the kids right from their birth.

Aparna PJK Chinchwad-2 said...

Thank you Ma'am for sharing such a thoughtful blog. As the qualities of sharing and caring are present in the child from birth, we as adults should take this responsibility of inculcating the habit of sharing in our children.
As it is always said:"Sharing is Caring"

Tanvi Mody said...

I Ms. Tanvi Modi teacher of PJK Plus Vile Parle thank you for sharing this blog. We had done this experiment at our centre with our Level 2 children and I observed that kids at this age have sharing skill in them, They were willingly sharing their intensive with their partners.

Tanvi Mody said...
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naushin sayed said...

I Mrs Naushin Sayed teacher of PJK Plus Vile Parle thank you for sharing this blog ma'am.As this experiment was conducted at PJK Plus Vile Parle and I have observed that kids had the sharing behavior in them and have the quality of sharing and treating others equally as kids learn by copying others.

naushin sayed said...

I Mrs Naushin Sayed teacher of PJK Plus Vile Parle thank you for sharing this blog ma'am.As this experiment was conducted at PJK Plus Vile Parle and I have observed that kids have seen that kids had the sharing behavior in them and they have the quality of sharing and treating others equally as kids learn by copying others.

Jumbo Kids Kharghar said...

Thank you Swati Ma'am for focusing such an interesting trait in human being, which normally goes unnoticed. We have done this experiment in our centre also and found that younger the kids, fairer they are.
World will be such a nice place to live if we work hard to keep this inborn trait alive on us.

Mentor Sarina said...

Some traits and habits can be cultivated in the early years which needs to be nurtured to a habit by not getting influenced by adults.

Jumbo Kids Nashik said...

Thank you ma'am for sharing this informative article.

Jumbo Kids Nashik said...

Thank you ma'am for sharing this informative article.

Bhusawal PJK said...

We as educators should take the responsibility to inculcate the habit of sharing & fairness to develop better socio-emotional skills in young children.