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N 4 (25) 2020
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Psychological sciences
RESEARCH OF FEATURES OF DEVELOPMENT OF COGNITIVE PROCESSES OF PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN OF GENERATION Z

Sorokoumova El. Al., Borisova Ma. An.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21626/j-chr/2020-1(22)/5
UDK: 159.922.7
BBK: 88.411-51
Article received: 18.02.2020
Article accepted for print: 30.03.2020
trans.date_of_release: 30.03.2020
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The article discusses the distinctive features of generation Z, and describes the specifics of its cognitive processes. The results of an experimental study of the development of cognitive processes in primary school children of generation Z in the conditions of a specially developed psychological and pedagogical program are presented.

Keywords:

generation theory, generation Z, virtual reality, digital technologies, Internet space, development of cognitive processes, digital generation, psychological and pedagogical program.

According to the generational theory, which was developed by Neil Howe and William Strauss, today's primary school students belong to generation Z or the so-called digital generation. Generation Z – children were born after the year 2000. Generally, people of generation Z are seen as children of parents from generation X, and sometimes generation Y. What these two previous generations called "future technologies" is the present for generation Z. This is the main distinctive feature of the generation: children of generation Z are included in the digital environment from an early age, which affect the features of their development [5].

The formation of the information society has significantly influenced the socialization of new generations. The Erasure of spatial and temporal boundaries and the existence in the digital environment became a characteristic feature of the formation of children's worldview from their infancy. American child psychologist Sherry Postnick-Goodwin, describing the children of generation Z, notes that for representatives of this generation, communication on the Internet by means of text messages and video calls is preferable to live communication. It is not uncommon to communicate with friends that they have never seen and will not see outside of the Internet space. Children of this generation don’t like to take walks and do it very rarely (if someone older would organize their entertainment). Representatives of generation Z have never seen reality without terrorism and high technology: they do not imagine themselves without a mobile phone, they prefer a computer to a library and are focused on achieving immediate results. The difficult economic situation has also had an impact on children of generation Z: most of them grow up faster by doing self-education on the Internet, and feel much older than their real age. For example, the average age of children playing with a Barbie-doll fell from 10 to 3 years. The main goal in life for a representative of generation Z is to become successful [1].

The development of the Internet and digital technologies has determined the features of children’s cognitive development, influenced the process of becoming a person. Modern children spend much more time in virtual reality of the Internet space and computer games than in direct communication with their parents and coevals. These processes are implemented according to the leading activity of each age-related development period. For example, if game activity is the leading activity in preschool age, children of generation Z watch cartoons and play online-games on the Internet. With the transition to the next stage of age-related development, game activity changes to educational activities, which are also implemented by means of the Internet.

Children of generation Z are connected to each other by means of the Internet, YouTube, TikTok, online platforms for communication such as Zoom and Skype. The specifics of virtual life and interaction with the surrounding world through virtual communication determine the psychological characteristics of representatives of generation Z. Modern children and teenagers, who are used to apply the technological nature of interaction, prefer it to real communication. They are much better versed in technology and material things than in the behavior and emotions of another person. As a result, the nature of communication between the child and the parent changes – there is an increase in the communication distance, parents lose their authority for their children (the role of authority begins to play the Internet, where there are all answers to all questions).

According to a number of researchers, there is a process of forming a prefigurative society at present: the society in which the life models of the new (young) generation are so different from the life models of elder generation that the elder generation can’t pass on to its descendants almost anything useful and significant for life. A distinctive feature of this model of society is, on the contrary, the transfer of knowledge from the young generation to the elder generation [4, p. 197]. Thus, in fact, the authority of the elder generation is being undermined.

The main distinctive feature of generation Z representatives is the clip thinking, which is understood as the ability to briefly and colorfully perceive the surrounding reality through a short and bright message (video clip, news clip, music video, etc.). The clip format assumes the placement of a compressed amount of information in a short film, the duration of which is from a few seconds to several minutes. The content can be either a small event or a series of events presented by cutting frames with information about the significant moments of the described event (history): it includes beginning, culmination, result. Time in the clip is broken, fragmentary, and differs from real time in a number of characteristics [3, p. 4].

The advantages of clip thinking include the development of some cognitive skills through others, the development of the ability to multitask. Larry Rosen notes that this phenomenon, inherent in generation Z, is expressed in the child's ability to do several things at once (for example, communicate in a messenger, listen to music, edit images, while doing homework). However, the result of such multitasking is distraction, attention deficit, hyperactivity, preference for visual symbols for in-depth study of textual information and building logical connections. Thus, modern children and adolescents are less inclined to persevering and purposeful activity, but, on the other hand, they become more labile; the switching between tasks becomes easier and faster for them; the formation of their brain structures occurs in conditions of a high degree of "distraction" [4, p. 198].

Children of generation Z, having unlimited access to information, have the opportunity to search for it and get it for any question they are interested in: thus, in order to get an answer to their question, they should click just a few buttons. This accessibility and ease of search negatively affects the development of children’s ability to make independent discoveries: they become more erudite, but, at the same time, they are not able to draw some conclusions and invent something new. This conflict of information and knowledge is increasingly manifested in educational activities: pupils, who are used to apply clip mode of working with information, almost lose the ability to concentrate, have a weak imagination, a low level of reflection, and a reduced ability to understand and understand each other [1]. Children of generation Z are unable to build problematic communication; they do not realize the value of live communication. The teacher, as well as the parent, loses its authority for the child. The teacher's role and attitude become incomprehensible to modern children, because to have information ready is much easier and simpler for them (in the Internet space is much more informational material than the teacher knows, and getting it online can be much faster). Receiving a large amount of information from various sources, pupils lose the ability to distinguish and formulate their own opinion: in most cases, they are only able to reproduce the information received earlier, without realizing its truth or falsity about their own [3, p.6].

The Internet has a negative impact not only on the development of theoretical thinking, but also on the formation of project thinking of modern pupils. Due to the use of computer technologies, the illusion of being able to penetrate any space and perform any actions in it is created: in fact, the user is able to see information only within the space limited by its Creator, and all actions performed by it are already calculated and prescribed by the developers [2]. Thus, the action in the virtual space follows a pre-calculated scenario (there may be several variants), and it is impossible to go beyond it. This creates the illusion of activity: the user believes that he is making decisions, although, in fact, the entire chain of decisions has been made and calculated for him.

Pupils, who are used to carrying out such "activities", experience significant difficulties when they find themselves in a situation where they are required to act independently and make independent decisions: to set a goal, to search for means to achieve it, to interact with other participants in the activity, to design their actions, to implement them independently, etc. Teachers note that every year it becomes more and more difficult to train pupils in project activities [1].

Representatives of generation Z differ not only in the specifics of the way of thinking, but also in the specifics of attention. Attention is the selective orientation of human consciousness to certain objects or phenomena. According to the results of research by foreign scientists, the stability and concentration of attention in generation Z children is ten times lower than it was in previous generations. However, attention distribution and attention switching are well developed [4, p. 199]. Teachers should consider this pattern when they are working with modern pupils.

The memory of representatives of generation Z, modern school children, has its own distinctive features. Thus, short-term memory is much more developed than long-term memory: students use short-term memory to store small amounts of information. For modern school children, who have constant and fast access to the Internet, it makes no sense to save and transfer any information from short-term memory to long-term storage: the necessary information can be found again on the Internet.

It is worth noting that the changes are also observed in the structure of mnemonic processes of modern pupils, who remember not the content, but the location of any information. In addition to the structure, the intensity of mnemonic processes also changes: what you used to have to remember (birthdays, phone numbers, addresses, etc.) is now recorded, and therefore their memorization does not make sense [1].

The perception of generation Z also is very different from the perception of other generations: spending a lot of time in virtual reality in front of screens, phones, tablets and computers, today's children receive a certain deprivation, deprived of the touch signal related to the knowledge of the world (touch, smell, tactile sensations, etc.) [4, p. 200].

THE PURPOSE AND THE HYPOTHESIS OF THE STUDY

We conducted an empirical study, the purpose of which is to study the features of the development of cognitive processes in primary school children. In addition, it was important to determine the psychological and pedagogical conditions for the development of cognitive processes of the children of the digital generation.

Previously, a hypothesis was put forward that the effectiveness of the development of cognitive processes of children of generation Z can be contribute by specially created psycho-pedagogical conditions of this development. The productivity of implementation of psychological and pedagogical conditions contributes to the introduction into practice of the program of development of cognitive processes of younger schoolchildren.

ORGANIZATION AND THE METHODS OF RESEARCH

The experimental study was carried out on the basis of SBEI (State Budgetary Educational Institution) School №2073. It was attended by children of primary school (3rd grade pupils) in the number of 60. The age of the respondents ranged from 9 to 10 years. All pupils participating in the study were divided into two groups: a control group (CG) (30 primary school pupils) and an experimental group (EG) (30 primary school pupils) were formed.

The experimental study of the development of cognitive processes was carried out in several stages.

During the first stage of the experimental study (the ascertaining stage), there was a study of the initial level of development of cognitive processes of children of generation Z (primary school age) in both groups (experimental and control groups).

During the second stage (the formative stage), a psychological and pedagogical program was made to develop the cognitive processes of children of the digital generation (primary school age), followed by its testing in the experimental group.

The third stage (control stage) provided for evaluating the effectiveness of the developed program by conducting control diagnostics of the participants in the control and experimental groups, followed by comparing the results obtained.

In accordance with the hypothesis of the study, for studying of features of development of cognitive processes of primary school pupils (children of generation Z) was chosen following methods: the method of "blank" (P. Ya. Galperin) [5, p. 39], the technique of "analysis of the stability of attention" (T. G. Bogdanova, T. V. Kornilova) [5, p. 40], the method "determination of the amount of long-term memory" (G. I. Vergeles, L. A. Matveeva, A. I. Raev) [5, p. 43], the method of "Simple analogies" (L. I. Perelini, E. M. Mastukova, L. F. Chuprov) [5, p. 47], the technique of "making a story" (L. I. Perelini, E. M. Mastukova, L. F. Chuprov) [5, p. 48].

Generalized indicators of the development of cognitive processes in primary school children of the control and experimental groups, before the beginning of the formative experiment, are presented in Table 1 (see Table 1). Diagnostics of the development of cognitive processes of younger generation Z, aimed at clarifying the features of the development of attention, memory, thinking and imagination, confirmed the theoretical information that children of the digital generation have somewhat averaged these indicators and there is a tendency to decrease them. The data obtained also confirmed the feasibility of organizing and conducting targeted work to improve these indicators.

Based on the data obtained at the ascertaining stage, the program was developed. This program was tested at the formative stage. From the children of the two groups (control and experimental) that took part in the study, only the children of the experimental group attended classes according to the program. The goal of the program is to develop the cognitive processes of primary school children of generation Z.

The program objectives are:

1. Creating conditions that promote the development of cognitive processes in primary school pupils;

2. Development of memory of primary school pupils, including its volume, accuracy, mobilization readiness, as well as confidence in the correct memorization and reproduction of information;

3. The development of thinking skills: ability to establish logical connections, draw conclusions, formulate conclusions;

4. Developing the imagination of primary school children;

5. Creating conditions for increasing the level of intellectual development.

 

Table 1

Generalized indicators of the development of cognitive processes at the ascertaining stage of experimental work

Group

 

 

Attention

Attention stability

Long-term memory capacity

Logical and flexible thinking

Imagination

H

M

L

H

M

L

H

M

L

H

UM

M

L

H

M

L

 

CG

quantity

-

21

9

-

8

22

_

16

14

-

1

22

7

-

22

8

 

%%

-

70

30

-

27

73

_

53

47

-

3

73

24

-

73

27

 

EG

quantity

-

22

8

-

5

25

-

16

14

-

-

10

20

-

21

9

 

%%

-

73

27

-

17

83

-

53

47

-

-

33

67

-

70

30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The developed program is generated for 30 academic hours, 20 hours of which are allocated for classroom classes (are held in rooms equipped with tables, chairs and a blackboard) and 10 hours of which are allocated for extracurricular classes (are held in the form of competitions or psycho gymnastics). The program is held in a group form with the participation of subgroups of 6-10 children. The frequency of classes is 1 time per week. The duration of the lesson is 40 minutes.

THE RESULTS AND ITS DISCUSSION

During the program, pupils demonstrated their interest on the lesson and showed their desire to improve the indicators of the development of cognitive processes. The control diagnostics performed at the end of the program confirmed its effectiveness.

The data presented in Table 2 indicate that during the formative stage that the level of development of cognitive processes of children of the experimental group significantly increased. Generalized indicators of the development of cognitive processes in primary school children of the control and experimental groups after the implementation of the program for the development of cognitive processes are presented in Table 2 (see table 2).

The data presented in Table 2 indicate that during the formative stage, the level of development of mental processes of children of the experimental group significantly increased.

 

Table 2

Generalized indicators of the development of cognitive processes at the control stage of experimental work

Group

 

Attention

Attention stability

Long-term memory capacity

Logical and flexible thinking

Imagination

H

M

L

H

M

L

H

M

L

H

UM

M

L

HG

H

M

L

CG

quantity

-

22

8

-

12

18

-

19

11

-

1

24

5

-

-

25

5

%

-

73

27

-

40

60

-

63

37

-

3

80

17

-

-

83

17

EG

quantity

8

22

 

-

6

24

-

12

18

5

15

10

-

1

16

13

-

%

27

73

 

-

20

80

-

40

60

17

50

33

-

3

53

44

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thus, the hypothesis that the effectiveness of the development of cognitive processes of children of generation Z can be contribute by specially created psycho-pedagogical conditions of this development has been confirmed.

The development of cognitive processes of primary school pupils with the help of a psychological and pedagogical program arouses the pupil’s interest and desire to participate. In our opinion, the use of the program aimed at developing cognitive processes of children of generation Z contributes to the formation of cognitive processes, improving educational motivation, and expanding the horizons of primary school pupils. Improving these indicators helps them feel themselves more successful, which is very important nowadays.

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Sorokoumova El. Al.

CEA51@mail.ru 127051, Moscow, Maly Sukharevsky Pereulok, 6.

Borisova Ma. An.

108830, Moscow, township LMS, district "Central" 34, building 3