Discuss The Role Of Intra And Interpersonal And Societal Factors

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According to Louw and Louw (2007), "the period from approximately the sixth to the twelfth year of life is generally known as middle childhood. It is a period of relative calm and stability, considering the rapid development in the earlier preschool period and later adolescent years" (214). I'm going to discuss the intra- and interpersonal and societal factors with regard to academic progress during the middle childhood years.


According to Merriam Webster's Medical Dictionary (2007) "intrapersonal factors occurs within the individual's mind or self".


Intrapersonal factors concern the things that are important to the individual, for example if school work is important to the child, he or she will rise above their circumstances and perform well in school. Achievement motivation is a degree to which a person chooses to keep on trying to accomplish challenging tasks and how they engage in these tasks (Cook & Cook, 2005). According to Louw & Louw (2007): "Children's achievement involves a complex interaction between their beliefs (e.g. about why they do or do not achieve), their values (e.g. the importance and benefits of achieving) and their psychological goals" (p.223).

The following are characteristics of children who are successful:

They develop a master orientation, which are the tendency to attribute their success to internal and controllable factors which includes their ability to work hard and to control failure or changeable factors such as strategy, effort or task difficulty.

These children tend to hold an increasable view of ability which is the belief that they can improve their ability.

They also focus on learning goals which mean that their primary goal is to learn new things so that they can improve certain abilities. (Louw & Louw (2007))

On the other hand, these are the characteristics of children who are successful:

They tend to develop helpless orientation which according to Louw and Louw (2007) is: "the tendency to attribute success to external and uncontrollable factors such as luck and to attribute failure to internal and stable factors such as lack of ability". (224)

They also tend to hold a strong belief that the view of ability is that the ability is fixed and uncontrollable. Challenging tasks are avoided by these children and they stop trying when a task is to difficult, because they don't want to be constantly reminded of their lack of ability. As children age, they begin to see ability as a fixed trait and they don't try to improve it in any way, they just accept it.

These children typically start focusing on performance goals which means that they do tasks in which they will excel. As children constantly focus on the performance goals, other goals causes a negative cycle, where children start avoiding the situations that help them develop new and important skills.

(Louw & Louw (2007))

My own personal experience with regards to intrapersonal factors, substantiated by the information above: this year I studied hard for my LARM 211 class test and I did very well in that test so it motivated me to study harder for my semester test, where as when I do bad in a test I don't have the motivation to start studying for that subject again, because it feels harder to achieve my personal goals in that subject.


Dictionary.com Unabridged defines interpersonal factors as relationships and events occurring between persons.


Wolfe (1982) states that, "If the net contribution of each sibling to training is negative, then intelligence will tend to decline with family size" (p. 215). Which means that the relative size of the family and the birth order of the child within the family have a measurable impact on academic performance. (Stoker, C. (2009))

On the other hand, Boyd and Bee (2006) concentrates on the social aspects of family relationships, rather than on enumeration and family composition, as one of the most important influences in childhood development. At age 4 the child realizes that the relationship with his family exists even when they are not present. When this social construct is in place the child becomes more independent. The extent to which the child feels safe away from his/her parents is arbitrated by four family related indicators as: 1) warmth or nurturance 2) clarity and consistency of rules 3) level of expectation or maturity demands 4) communication between parent and child (Boyd & Bee, 2006).

Different parenting styles also affect a child's motivation. Different parenting styles:

Authoritative parents: this type of parents are warm and exert from control, their children are generally curious, interested in learning and higher achievers.

Authoritarian parents: these types of parents exert firm control and are rejecting or unresponsive towards their children, their children are generally under achievers.

Permissive parents: these types of parents are uninvolved and do not seem to care how their children do in school, their children are generally under achievers.

(Louw & Louw (2007))


Dictionary.com Unabridged defines societal factors as factors that relate to larger social and other groups, or to normal or sport activities, customs, habits etc.


Peer groups:

A peer group is a collection of children with a unique set of values and goals. A peer group is nearly as influential as family members during the middle childhood.

As children get older, their peers have an increasingly important impact on their everyday life, they influence matters such as: social behavior, activities and how these children dress. Within peer group children will be able to learn three thins, whether they learn these things are up to them:

They learn to accept and work with and from different points of view.

They learn to recognize and prioritize the norms and the demands of the peer group.

Children learn that they have a lot in common with someone of the same sex.

Peer groups encourage cooperation and leadership. In most middle aged children peer groups, social dominance and order occur among the group participants.

(Leanne Charlesworth, Jim Wood, and Pamela Viggiani, (2007))

Friendship and intimacy:

Throughout middle childhood children learn to look at things from different perspectives, obtained by their friends, family etc, and so their ability to develop more complex friendships increases. This complex friendships is based on the awareness of others feelings, needs and thoughts.

Close friendship atain understanding and enhance trust and mutual respect. As children get older friendships get more psychologically than behaviorally based, which means friendships entail mutual trust and assistance. School - age children's friendship is based on emotional support and common interest and activities.

(Leanne Charlesworth, Jim Wood, and Pamela Viggiani, (2007))

Socio - economic status:

Socio - economic status has an influence on the quality of schooling, the atmosphere in the house and between family members and also the choice of neighborhood and the attitudes in this neighborhood and all these factors mentioned will affect a child's motivation.

(Louw & Louw (2007)

School contributions:

Classroom climate:

According to Louw and Louw (2007): "Classroom climate reflects the general attitudes, social and emotional responses and perceptions of the individuals in class" (227).

School climate and structure:

A schools primary goal is to improve children's learning, but a lot of schools is structured in such a manner that they focus on performance goals rather than learning goals and this type of climate and culture may influence a child's and teachers beliefs, goals, attitudes and behaviors and this can affect them negatively in the future.

Educational policy:

The educational policy will have a direct or indirect effect on the child's motivation and his or hers learning experience which will have an impact on his or her academic progress.

(Louw & Louw (2007))

Electronic media:

The following development in visual intelligence are noted:

Spatial skills, which refers to mental rotation and spatial visualization skills.

Iconic skills which is the ability to read images.

Visual attention which is the ability to keep track of different things at the same time.

(Louw & Louw (2007))



Louw A & Louw D. (2007). Child and Adolescent Development. Bloemfontein: University of the Free State.

Intrapersonal. (n.d.) Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. Retrieved on April, 15, 2011. From: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/intrapersonal

Cool, J. L., & Cook, G. (2005). Child development. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Wolfe, J.R. (1982). The impact of family resources on childhood IQ. Journal of Human Resources, 17(2), 213-235. Retrieved April, 15, 2011, from EBSCOHost Database.

Stoker, C. (2009). Childhood Developmental Stages Retrieved on April, 15, 2011 from: http://stokercg2913.blogspot.com/2009/10/childhood-developmental-stages.html

Boyd, D. and Bee, H. (2006). Lifespan development (4th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.

Interpersonal. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved on April, 15, 2011 from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/interpersonal

Societal. (n.d). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved on April, 18, 2011 from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/societal

Leanne Charlesworth, Jim Wood, and Pamela Viggiani. (2007). The changing life course. Retrieved on April, 18, 2011 from:

http:// sagepub.com/upm_data16297_chapter5.pdf