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The Psychology of Interpersonal Relationships Essay

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Updated: Feb 25th, 2022

Introduction

The educational environment should aim at a significant transformation towards enhanced cultural and religious pluralization. An individual’s sense of self emanates from one’s membership of social categories, including religion (Dixon, 2014). Religion also impacts the development of attitudes that starts at an early stage when humans are socialized into particular attitudes (Hagan, 2014). The emergence of an integrated high school in a town that has previously had single faith high schools might pose critical challenges regarding the development and management of religious-based conflicts among the students.

Guidance from School’s Educational Psychologist

Psychology plays a pivotal role in finding the proper solution to religious-based conflict management. According to Dixon, Capdevila, and Briggs (2014), it provides the orienting framework for examining the intergroup conflict, and the social and cultural contexts wherein development. The deepened understanding of the relationship between social identities and intergroup emotions is a fundamental challenge in helping behavior that might eliminate the conflict (Manning and Levine, 2014). The conflict arising from religious differences might jeopardize the general educational experience of the students and is, therefore, an important concern to address.

Suggestion 1: Finding a balance between the tasks and social-emotional concerns

The integrated educational environment promotes social influence that directly affects the students’ attitudes and behavior through the presence of other people. Watts and McDermott (2014, p. 263) emphasize the importance of integrative strategies for dealing with conflict defined by Canary and Cupach that involve the “pursuit of common ground, expressing trust, and seeking to satisfy the interests of both parties.” The group of students and their religious communities can be perceived as the minorities that are defined by Moscovici as the “main engines of social change” (Gibson, 2014, p. 50). Moscovici argued that a will to avoid conflict is at the core of the minority influence effect. Bales states that disagreements and conflicting values can facilitate tensions that will prevent the group from achieving its goal. Moreover, Bales’ phase model and interaction process analysis (IPA) implies that the group should focus on interpersonal relations and goal-directed behaviour to deal with the conflicts (Capdevila, 2014). Therefore, it is crucial to balance task-oriented concerns with social-emotional concerns within the learning environment and tend towards equilibrium to reduce the possible disagreements on the religious ground.

Suggestion 2: Supportive environment and group cohesiveness

One of the solutions to dealing with the conflicts among the students refers to the Tuckman and Jensen’s stage model of group development. According to the model, the intragroup conflict emerges during the storming stage, when individuals feel more “comfortable and start “question authority, express their individuality, and resist control” (Capdevila, 2014, p. 99). However, the key task for the group of students is to strive for the development of group cohesion and maintaining unity. This represents a norming stage, when individuals accept each other, act harmoniously, and accept the implicit and explicit rules of behaviour appropriate to the group. Two final stages, performing and adjourning, are the most critical as they define the group’s ability to solve the conflict. Thus, the essential guidelines for the students, as well as the educators, involve creating a supportive and tolerant environment, developing task-oriented energy, and ultimately accepting accept the anticipated change in personal relationships.

Conclusion

The modern school settings serve as the diverse environment that integrates students of different cultural background and various religious beliefs. The sub-discipline of social psychology helps explain the relationship between the individual (student) and the social (diverse religious background and in-class relationships). The enhanced understanding of the psychological and social reasons for the conflict helps define the proper solutions to avoid disagreement and create a positive school environment.

Reference List

Capdevila, R. (2014) ‘Are you with us or against us? Group processes and decision making’, in Capdevila, R., Dixon, J., and Briggs, G. (eds.) Investigating Psychology 2: From social to cognitive, Volume 1. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, pp. 85–123.

Dixon, J. (2014) ‘Why don’t we like one another? The psychology of prejudice and intergroup relations’, in Capdevila, R., Dixon, J., and Briggs, G. (eds.) Investigating Psychology 2: From social to cognitive, Volume 1. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, pp. 133–178.

Dixon, J., Capdevila, R., and Briggs, G. (2014) ‘Investigating psychology: an integrative approach’, in Capdevila, R., Dixon, J., and Briggs, G. (eds.) Investigating Psychology 2: From social to cognitive, Volume 1. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, pp. 1–36.

Gibson, S. (2014) ‘Why do good people do bad things? The psychology of social influence’, in Capdevila, R., Dixon, J., and Briggs, G. (eds.) Investigating Psychology 2: From social to cognitive, Volume 1. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, pp. 41–76.

Hagan, K. (2014) ‘How do you feel about that? The psychology of attitudes’, in Capdevila, R., Dixon, J., and Briggs, G. (eds.) Investigating Psychology 2: From social to cognitive, Volume 1. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, pp. 285–324.

Manning, R., and Levine, M. (2014) ‘Why do we help one another? Helping, altruism and prosocial behaviour’, in Capdevila, R., Dixon, J., and Briggs, G. (eds.) Investigating Psychology 2: From social to cognitive, Volume 1. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, pp. 187–222.

Watts, S., and McDermott, V. (2014) ‘Why would I hang around with you? The psychology of personal relationships’, in Capdevila, R., Dixon, J., and Briggs, G. (eds.) Investigating Psychology 2: From social to cognitive, Volume 1. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, pp. 231–271.

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