A student who has recently left the school walls becomes a student. The adaptation of the student will depend on his or her further development, the personal and scientific achievements of both as a person and as a future specialist.
The process of adaptation of the students in a group and in a new educational institution is the most important problem that needs to be resolved as soon as possible and, preferably, with a positive outcome. The formation of the group plays a great role in anyone’s social adaptation: the faster it is formed, the sooner the students will master their new role.
At the moment of social and psychological adaptation, students undergo a radical change in activity and environment, their internal settings undergo some strong changes. Students begin to perceive themselves and others in another way because of the reorientation of values, the development of new social roles. The internal potential is transformed through the adaptation of mechanisms in the process of communication, self-studying, various activities: cognitive (sensation, perception, memory, presentation, imagination, thinking), emotional (joy, grief, anxiety, moral feelings), practical (behavior of the students in various practical situations). The work of these mechanisms contributes to the active interaction of the student and their social environment.
The teaching workload in colleges and universities is significantly different from the school workloads. The saturation of the educational process, the new form of conducting the subjects, the other organization of educational activity increase the anxiety of the first-year students as it greatly influences the process of their adaptation. For many students, the high demands of the educational process are perceived as a traumatic factor. The constant mental stress, disruption of rest, poor nutrition often lead to a psychological breakdown and disruption of the adaptation process. It is also significant that in the modern life, many students from the first courses are forced to earn for a living. Hence, there may be absence during the classes which leads to poor studying. For the first-year students, it is very important to feel the recognition of them as real individuals. In order to improve their social status, it is necessary to include them in the activities which will result in more successful adaptation. After that, they will conscientiously treat their studies and show good results. When working with students, we must always remember that the teachers cooperate with an already formed personality. The first-year students cannot quickly get used to the fact that a significant role in the learning process is given to the self-studying, the lack of constant monitoring by the teachers allows all students to relax, which can sometimes lead to poor academic performance.
The adaptation process will be successful if the students begin to actively participate in the scientific, cultural and leisure life of the educational institution. The student needs to be given the opportunity to show himself or herself from all sides, to show his or her best qualities, to give an opportunity to realize himself or herself in the direction where he or she feels at their most comfortable (sports, dances, vocals, science, art, etc.).
There Are Three Forms of the Adaptation of the Freshmen
- formal adaptation. It deals with the cognitive and informational adaptation of the students to a new environment, to the structure of the vocational education, to its requirements, to its duties;
- social adaptation is the process of internal integration of the groups of the first-year students and the integration of these groups with the student environment in general;
- didactic adaptation – preparation of the students for new forms and methods of the academic work in the college.
Some scientists have identified three blocks of factors that affect the adaptation to the methods of teaching in all colleges and universities: sociological, psychological and pedagogical. Sociological factors include the age of the student, his or her social background and the type of the educational institution that he or she has already completed.
The psychological block contains individually psychological, socially-psychological factors: intellect, orientation, personal adaptive potential, position in the group. The pedagogical block of factors influencing adaptation includes the level of the pedagogical skill, the organization of the environment, material and technical support, etc. The success of the adaptation depends directly on the effective interrelation of these blocks.
The individual characteristics of the student make the process of his or her adaptation smooth and comfortable. In the process of adaptation of the first-year students, the following difficulties can be identified: negative experience about leaving their school, partying with the class, uncertainty in the choice of a future profession, lack of any psychological preparation, adjustment to the independent life when moving from house to dormitory, etc.
Identifying the problems using certain tests or questionnaires will help speed up the process of adaptation. With their help, you can identify which aspects of the student life should be given more attention. Timely elimination of the problems that arise will increase the academic performance of the students and help avoid various conflicts. The most important thing that is necessary for the successful adaptation of the first-year students is the presence of a benevolent environment, the ability to engage all students in the class so that they have some motivation for something to strive for and learn new things. In addition to an attentive approach from the teaching staff, the student must clearly understand where he or she is situated and what results he or she wants to achieve. The process of adaptation of the first-year students largely depends on their individual characteristics.
We live in a society of the rapidly developing technologies, when the volume of all information doubles every 3 years. In these conditions, one does not need to possess any special information any more than to be able to navigate the information flows, be mobile, learn new technologies, seek and use the missing knowledge or other resources.
Each person experiences several periods of adaptation in his or her life. The first adaptation experience he or she receives happens in the kindergarten, then – during the first grade of the school. An important moment in the life of each of us is the transition from the primary to secondary school, and, finally, the moment of professional self-determination.
The urgency of the problem of students’ adaptation to the educational and professional activities is conditioned by the fact that the foundations of the actual professionalism are being laid during the period of study in the college. That is why the need and readiness for continuous self-education in changing conditions are also getting formed. Therefore, it is especially important that all students are actively involved in the learning process from the first month of their school. However, it should not be forgotten that when entering a college, a teenager is experiencing a lot of significant changes in his or her life. First and foremost, a new educational institution and the new routes to the place of studying are being introduced to them. Secondly, they have to meet a new team of peers and teachers. Thirdly, the problems associated with living in the student dorm – the «test of freedom» begins, which is not passed successfully by all. In addition to that, there are difficulties associated with the uncertainty of the motives for choosing a profession, inadequate psychological preparation, poor knowledge of the school curriculum, and a severe lack of skills for independent work.
It takes a lot of time before the student adapts to the new teaching requirements. In many cases, this is achieved at a very high cost. Hence, there are often significant differences in activity, and especially its results, when teaching the same person at school and in college.
According to my observations, the difficulties in teaching the freshmen begin during the second semester, since they are not completely aware of the changes that have occurred in their lives during the first six months: they are all new, they are inspected, there is still enough willingness to learn new things after the summer holidays. The first is the stress of the holidays (familiar schoolchildren rest, and yet they continue to study and are still far from their vacation). The second ice cold shower hits them during the first examination session. The students are starting to understand that it is not that easy to pass the program from the last grades in one year. And then, the exams in the middle of the school year happen. The first debts appear. The progress is declining.
To avoid these negative consequences, the teacher should think well and plan the proper work with the freshmen.
It Is Necessary to Perform the Following Tasks:
1. Ensuring Successful Adaptation to the New Social Conditions
The peculiarity of the first-year student group is that this is not yet a formed comradeship and there are no established rules and norms of behavior in it. In this group, everyone is a new person for each member of the group. If the pupils of the same school have known each other for many years and he or she already had a certain status, which was quite often not that important to him or her, then a student has the opportunity to get a completely new status and position in the team when entering college.
The teachers have to make sure that the students understand that they came to a new educational institution, so they have the opportunity to start with a «clean slate». It may also be useful to repeat this several times just to be confident that everyone paid enough attention to this very important part of their new lives. There will not be any kind of stereotyped attitude towards them, which, perhaps, was fixed during their school time. Here, everything will depend on their desire to learn and gain some professional knowledge. Each member of the group participates in the establishment of rules and norms of behavior and the formation of characteristics of this group. All the members of the new student group have the opportunity to express themselves from the different sides, to find their own place under the sun and to gain the much-deserved authority and respect of their classmates.
2. The Correct Organization of the Independent Work of the Students
Despite the fact that a class-lesson system is used both in college and school, the instruction in the ACT differs from the school by the predominance of the so-called independent studies.
Quite often, yesterday’s schoolchildren are not ready for any sort of independent work. They do not know how to make notes, work with a textbook, additional literature, scientific sources, etc. Therefore, their adaptation often occurs with great complications. Not all of them cope with overcoming these difficulties. A freshman must be taught to study properly. Our teachers instill interest in learning with the help of active forms and methods of teaching, such as business games, training conferences, case-method, etc.
Given these psychological and pedagogical features, teachers give the skills of independence in working with a textbook, a book, a summary to all children, and teach them to highlight the main points from the text, trying not so much to memorize what is read, but how much to understand it. After all, it is with the understanding of the material that all knowledge comes in, and with it – the professional knowledge and skills.
3. Adequate Presentation of the Chosen Profession
Professional adaptation in the conditions of any college is the process of formation of the students’ interest in the chosen profession, the desire to master it in perfection. This adaptation involves mastering the full amount of knowledge and skills in the profession, methodology and the logic of science. The professional formation of the student is successfully carried out in the event when it is based on the interest, inclinations and abilities of the young person towards a certain profession.
As it was previously mentioned, many freshmen do not have a complete idea of the chosen profession. For them, the specialties «Mechanization of Agriculture» or «Economics and Accounting» are only words that are completely devoid of any form and content. Therefore, they may often ask such questions as: «Why do we need literature? Why do we, the future technicians, need to know about biology or philosophy?» The teachers have to explain that being a good specialist means not only understanding the technique, but also the main principles of the human life in general. The main thing is to be a person, an individual, and for this, you need to be properly educated. After all, a true specialist is a representative and bearer of a certain culture. A combination of knowledge and skills, as well as outlook, life attitudes and values, and features of the professional conduct characterize a true specialist. To achieve a high level in the personal development, it is crucial to include literature, philosophy and social studies, because they collected the vital, spiritual and moral experience of many generations.
4. Help in the Awareness of the Social Importance of the Profession
Invaluable help in solving this problem is provided by many college graduates. They work practically in all areas of the district. Some meetings with them during the classroom hours and during the production practices, acquaintance with the labor dynasties which received a ticket to life in our walls help students realize the importance of the chosen profession and instill love for it.
The difficulties faced by the first-year students can be explained by the fact that they come from the variety of origins. Some are objectively unavoidable (development in a new group, relationships with the educators), while others are subjective in nature and are associated with the weak training, defects in the education in the family and school. But if the student has firmly decided on the choice of a profession, and if he or she has realized its importance, its positive and negative sides, the demands that it puts forth, then the training will be purposeful and productive, and the adaptation process will be carried out without any special difficulties.