1. Average Intelligence:
The following brief description may serve to make individual differences a simple concept that can easily be grasped. Individuals are seen differing in considerable measure in respect of their general intelligence. It is not possible to send to schools children with an intelligence quotient of below 50.
Children with intelligence quotients between 50 and 70 can learn only the very simplest tasks. Even the small schools trouble children whose intelligence quotient varies between 70 and 80.
Children between 75 and 90 I.Q. are considered morons and they have considerable difficulty in progressing along with other children in their learning.
Generally, 40 to 60 per cent of the children in schools have I.Q.s. varying between 95 and 105, being the children with average intelligence who form the basis for the formulation of the syllabus and curriculum as well as the method of teaching.
Children who are either above or below this level of intelligences require special educational methods and conditions. Children with intelligence quotients varying between 115 and 120 are considered brilliant or intelligent.
2. Special Abilities
During the junior high school as well as the college stage, the individual’s differences in respect of special abilities, in addition to the general intelligence, are also important since special professions and specialized fields of vocation all need certain specific abilities. Abilities of this kind are concerned with mental, artistic, personality or motor ability.
3. Differences of Background
In school the differences that the children exhibit is the outcome of their different families and their communities. Attitudes towards education and authority differ in each family, culture and class. Some of these attitudes are favorable while others are unfavorable to education.
In either condition, the differences of attitudes results in differences among children. Besides these attitudes, the child’s emotional, social, aesthetic and moral development is influenced by his family and the neighborhood.
4. Alacrity in Learning
Difference in the quickness or alacrity in learning is visible not only in children of different ages but also among children in the same age group.
This difference is dependent upon their maturity and educational background. Differences in the alacrity of learning result in benefits accruing from formal education.
5. Mental Age
Children of differing ages as well as children of the same age show differences in their respective mental ages. Generally speaking, all students studying in the same class differ according to their mental ages.
It has been observed that in the age of 6, differences in mental age range up to 5 years. Mental age and education are intimately related. The child’s level of education is determined according to his mental age
6. Motor Ability
The individual’s movements of the hand and feet and other physical abilities are seen to be very individual, as they do not resemble another’s to any great extent.
Till the individual attains adulthood, his manual dexterity, rate of muscular movement and resistance to fatigue develops continually. In this manner, the same individual in different ages and different individuals in the same age group manifest considerable differences in manual dexterity.
7. Sex Differences
Makneimer and Terman discovered the following differences between men and women, on the basis of some studies:
(i) Women have greater skill in memory while many have greater motor ability.
(ii) Female handwriting is superior while men excel in mathematical logic.
(iii) Women show greater skill in making sensory distinctions of taste, pain, smell, etc., while men show greater reaction and consciousness of size-weight illusion.
(iv) Possessing greater linguistic ability women are superior to men in languages, similitude’s, word building, compositions and use of long sentences etc. On the other hand, men are superior in physics and chemistry.
(v) Women are more susceptible to suggestion while there are three times as many colour-blind men as there are women.
(vi) Women are better than men in mirror drawing. Faults of speech etc., in men were found to be three times of such faults in women.
(vii) Young girls take interest in stories of love, fairy tales, stories of the school and home and day-dreaming and show various levels in their play. On the other hand, boys take interest in stories of bravery, science, war and scouting, stories of games and sports, scouts stories and games of occupation and skill.
Many studies have led to the conclusion that individuals of different nations differ in respect of nature, physical traits, interest and personality, etc. Such a difference is only natural since their cultural and geographic environment is distinctive.
9. Economic Situation
Economic differences are seen causing differences in the children’s interests, tendencies and character, etc.
10. Difference in Respect of Development
Difference in development is in evidence not only in individuals of different age groups but also between individuals of the same age.
11. Differences Relating of Learning
In respect of learning, children manifest such differences as past experience and learning, ability in the use of various kinds of apparatus, rate of learning, interest in learning, etc.
12. Difference of Interests.
As has been pointed out, the difference in sex leads to a difference in interests. Similarly, factors such as family background, level of development, differences of nationality and race, etc., cause difference of interests.
Differences in respect of personality have led psychologists to much study, and on the basis of this study individuals have been classified into many groups.
Concerning these classifications of the human personality, it should be remembered that although one specific person may exhibit the main broad characteristics of one class of personality, he cannot be said to belong to only that class of personality as the differences between various personalities are so subtle and minute that it is not scientifically feasible to divide them into classes
Teacher’s Advantage in Knowing Individual Differences
The objective of modern education is the complete development of the child. In this connection, the teacher has the following advantage to derive from knowledge of individual differences:
1. This can help him to form the proper attitude towards the brilliant and the dull-witted students. It is only too evident that very good results cannot be expected from dull-witted or mediocre students.
2. Any effort to bring all or a majority of the students in the class to the same level is futile since some 50 or odd percentage of them will in variably remain below this level.
3. Improvements in atmosphere, method of teaching, and the apparatus of education cannot lead to the satisfactory teaching of all students since their individual ability to learn differs widely.
4. Knowing the presence of individual differences the teacher is not perturbed at the failure of some of his students since such failure is only to be expected from below-average students.
5. The teacher does not come to expect successes that are impossible. Individual difference makes it clear that all aspects of the personality are mutually related and to develop any one aspect it is essential that all the aspects be developed.