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Individual differences are the variations of one person to another in terms of attitude, personality, and physiology, perceptual or learning processes. There are no two individual in the society who resemble each other or are the same. We differ not only in height, weight, appearance, color, and reaction speed but also in behavior. Ackerman, Kyllonen, & Roberts (1999) suggest that psychologists carry out scientific study to research on the infinite differences in behavior among individuals. Psychologists’ main focus is on personality, intelligence, and attitude of a human being.
Causes of Individual Differences
There are factors that contribute to differences in the individual’s intelligence or learning level in the society. In a study by Ackerman, Kyllonen, & Roberts (1999), the differences can be observed right from the time of birth. Besides the variations in physical characteristics, there are differences in emotional reactivity of the child. Later, the child shows variations in development of certain exceptional abilities and potentials. The child may grow talents such as musical talent, preceptor motor skills, and mechanical skills. Recent research has found that there are sizeable differences in the learning, transferring, and retention of information.
The differences are mainly caused by the environment and heredity. Genes, cytoplasm, and chromosome determine heredity. The environment is determined by the school, neighborhood, place of work, and family. In learning research, there are several factors that make individual differences in learning. The first is the wide range of subject abilities by different learners. Some children are attracted to only one subject and others to another subject. The second factor appears where the task involves some set of degree of cognitive complexity. The environment of learning for both at home and school causes learning differences. The results of twin and family studies show that environments within normal species range are vital to normal development.
Solutions to Individual Differences
Given the wide range of emotional supports and environmental opportunities, however, most children in the societies grow up individually different based on their genotypes. The understanding by educators of the way in which environments and genes work hand in hand is helpful. The development planners can identify children in need of interventions and direct these interventions to their needs
Teachers should be responsive to all children’s abilities, strengths, and interests. They should build and value children’s strengths, knowledge, and skills to ensure motivation and engagement in the process of learning. Educators respond to children’s expertise, the different languages spoken by the children (Aulls& Lemay, 2010). Teachers often should try cultural traditions and ways of knowing of the child. Teachers should also respond to children’s play and ideas which is a fundamental base for curriculum decision-making. In response to children’s evolving ideas and interests, educators anticipate, assess, and extend children’s learning through open-ended questioning and providing feedback. They make use of spontaneous teachable moments to scaffold children’s learning.