Abstract: Nowadays the perception of pro-sociality is changing radically. It is achieved by the fact that pro-social education is closely related to empathy, emotional intelligence, social maturity, cooperation, communication, assertiveness, tolerance, humanism, and their common aim is to respect human dignity, honour, acceptance and support of the originality of the individual, and by all these processes its importance increases and it is granted a place within the education system.
Key words: pro-sociality, pro-social behaviour, values, norms.
Streszczenie: W czasach obecnych zmienia się sposób patrzenia na rolę prospołeczności.
Poprzez ścisłe połączenie wychowania prospołecznego z empatią, inteligencją emocyjną, dojrzałością społeczną, komunikowaniem, tolerancją i humanizmem, z ich wspólnym celem respektowania godności ludzkiej, szacunku, zaakceptowania i wspierania oryginalności jednostki, wzrasta jej znaczenie i słusznie definiowano jej miejsce w systemie edukacji.
Słowa kluczowe: prosocjalność, zachowanie prospołeczne, wartości, normy.
Pro-social behaviour and pro-social education is given more and more attention nowadays. Situation in the world expects an overall human individual.
A human being, who is able to solve problems in a constructive manner, who is considerably independent, communicative, able to cooperate, who is typical of a higher frustration tolerance, who is creative, emphatic and assertive. A human
Tomáš Jablonský, Gabriela Siváková
being, who respects his human dignity, and the dignity of others. A human being capable of self-reflection, and also a person willing to help others, to act not only for his/her own benefit, but also for the benefit of the community, a human being who is intellectually, socially and emotionally mature.
Features of pro-social personality are identical with the features of a moral and humane human being. They stem from values and norms, which have been acquired by the individual during socialisation, taking place during his/
her whole life, and this process still goes on.
Olivar defines pro-social personality in the following way54:
→ he/she is typical of expressing compassion with other people in need,
→ he/she is happy to give someone a gift or to share things with the others,
→ he/she helps from which other people benefit,
→ he/she accepts successes of others without envy,
→ he/she has an understanding of worries and problems of friends,
→ he/she shares happy and sad moments with his/her loved ones.
However, if the pro-social values are absent in the value system of the personality, his/her behaviour can reflect the following characteristics55:
→ aggression (animosity and aggression towards other people);
→ egotism (orientation towards only one’s own needs and interests);
→ dissocial behaviour (disinterest in humans and the society, the individual becomes isolated);
→ asocial behaviour (defects of social feeling, behaviour not in accordance with the moral norms, but it is not aimed at the destruction of social values);
→ anti-social behaviour (conscious anti-social behaviour aimed at destruction of social values).
Factors of pro-social behaviour56:
→ degree of benefit for the receiver,
54 Por. R. R. Olivar, Etická výchovak, Bratislava 1992, s. 5-6.
55 Por. J. Oberuč, J. Rosocháć, Teória výchovy v systéme pedagogických vied, Michalovce 2005, s. 83.
56 Por. R. R. Olivar, Etická výchovak, dz. cyt., s. 151-152.
→ degree of need for the receiver,
→ degree of effort or the price for which the active person carried out the deed,
→ to which extent the stimulus causing pro-social behaviour was clear,
→ to which extent the specific reaction necessary for the action was clear,
→ the extent to which the author was influenced by the stimulus from the point of view of the close person, the period of exposition, the possibility, or impossibility to escape, etc.
→ acceptance and social consequences of the particular reaction,
→ the degree of responsibility before others, either because the said person was more able or was the only one, or favoured,
→ previous relationship between the author of the action and the receiver,
→ previous experience of the author, or their absence,
→ current spiritual situation.
Olivar recommends developing the following abilities and skills57: a) of children:
→ human dignity, self-respect,
→ attitudes and abilities of interpersonal relations,
→ positive evaluation of the behaviour of others,
→ creativity and initiative,
→ communication, expression of one’s own feelings, active listening,
→ interpersonal and social empathy,
→ assertiveness; solving of aggression and competiveness, self-control;
conflicts with others,
→ real and presented pro-social models,
→ pro-social behaviour (help, giving, sharing, cooperation, friendship, responsibility and care for others),
→ social and complex pro-social thinking (solidarity, social problems, social criticism, civil disobedience, non-violence),
57 Por. tamże, s. 7.
Tomáš Jablonský, Gabriela Siváková
b) of educators and parents:
→ acceptance of the pupil the way he/she is, expression of sympathy,
→ attribution of pro-social feelings,
→ inductive discipline,
→ pro-social incentives,
→ support of pro-social sentiments.
Pro-social behaviour, similar to any other behaviour, inevitably stems from and is influenced by the norms and values. We can say that behaviour is an external expression, a human product.
Pro-social upbringing is closely connected to values. These are the characteristics, which the individual ascribes to certain object, situation, even or activity in connection to satisfying one’s needs and interests. The values are formed and are subsequently differentiated in the process of socialisation, as a part of social conscience.
Búzik explains the terms values and norms in the following way58:
Values are in culture, or in socio-cultural system, generally accepted ideas and beliefs in objectives, which the people want to achieve. They often form the core of moral and religious doctrines. Values are the ideas about good and evil, what is desired and what is not, what is appropriate and what is inappropriate for the society and its members. They are either positively or negatively charged, and relate to the most important facts of life of the society and its members.
Norms are social expectations, patterns and rules regulating mutual activities and behaviour of people within the society. They are social rules, which outline appropriateness and inappropriateness of behaviour in particular situations.
They are therefore more to the point than values, and have a form of rules, regulations and codices, aimed at the support and stimulation of such behaviour of people, which outline the values as good and desired59.
58 Por. B. Búzik, J. Sopóci, Základy sociológie, Bratislava 1995, s. 31-32.
59 Por. tamże, s. 31-32.
A number of authors, such as Berkovitz (1972), Slaměník (1997)60 state two decisive social norms, which enter as an important attribute of pro-social behaviour motivation.
Reciprocity norm, which claims that we should help those who have helped us.
This means that it expresses the expectations of people, assuming that good is repaid by good, that they will help those who have harmed them somehow, or they do not help those who have harmed them.
→ that we want to help those who have helped us,
→ expectation that people will repay good by good, that they will not help those who have harmed them,
→ to expect that in cases of low self-esteem there might be a worry that by accepting of help we would become indebted to or dependent on others, etc.
Norm of social responsibility, presupposes that people will help those in need, without taking into consideration repaying of this help.
In connection with the social norm of responsibility, the central topic is to assess the causes of this situation. If the cause is, e.g. one’s own neglect, laziness, lack of presupposition, then the will to help is negligible. If, however, someone becomes the victim of a natural disaster, then the will to help, expressed in pro-social behaviour, becomes really high.
If social norms are to become motives of pro-social behaviour, they have to be activated. Such activation of norms of pro-social behaviour is explained by Boroš in four studies61:
Nature of the first stage rests upon answering of the question, whether granting of help is necessary and possible. It means that the following should be assessed:
→ whether the need is properly expressed,
→ one’s own possibilities, abilities and competencies to act,
→ the extent of guilt of the person causing the need to help.
60 Por. J. Boroš, Základy sociálnej psychológie, Bratislava 2001, s. 221-222.
61 Por. tamże, s. 223.
Tomáš Jablonský, Gabriela Siváková
Second stage is immediately connected to the activation of the feeling of moral duty, which stems from the norm. An important factor in this respect is the immediate recording of the realized help, of own image and the evaluation by the others, for if someone thinks of themselves as e.g. an altruist, or if other people think of you as an altruist, then inevitably the individual wants to strengthen this image of oneself, and to persuade also others about that. This is also supported by the finding that people evaluated as charitable, were more active in donating money and else to various charities than people who were not assessed as charitable
Third stage is connected to the evaluation of the benefits and costs associated with the particular person, i.e. when deciding about the help, not only one’s own costs are assessed, but also the possible benefits for the beneficiary of such help.
Fourth stage is the final stage of the realisation of a particular decision to help.
From the pedagogic point of view, values are not only perceived by brain, but also through feelings and the will. The more willing we are to sacrifice something for a certain value, the more effort and self-renunciation it takes, the more we value the particular value. There are also values in our life, which we do not realize, as long as they are not endangered or lost.
Values are presented as leading life principles, which partake in the creation of relationships of humans to various aspects of life. Values influence the overall approach of an individual to the outside world, or to oneself, to the meaning of life, to work and they also determine his/her behaviour.
The very selection of values is usually not dictated by certain system, or morals. It means that “values can be impersonated by people, invisible God, nature or other creation of humans, as well as animals, trees, idols made of gold, silver, stone, etc”62.
In order to understand significance of the inclusion of pro-social education within the education system, it is important to mention the overall importance of the ethical education at schools. This will be graphically supplemented by Figure 1, which schematically describes the system of formation. However, our interest will be directed to the particular content of the education system, which contains ethical education.
162 Tamże, s. 186.
Husband and wife Eyres63 drafted a scheme (Figure 1), which describes two main ways of how to learn the values – whether we are their bearers, or we express them in our relationships to others. They claim that the more we express the value – either in the relationship to oneself, or to others, the more we receive it – from ourselves or from others.
The Eyers recommends acquiring the values of being and the values of giving for living of a quality life. The values of being include honesty, bravery, peacefulness, independence, efficiency, moderation, loyalty and chastity. The values of giving include reliability, loyalty, respect, love, sensitivity, goodness, heartiness, justice and mercifulness. These values are very much connected with the pro-social values, by their acquisition the person develops emotionally, mentally and socially, into a socially stable and mature personality for a happy and wholesome life.
Scheme of main ways of values teaching
Values of being Values of giving
(who we are) (what we give)
Honesty Bravery Peacefulness
Independence and efficiency Self-control and moderation Faithfulness and chastity
Loyalty and reliability
Charity and heartiness
Justice and charity
63 Por. L. Eyre, R. Eyre, Jak naučit děti hodnotám, Praha 2000, s. 14.
Tomáš Jablonský, Gabriela Siváková
In order to comprehend the importance of pro-social education within the system of education, we will primarily explain significance of ethical education at schools. To this end, we shall apply Figure 2, which contains a scheme of the education system.
We shall be interested in the particular content of education, which contains ethical education.
System of formation
Methods Forms Means
Źródło: J. Oberuč, J. Rosocháć, Teória výchovy v systéme pedagogických vied, Michalovce 2005, s. 31.
Vajda defines ethics as a science about morals, whereas morals is the subject of our interest. The man has created ethics as a tool for researching, what is very important for the individual in his/her practical life, and for researching morals. The term ethics stems from “ethos“, which in ancient Greek referred to habit, character or way of thinking. The term “morals“ stem from the Latin translation of the Greek “ethos“. The Latin expression for “ethos“ is “mos“, i.e.
morals, character, behaviour, character, internal essence, law or regulation64.
64 Por. J. Vajda, Etika, Nitra 1993, s. 11.
Ethical education gives us the area for the understanding of morals, which stems from a certain hierarchy of values. In a certain way it replies to our questions relating to the place of human beings in the world, the meaning of life, and the issues relating to relationships with other people and to oneself.
It is not a criterion of human behaviour, but it explains to us the reasons for decisions about selected behaviour and how to deal with such decisions.
The issue of pro-social behaviour and education has been recently ascribed more importance. The times are changing and pro-social issues are not perceived as only highly theoretical discussions on the harmonisation of development of child‘s personality, but they are given their proper place at schools, during ethical education classes. A forum is formed for a constant preference of cognitive section of personality, but also from the non-cognitive point of view.
Boroš J., Základy sociálnej psychológie, Bratislava 2001.
Búzik B., Sopóci J., Základy sociológie, Bratislava 1995.
Eyre L., Eyre R., Jak naučit děti hodnotám, Praha 2000.
Jablonský T., Rozvíjanie prosociálnosti a kooperácie u detí ako predpoklad budovania pozitívnych medziľudských vzťahov, [w:] Mládež a hodnoty 2007, Olomouc 2008, s. 73-79.
Oberuč J., Rosocháć J., Teória výchovy v systéme pedagogických vied, Michalovce 2005.
Olivar R. R., Etická výchovak, Bratislava 1992.
Vajda J., Etika, Nitra 1993.