The article analyses theoretically the concepts of “socio-psychological adaptation”, “motivation for university learning”, and “psychological climate at a group”. Adaptation as a complex structural phenomenon is discussed. It consists of different, relatively independent processes which serve specific systems of a person’s relations with a new social group. Based on the analyzed scientific works, we noted that first-year students' adaptation takes place mainly with the use of the organism's resources, so psychological-physiological energy expenditure is high. The adaptation effectiveness depends on self-organization skills, individual psychological characteristics, developed abilities and peculiarities of learning motivation. Students’ socio-psychological adaptation to university involves professional adaptation, which includes formation of skills and competences for learning and research work, and social-psychological adaptation as acceptance of the norms and values of a new social group and as acceptance of social requirements for future professional work.
The criteria for first-year students’ successful adaptation include: 1) cognitive (didactic), as the presence of educational and professional interests, the need to acquire professional knowledge, certain value orientations; 2) emotional as positive attitudes to a the chosen specialty, to a new social group, acceptance of the group norms, an individual’s identification to the group; 3) activity (practical) as the need for professional work, active mastering of relevant disciplines; active participation in students’ social life; 4) strong-willed as an overcoming of the difficulties associated with professional training, social and everyday problems. The difficulties of first-year students’ adaptation can be classified as: cognitive, related to the specifics of research work organization; social and psychological, related to adoption of new norms and values; professional, related to understanding of the professional focus of their training, necessity to cooperate with people of different ages, professional categories, to study purposefully to acquire necessary professional competencies. A socio-psychological climate of student community, as a system of certain emotionally colored psychological connections on the basis of shared interests, inclinations, educational activities, is important for learning adaptation. The traditions of an educational establishment, the systematic work of group supervisors and the administration, student self-government help create a favorable social and psychological climate for first-year students.
The research was conducted at A. S. Makarenko State Pedagogical University in order to study the importance of learning motivation and the psychological climate at a group for first-year students’ social-psychological adaptation at university. 76.7% of the first-year full-time students (specialty 014, secondary education: English, French, German, computer science, mathematics, physics) showed high adaptability to learning activities. High adaptation was determined at 63.3% of the first-year part-time students (specialty 014, secondary education: English, French, German, history, biology and specialty 016, special education: special pedagogy, speech therapy, special psychology). The research results indicated formed learning skills and competences of the most students (intellectual, informational, communicative, and organizational skills), a satisfactory level of basic knowledge characteristic for the first-year students. 83.3% of the first-year full-time students and 53.3% of the part-time students of the correspondence forms showed high adaptation to their academic groups, positive assessment of their social-psychological climate, acceptance of the norms and values of the new social community. The full-time and part-time students with high adaptation to their academic groups assess the psychological climate at their groups as favorable for vocational training. Students with poor adaptation assessed the psychological climate as unfavorable for them. 56% of full-time students with high adaptation to their academic group had motivation to acquire knowledge, 20% of them had motivation to master their professions and 24% of them were willing to obtain a diploma. 50% of part-time students with high adaptation had the major motivation to master professions, and 50% of them were willing to a diploma. We consider that the introduction of various training programs contributes to first-year students’ adaptation to university learning, as they contribute to the development of the necessary adaptation mechanisms, the disclosure of a person's creative potential, the formation of effective interaction skills.
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