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Květen 2012


29. května 2012 v 8:50 | Prof.PhDr.Rudolf Kohoutek,CSc.
As a philosophical discipline, it ethics concerned with responsible behaviour within human
community. Every school should be competently engaged in the area of moral and health
education and self-education of their students. The implementation of moral education
should reside in concrete formation of pro-social and supportive communication modes of
student behaviour.
From the psychological viewpoint, ethical education and self-education consists in lifelong
and systemic development of desirable character qualities and traits with the use of
exemplification, persuasion and experience in a suitable environment.
Key words
Health, ethics, moral education, health education, self education

Importance of ethics and ethical education at schools is given by the fact that present
society shows low level of ethical behaviour and experiences, especially in the field of social
Ethics is understood as a philosophical discipline engaged just in responsible action
inside human coexistence (see Velký sociologický slovník, 1996, t.1, p. 269). Formation of
humane and really ethical interpersonal relations belongs to the most actual calls of the post
totalitarian present. Underrating of this fact at the beginning of the nineties of the last century
led to identification of the present times as post ethical and post moralistic and to many
problems in global social range.
German sociologist Niklas Luhmann (1927 - 1998) even came to a disputable reason that
morale has to be delegitimated as the highest judge of human action and a society has to be
"removed from moralisation" because the most of people do not act morally anyway and
morale in socially unfunctional act and nobody approve seriously its obligation and validity. It
is impossible to agree with this opinion. Absence of morale is destructive. And destruction of
civilisation values has to be hindered, it is act of self-preservation.
With regard to ethics-health relationship, we can assume that moral personal as well as
occupational lifestyle is a guarantee of mental and social well-being experiences at the
majority of people. And just mental and social well-being (aside from physical well-being)
belongs to health definition and basic characteristics.
Thoughts on ethical, pro-social, responsible behaviour and experiences are always at
the same time, even though indirectly, thoughts on health supporting. Morality - health
relationship is undeniable.
We consider return of morality, morale and humanism and development of wider
responsibility in the 3rd millennium to be necessary. But it concerns as most as possible
people to be determined above all by cultural and moral standards, not by egoisms, in their
behaviour and action. I would emphasise words "as most as possible". There will never be all
The present society is evidently in moral crisis which use to be typical for revolution
and post revolution stages of society development.
If the moral progress in present time and in future should be reached, the outlet from
this moral crisis is needed to be found by new emphasis on ethical standards need, ethical
communication, information and determination in interpersonal relations as well as man -
nature relation and extend programmatically competences of ethics, relation responsibility and
man obligations.
French philosopher Giles Lipovetski expresses an opinion that the 21st century will be
either ethical or it will not be at all. Ethical access to the world and life is necessary if the fear
conceived by sociologist Max Weber (1864 - 1920) should not be filled up, namely that a
modern man becomes to be "specialist without spirit and consumer without heart" who will
consider not only things but also people to be goods.
Some futurologists, e.g. A. Toffler (1980), speak about necessity of global spiritual
revolution comparable by its importance with industrial revolution.
Restoring of interpersonal relations to health and community development and their
survival depends on it.
Often (and by right) is spoken about sustainable development and quality of life.
Conception of sustainable (and therefore considerate development) reflects pursuit of joint
requirements of economic development (economic dimension) and needs of environmental
and natural resources protection (ecological or environmental dimension) and human
development care (social or anthropological dimension).
Radical conception of environmental ethics says if the mankind is endangered by
ecological catastrophe, the new ethics not clustered around idea of human value
(anthropocentrism) but with centre in idea and all nature value (biocentrism) is needed to be
Deontological ethics, i.e. ethics of obligations, typical for example for I. Kant (deon =
obligation) is replaced by ethics of responsibility in present.
We identify with ethics of responsibility formulated by Hans Jonas (1993) who
consider social responsibility principle to be a base for new ethics for technological
civilisation namely for individuals and groups. Naturally the question of responsibility
towards future gains ground.
Our effort has to aim at elaboration of theory and practice of ethics and ethical
communication and education.
Program of development of educational system in the Czech Republic (chap. I) states
rightly in its main principles of educational system transformation after the November 1989:
"The function of educational system is to provide education to every individual what can
evolve their abilities and cultivate their character and attitudes. It equips them with knowledge
and skills so as to assert themselves in life as soon as possible and to use their rights and fulfil
obligations of free citizen in democratic society. The target of education is to contribute to
formation of personality connecting in itself freedom and responsibility."
As the basic factor of education at schools was traditionally and rightly considered to be moral education what is
an educational impact on intellect, feelings, volition and action, opinions, attitudes and
imagination in order to be in accordance with recognised principles and legal, mercy,
responsibility, good and ethics standards.
The moral education at schools should have a form of education towards pro-social
and supportive communication climate (i.e. towards social cordiality and social support)
where participants respect each other, communicate and comment openly their opinions and
feelings, where there are opened also ethically relevant issues freely discussed and adequate
ethical rules are deduced from them.
Ethical issues pass across various subjects at school and across various life situations
not only at school but also out of school (especially in family). Each teacher aside from his
special professional specialisation should be a carrier of ethical education and an ethical selfeducation at students maker.
Consider pupils' and students' moral education and self-education at schools, we have
to go out from the thesis of the leading Czech pedagogue prof. Jan Průcha (1997) that
psychosocial climate at school, sometimes called "ethos" of school, communication climate
and moral environment are the main indicators of curricular as well as educational quality of
Pedagogical-psychological aspects of ethics and moral education
If teaching of ethics and ethical education should be successful at schools, it would
require all teachers' competent pedagogical approach to all pupils and students.
The right education has to be responsible self-education stimulator and has to respect
freedom and unique of human personality.
Moral education is in fact education of a character. In personality psychology the
moral character (ethos) is defined as a stabile man's readiness to act according to some ethical
principles, i.e. it expresses such qualities as discipline, responsibility, integrity (see Milan
Nakonečný, 1993).
A lack of moral personalities makes for risk to society and civilisation in consequence
of its moral devastation. A regression to "moral stone age" threatens (see J. Šolc, 2001).
An important part of character is a volition bearing on active advancing individual life
objectives based on dominance of specific values in personal value orientation, on individual
man's value system what is taken to be eligible (e.g. health life style, altruism, but also profit,
personal property, etc.). In individual's value structure the values are inserted in specific
pyramidal order.
At the same time, dominant values in man's personal value structure has a form of
causes of human behaviour and action, then man's motives and objectives.
A process of ethical revolution of personality is a process of a birth and loss of various
ethical values. It is a process of perpetual changes and ripening.
Personal value structure is often determinative for all man's action. There is need to
take account of the fact that every period and every society has its own specific value
orientation (see Martinkovičová, 2002) as well as particular social groups inclusive of
students groups.
Personal value structure impresses dynamically people's daily behaviour, their
personalities, their individual life style, i.e. solid individual line (screenplay) of their
behaviour. There is often used a term "value orientation" for personal value structure. Internal
people's value system impresses also their action and behaviour. Loss or reduction of
preferred working, personal and life values could be a cause of diseases or a factor negatively
impressing a disease course.
A significant help at personal value structure formation could provide teachers of
humanities and pedagogical-psychological counselling workers at schools.
Let's take note of basic characteristics, at whose development should an ethical
education aim.
According to Ladislav Lencz (1993) the basic value developed by an ethical education is selfconfident
personality with pro-social orientation. There would be evidently rather cited prosocial
orientation at first even if a level of man's self-confidence belongs undoubtedly to
central personal characteristics which have a big impress on man's behaviour and experiences
what emphasise especially American psychologist and pedagogues. American ethical
therapists consider self-confidence support to be first-rate question of therapeutic ethics.
Pro-sociality as a willingness to make something cooperatively for others without
expectation of equivalent or premium is the basic condition for social stability and harmonic
interpersonal relations, the key issue of value orientation and the key competence of man. It is
a base of morality. The motive and assumption of pro-social behaviour is an internal need to
do what could do others good. Insufficiency of cooperation is one of the causes but also one
of the consequences of the fact that families are unfunctional, economic and political systems
do not function and there comes to conflicts. Consensus (accordance and harmony) finding
among opinions takes precedence to compromises (i.e. accordance acquired by mutual
concessions) finding.
Pro-social behaviour as moral - social competence is an attribute of humanisation and
democratisation in the field of education. It belongs to characteristics of eligible life culture
generally. Pro-social behaviour should go hand in hand with an adequate level of professional
education and professional careers competence.
There is surprising and stimulative that sociological research of values of our young
people between age 18 and 25 confirms preference of health, love and friendship values.
Present young people do not proclaim property at the first place even though its importance
increased in comparison with previous researches (see Martinkovičová, 2002). Preference of
family value increases with age. Arrogant, unruly and egoistic narcissism does not prevail
presently or is not strictly proclaimed at least what means it is understood as a negative value.
In our research of personalities of students at Brno University of Technology we were
engaged, among other things, in investigation of social responsibility level at 128 students and
we applied a method of interpersonal diagnose ICL of T. Leary et al. at them. The result 6,9
from possible 10 marks reflects above average level of social responsibility at students at
Brno University of Technology.
Responsible pro-social behaviour assumes to have an advanced ability to be one's own
man, to be a purposeful personality, to have one's own identity, to behave expressively, feel
for other people and have a motivation to help them. In this conception, pro-sociality is
actually systematic psychical regulator (Damián Kováč, 2002).
Relationships between man and other people are all-important but we may not forget
even man-nature and man-future relationships. According to German philosopher H. Jonas
(1984), man and technique are able to create a future striking dread into. However, this dread
could become a positive ethical value if it awakes our responsibility for future generations.
Hans Jonas formulates categorical ethical imperative like this: "Act so as to consequences of
your action would be in accordance with authentic human life, so as not to be destructive for
future life. Think of future human well-being when you make decisions at present."
Human social behaviour is liable to social presses, social control of public. Its
breaking causes sanctions (ostracism, ridicule). However, social behaviour has also internal
regulators (feeling of shame, blame, displeasure, internal tension, resentment, dissatisfaction
with oneself, inferiority complex) at negative activities at the same time.
Conscientious abidance by morality principles is considered rightfully to be also the
base of prevention and therapy of some diseases. The wide discussion about extra
unfavourable impresses on human state of health of their hostility (compulsion to hurt
somebody, unfriendly relations, hate), depression, phobia, obsession, compulsivity, blazes of
affects, insobriety, epicurism, cupidity, paranoia, etc. is passing in professional literature at
Topics and recommendations for moral education at students in families and at schools
An eminent program of ethical education is a system of character development created
on the basis of investigation into big significant group in San Francisco (see Plunkett, D.,
System of character development leans here above all on two psychologists' work - E.
A. Wynne and K. Ryan.
Research group of thirty workers elaborated a program for pro-social behaviour
education which has five particular tasks. The first three aimed at young people:
1. concerning young people connection to activities aimed at mutual help in family and
at school;
2. next it concerns sensibilisation of empathy, i.e. perception of needs, feelings and
thinking at others. (For detailed information see A. Ellis' publication: Training of
emotions, catch title: Work with emotions on the basis of rational emotional therapy);
3. and finally it concerns development of team work with contemporaries and family
The other two tasks aimed at adults:
4. how to provide positive models of pro-social behaviour continuously also through
educational actions;
5. how to support positive discipline, especially by presentation of definite behavioural
orders, by discipline methods use, by self-regard support, by maintenance of positive
relation to young people and high level of expectations (Pygmalion effect).
American researches consider moral codex including 7 character streaks to be a base of
character development. Man should be led to become
1. honest (unfailing, straight and truthful)
2. responsible (conscientious, considerate and trustworthy)
3. kind (respect authority, correct)
4. loyal (staunch, brave)
5. sedulous (painstaking and diligent)
6. expressive (plain, frank, cooperative)
7. healthy self-confident (with respect to oneself but also self-critical)
This moral codex should be modified for Czech society conditions. We miss there e.g.
patriotism and responsibility to one's own health.
Strategy of good or moral character development by creation of relevant conditions for
ethical values, principles, attitudes and standards interiorisation was summarised into five
items by psychologist K. Ryan:
1. an example
2. explanation
3. exhortation and encouragement
4. environment
5. experiences (see also J. Smékal, 1998)
Strategy of character development program by five mentioned approaches could be elaborated
in details as follows:
1. An example
Every pedagogue should labour for so behaviour, action and approach to pupils and
students as to become to be an identifying ideal for them. Present moral crisis is
namely, above other things, characterised by lack of positive identifying ideals.
People imitate functionally behaviour of persons that they hold in high regard or are
fond of them, consider them to be likeable or even they like them and therefore they
identify with them.
What should ethical codex of teachers who are ideals for their pupils and students
contain? It should contain, above all, items which mention that teachers should be
ideals of humane approach to children, teenagers as well as adults as to respectable
human being which have a right to social well-being when they communicate with
pedagogues. They should not abuse children and teenagers as means to reach their
own egoistic objectives. They should not associate pupils and students only with
appropriate roles but they should see autonomous personalities with concrete human
needs and values behind them. They should always abide by principles of moral and
social style; their appearance should be so treated as to well represent teacher's
position, they should be patient and painstaking at getting over educational difficulties
with children and teenagers and they should use standard language and adequate
verbal as well as nonverbal and emphatic communicational means. They should
contribute by their behaviour to positive image of their workplaces and practise their
pedagogical activities as well as possible.
2. Explanation (persuasion)
Spontaneous question of pupils and student concerning correct ethical behaviour are
natural resource for explanation.
The most appropriate form of explanation is discursive (logic) dialogue, but also
intuitive dialogue is possible. A pedagogue should be able to open space for ethical
dialogue with students. This should be his responsibility. But not directively
paternalistic (or manipulative) approach to students.
Advice is really appropriate, e.g. in the field of anti-drug prevention. There is eligible
to develop anti-drug attitudes, skills turn down a drug. Advice is eligible also in the
field of health and ethical therapy. There is need to warn teenagers that for example
hateful behaviour and experience (hostility), envy, egoism, avarice and other moral
defects aggravate various illnesses (C. Bezděk, 1998). Connections between morality and
health are undeniable. Unfortunately, various charlatans, accented persons and fanatics
are often engaged in these connections unscientifically and incompetently.
3. Exhortation, positive stimulation and encouragement, persuading
Exhortation of pupils and students to personal and identical responsibility and to
autonomous finding of varieties of oneself own problems has to be carried out slightly,
kindly, without dehonestation of pupil's and student's personality, without exorbitant
authoritative prescriptive, by form of various manipulative instructions, rules and
dispositions on the basis of ethical audit. Čáp, J. and Mareš, J. (2001) were engaged in
concrete positive approaches of encouragement. They recommend not to link
encouragement with dehonestive moralising (e.g. supplement: "So why do not you do
it always that way?" or "There was already about time!") because moralising disrupts
an effect of previous positive information.
4. Environment
Not only family and ancestry create or impress a personality and a character too. Also
the world forms a man; it educates him, teaches him but naturally also deforms him.
Man is educated or impressed by all things what surround him. Thus, also by
civilisation and nature. Also imagination and thinking are supported considerably by
civilisation and nature. School is an important background where for example vexation
should be eliminated as well. Balance between pupils' and students' competitiveness
and cooperation and volition of social background to make a good are considered to be
an important factor conductive to environment.
Also inner school curriculum, so ethical and traditional school atmosphere perceived
by pupils and students, belongs to effective ethical impression. A measure of harmony
between ethical values proclaimed by teachers and their everyday life practice, which
should support creation of stabile and well-balanced pupils' personalities resistant to
stress and difficult life situations, is crucial.
5. Experiences (including corrective experiences)
Present environment where young people live is rich in information but poor with
regard to positive group experiences including corrective experiences.
Young people should be more oriented to objectivisation of their social perception and
to greater participation in useful cooperation and in acquirement of practical
experience not only in their professional area but also in the field of social
communication (see Šramová, 2001). Experience study of ethical attitudes, initiative,
relationships and forms of pro-social behaviour is represented for example by socalled
active social learning.
Experience education is lately elaborated within so-called social pedagogy and
experience therapy. For example projects Summer school Lipnice, OUTDOOR and
GO movement make use of experience pedagogy as learning by active act combined
with following discussion and reflection. It concerns methods of experience learning
and its utilisation for global development of human personality especially in the field
of team work, communicative skills and social feeling and behaviour. It concerns
above all utilisation of all possible kinds of games. There somewhere comes also to
so-called "touching the bottom of own abilities and potential".
For example publication of H. Belz and M. Siegrist: Key competences and their
development includes valuable, but also some quite forced impulses to experiences.
Therefore we have to take account of an effect of experiences which pupils and
students acquire from their contemporaries. Their impact could be even greater than
teachers' and parents'. Authors of reported American character development program
consider explaining of behavioural rules, school objectives and not only in verbal but
also in written form to students to be a priority. Competitions of individuals and
groups, cooperative behaviour at team work, ability and skills to accept winnings and
losses are parts of character development program.
Also a variety of out-of-school activities allows every pupil and students to utilise and
experience personally pro-social form of active civil and professional behaviour
influencing also their psychical and social well-being and consequently their health.
Teachers should aim at development and cultivation of children's and teenagers'
whole autonomous personalities, not only their cognitive structure.
In above mentioned San Francisco program, we miss an analysis of ancestral genes
(predispositions) for ethical part of behaviour and experiences, an analysis of
importance and influence of individual bio-psycho-social trends which could have a
crucial role in some cases.
We have to take account of the fact, that ancestral and congenital defects could quite
complicate international and functional moral education. But there is not possible to
step down moral education and self-education after all these limitations although we
know they are not all-powerful.
An inner school curriculum, so ethical school atmosphere and infrastructure and its
traditions perceived by students, is an important part of ethical education at schools. Prosocial
and supportive school climate is optimum. Optimum measure of harmony between
proclaimed ethical values and principles and their everyday concrete practice is crucial for
pupils' and students' moral education. From this viewpoint, double and egoistic morale of
teachers who state something else than practise, is damaging. An example of that conflict
could be giving preferences to personal private goals, needs and activities of some teachers to
the detriment of proper professional pupils and students care.
Presumption of successful students' moral education should be recognition and
purposeful cultivation of personal individuality of each young person.
All teachers should get through a course of ethics and ethical education.
There is necessary to learn them to influence pupils' and students' value structures to
eligible trend, to educate rating competences.
There would not be right to step down ethical education although it is quite difficult.
Morality remains, if we want or not, the base of our civilisation.
Moral codex of pedagogues, advisory teachers and school psychologists are an aid for
improvement of ethical education in school system.
Efforts at life style honour everyday ethics and aesthetics have also positive health
consequences and effects. It concerns above all healthy life style, pro-social relations and
optimum communication in family, at school and at work.

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24. května 2012 v 16:13 | Prof.PhDr.Rudolf Kohoutek,CSc.

PSYCHICAL TRAUMAS experienced by pupils, students or teachers at Czech schools don´t
usually have a character of extreme macrotraumas (such as primary life or health threat),
but more likely of less remarkable microtraumas. Somatic macrotraumas at schools are not
mostly caused on purpose (e.g. injuries at sports). For the most part the macrotrauma like this
is a a trauma both for the afflicted and the one who caused it unwillingly.

Psychic microtraumas
(experiences of unsuccessfullness, verbal agression, insulting, humiliation, muck-raking),
especially those with chronicity, may have severe impact on personality development,
psychical, social and physical health.
Our entry of psychical traumatizing partly results from contemporary academic and
scientific literature and partly from the action research of collaborationist focal university
students´ group, (57 men and 94 women), who gave over their remembrances and experiences
from nursery, primary, secondary school and university attendance, which may have
threaten their psychical and social health and adequate personality development. (In total 15
% surveyed students mentioned that uncomfortable experiences at school belonged to their
most serious actual traumas ).
We have chosen the action research because it is focused on cognition, evaluation and
improvement of working experience (teaching working experience at all school types, too).
In the research students and pupils most often complained of humiliation on teachers´
part and teachers´ "choleric" or someone else´s cold-livered way of dealing with students.
,,Cholericity" was too little differentiated term, though. It involved e.g. teachers´ choleric
temperament, eventual personality disorders, increased neuroticism, neuroses and perhaps
even other psychopatological tendencies.
A half of students surveyed described teachers´ vexation (bossing) and classmates´
bullying (mobbing).
Types of psychical traumatizing
Both macrotraumatizing and microtraumatizing may be classified into four types
- primary, secondary, tertiary and quarternary. Nevertheless, more common is primary
psychotraumatizing (concerning the individual himself) and secondary psychotraumatizing
(concerned other persons).
There is another possible classification - we distinguish individual and group
traumatizing, which is quite typical for educational system.
Not only individuals are traumatized, but also the whole classes of students.
Primary psychical traumatizing means a situation, in which a student or a teacher
himself is a victim of bullying, corporal punishment (maybe originally intended to
someone else), humiliation or he is experiencing emotional stress (e.g. anxiety, dismay,
humiliation, disgrace), helplessness, unsuccessfulness, hostility on the part of other people,
aversion, feeling of injustice (e.g. in virtue of criticism, reproach or lowered demerit),
mockery, irony, flippancy, scoring off, power manipulating, persecution. Children at nursery
schools are often traumatized with compulsion to eating up meals they don´t like.
Sometimes there is an individual victimized both by teachers and classmates. Occasionally
some of the victimized pupils must undergo longlasting mental treatment.
Primary psychotraumatizing (among other types of traumatizing) is being
experienced in the most intense way. It harms psychic and emotional health the most.
It may be effected intentionally or not.
One of the university students gives an illustrative example of primary psychotraumatizing
of secondary school pupils:
,,At grammar school we had a physics teacher who was an author of publication
about physics. He forced all students to buy the publication and to memorize it. He liked
oral examinations and if we didn´t answer properly before he counted to three, we got two
F´s. He multiplied the bad grades but the good ones stayed single. If we didn´t understand
something or couldn´t formulate something correctly, he asked us if we wanted E or F
and he added with the mocking smile that he didn´t like giving F´s. Once he said during
a student´s evaluation: "show your mug" and after he looked him through, he said loudly:
,,you can´t get a good grade with a face like this". He had also his favourite sentence:
,,Take a little walk, you have a mental blockage". Once he said to a classmate that he had
never seen such an imbecile and that he was "a serious genetic mistake of the mankind".
He liked tearing students´ exercise books. He complained that it is terrible to be a teacher
when students are so dull. From time to time he threw his keys at pupils and he slapped
them. He often said over: ,, There´s a God, then me, then nothing for a long time, then Mr.
schoolmaster, then nothing for a long time, a few stacks of dung and then are you. If you
are not quiet, I´ll throw someone out of the window". He did not try to remember students´
names, so he called everyone Hurvínek of Fridolín.
He set tests dates saying: ,,Boys will understand it and girls will learn it by
heart." I started to hate that teacher, but also physics as a subject, said the student in
Let us mention an example of primary psychotraumatizing of teachers: currently,
teachers often travel abroad with the whole classes, which is sometimes very traumatizing.
During a journey abroad pupils and teachers were embarking the ferry after the
Teachers recommended sleepy children to bring with only the most necessary things
from the bus and to board quickly. They accomodated children in cabins four by four and
checked number of children. In one of the cabins a teacher found only three boys. He asked
where the fourth one is and he was told that the student was having a shower. In the morning
all of them met at breakfast. Students were counted several times over. One student was
missing. After a while his classmates confessed that a pupil of the fourth grade, Kuba, hadn´t
been in his cabin all night long. After teachers´ unsuccessful search for Kuba withing the
board, stressed and traumatized teachers called in the police. Some classmates, especially
girls, started flapping, crying and despairing. Neither the police found the pupil.
Time to go back to the bus was drawing nearer. Teachers´ and pupils´ stress was
increasing and intensifying. On the way to underdeck they met one of their bus drivers, who
told them excitedly that he had found a sleeping student under the bus seat. It was a big relief
for the traumatized teachers. How it happened? Children initiated a special sleeping system
during the bus trip. One slept on the two-seat and the other one slept under. While they were
leaving the bus and boarding the ferry, Kuba, sleeping under the seat, didn´t wake up and
noone noticed him under the cover, not either the drivers.
Fortunately, Kuba was a stoic, took it in good part and didn´t even mind that he
missed tasty breakfast aboard.
The boy´s classmates were reproved that they had concealed Kuba at night. Teachers
felt greatly exhausted, but on the other hand happy that all came right.
Secondary psychotraumatizing is for example a situation when pupils, students
or teachers are not traumatized themselves, they are not primary victims, but they were
witnesses of primary traumatizing of someone close, e.g. a classmate, friend, relative
or colleague. They are experiencing intensively their traumatizing, which negatively
influence their own mental condition.
This is mostly less intensive than the primary traumatizing.
There is an example of a first-grader Pavlík´s classmate traumatizing: his classmate
watched a situation when Pavlík asked a teacher if he could go to the toilet.
It was ten minutes to the break. A teacher got angry, she shouted at him that he must
hold out and he wasn´t allowed to go to the toilet. And Pavlík wet. He started crying.
A teacher told him off for the incident and made fun of him in front of the whole class.
Classmates didn´t lough though. They were sorry for him. A teacher left him sitting at
the desk till the break and after the lesson she took him to the headmaster´s room with
dislike. Some pupils were stressed by the situation, although they were not concerned
Tertiary psychotraumatizing means such a situation when pupils, students or
teachers are witnesses of traumatizing people who they hadn´t known before and hadn´t
had any close relationship with them. Nevertheless, they feel stressed. Tertiary traumatizing
is generally less intense than primary and secondary traumatizing.
An illustrative example may be brush-up for state exams of two students (fri93
ends), who decided to study at campus. Their revision was disturbed by tertiary psychotraumatizing,
when an angry husband, whose wife cheated with a student, arrived
to the campus,. Her husband came to punch a student, so that a student was bloodily.
Studying friends didn´t know the beaten student, but the experience disturbed their next
study for the exam.
Quarternary psychotraumatizing means such a situation when pupils, students
or teachers are notified of psychotraumatizing other (unknown) people viva voce or
visually (e.g. through a film). If it concerns a sensitive or even hypersensitive personality,
this kind of traumatizing may have a negative influence on his mental condition. This
traumatizing is generally the least intensive.
We give an example of a viewer, who leaves TV news:
Why do I leave TV news? I leave it because during TV news we are mainly
provided informations with negative examples. During the programme we are presented
criminals, politicians´ quarrels and abuse, someone who offended, rises in
prices etc. I think that not only TV news lacks balance between negative and positive
Pupils´s, students´ and teachers´ symptoms of psychotraumatizing
The most frequent symptoms are hyperarousal, hyperexcitation, hypervigils,
psychic tension, panic, permanent expectation of danger, conflict, stress, frustration.
They may be situational, short-term or long-term. It seems that in some teachers there
is such a reactivity a steady state, typical for their behaviour, by reason of their personality
and temperament disorders or profession deformation. According to pupils
and students, teachers have "choleric behaviour" or temperament, going together with
shout, abuse, mockery, irony, self-will, corporal punishments, humiliation of the students
regarded as "difficult" by the teacher.
Of sorts, teachers with stabilized hyperexcitated behaviour consider this behaviour
to be a useful deterrent customizing technique, which reduces a great part of
hyperactivities, assertivities and agressions in active and self-confident pupils and students,
because it evokes anxious reactions or fear of a teacher.
The second frequent symptom of psychotraumatizing is intrusive behaviour,
including annoying, persistent and obsessional feelings, resulting from psychotraumatizing,
sometimes even with inclination to compulsions. Continual imagining of
traumatic situations and thinking about what had happened, often go along with so
called flashbacks, leading to the similar experiences that were evoked by the original
traumatic situation.
The third common symptom of psychotrauma is so called psychic constriction,
sort of inner psychic constriction, immobilizing "choke", which may have either acute
or chronical character. It concerns deformed reception which has a character of passive
defence customizing mechanism. It causes sort of temporary anesthesia against experienced
psychotrauma. It is an avoidance reaction.
Pupils and students often mentioned these symptoms of their psychotraumas.:
reduction of their confidence when their intelligence, appearance, weight, way of dressing
were mocked,
aversion against a teacher or a subject,
reasoning block,
chronic fear of "choleric" teacher behaviour,
fear or phobia of examinating and unfair evaluation,
abdominalgia, emesia,
bowel symptoms,
nausea, swoon,
generally increased neuroticism.
Level of pupils, students and teachers psychic vulnerability
All people, both children and adults, don´t have the same level of psychical vulnerability,
(actual and long-term).
Some people are more resistant, other people are sensitive or even hypersensitive.
Stress hardiness, personality immunity and peevishness should be trained and developed.
We should take this fact into account especially in educational system.
Psychotrauma-prone are sensitive or hypersensitive people, run-down after suffering
from diseases, injuries or surgeries, people with low self-confidence.
To a certain extent it may be related to the inherent, genetic matter.
Sensitive personality even experiences psychotrauma if he had traumatized
someone else, though unwillingly, not on purpose.
Phases of psychotraumas being experienced at school
The first phase of adaptation syndrom, according to H. Sely, is an alarm, emergency
phase. It shows symptoms of strong excitation, hyperarousal.
The second phase of adaptation is a resistance.
An organism tries to get used to traumatizing, to adapt. There often occur obsessions
and intrusions during this phase.
The third phase of adaptation is exhaustion, which is a complex, hollistic failure
of adaptive and regulating organism mechanisms. It may results in a serious health or
life threat.
Prevention and therapy of psychotraumatizing at schools
Primary prevention of psychotraumatizing at school
Teachers and parents should be well-informed how to prevent from mental difficulties
and disorders of pupils, students and even teachers themselves, and how to build
healthy lifestyle and communication skills. Education promoting healthy lifestyle is
very important.
Secondary prevention of psychotraumatizing
Here belongs right diagnosis of difficulties and disorders caused by psychotraumatizing
at school, their remedies. Early diagnosis of psychosocial problems is a condition
of their adequate remedy. We recommend properly applied debriefing, crisis intervention,
counselling and psychotherapy.
Tertiary prevention of psychotraumatizing
The point is to prevent from further deterioration of the developed difficulty or
disorder, nevertheless, we should take into account that complex recovery is either very
difficult or impossible. There is also emphasized self-help, self-care, resocialization and
Quarternary prevention of psychotraumatizing
It involves identification of the developed and chronical difficulty or disorder,
which is not possible to correct totally, but at least it is possible to reduce some
results. What is important is a well-informed self-care and supportive social communication.
Psychosocial and pedagogical support and help after acute psychotraumatizing detection
First of all it is necessary to enable a traumatized person defusing, i.e. a chance
to confide to someone, to unbrace spontaneously in the interview, to free of accumulated
explosive emotions. It may even be laic social support of friends, classmates, colleagues
or relatives. Both a child and an adult, who experienced acute psychotraumatizing,
should have possibility to weep out, cry out, complain, swear, relax. It is not suitable
to persuade him that he should be brave, so that he can help himself without crying and
help of others.
An example of defusing, provided by an older sibling after a strong conflict of
a first-grader with her teacher. The pupil was told off because she prompted to her classmate
during a maths test. During the break she went to his brother, who was in higher
grade of the school. She told him everything while she was crying. Her brother stilled
her and told her: ,,Kačka, in the morning teacher got upset over something and unfortunately,
you caught it. Don´t bother about it. Everything is going to be all right again.
Just breathe deeply". He accompanied her to the classroom and helped her to prepare
teaching aids for the following lesson. After the break he went to his classroom. Kačka
expected the conflict to continue but a teacher behaved as if nothing had happened,
which suprised Kačka pleasantly.
Another suitable way is to enable traumatized persons debriefing, i.e. one-shot
official counsel (often group), where the traumatizing event is analysed and adequate
antitraumatizing intervention or corrective professional care are proposed.
Sometimes it is even necessary to provide professional and specialized antitraumatizing
It involves long-term professional counselling or psychotherapeutical care,
which is realized by psychologists, psychiatrists, special and social educators. Sometimes
a solution may be to change a class or a school.


KOHOUTEK, R.- FILIPKOVÁ, E. Psychotraumatizing of Pupils, Students a Teachers at Czech schools. In Quality of Live in the Context of Health and Ilness. BRNO,MSD, s.r.o., s. 90-96, 2008, s. 90-96. ISBN 978-80-7392-073-9.


24. května 2012 v 15:52 | Prof.PhDr.Rudolf Kohoutek,CSc.
ADAPTIVE METHODS for mental strain management may be broken down as follows:
- aggression;
- escape.
Active (rather typical of extroverts):
- attracting of attention;
- identification;
- substitution;
- rationalisation;
- projection.
Passive (rather typical of introverts):
- isolation;
- negativism;
- regression;
- repression;
- fantasy.
It is necessary to realise that the individual adaptive techniques overlap and that
they do not exclude each other.

The adequate application of adaptive techniques results in the adaptation, which
is a certain status (level) of coping with effects which a person suffers in the social process.
Conditions of dysadaptation are the result of an inadequate application of adaptive
Aggression is an active reaction to diffi cult situations in life which quickly reduces
the existing mental tension.
Aggression may be adequate or inadequate, specifi c, expressed differentially,
accurately focused or non-specifi c, non-differentiated, "blind". Specifi c aggression
requires a certain amount of feeling of dignity and strength.
We consider important the following list of behavioural signs or symptoms,
which may eventuate in aggression and verbal or also brachial aggression. They are
described e.g. by Milan Šulek (1998).
1. Overall affection (nervousness) and agitation.
2. Often and fast movements of upper limbs.
3. Warning gestures.
4. Foot tapping.
5. Long staring in the eyes.
6. Disturbance of the personal space of the manager.
7. Bumping in the table or other parts of equipment.
8. Taut up to tenacious posture.
9. Tense facial muscles.
10. Blushing.
11. Tics of facial muscles.
12. Bumping of fi st in the palm.
13. Poking.
14. Sudden change in behaviour.
15. Getting pale in the face.
If there has already been an aggressive reaction against some person, the following
approach is recommended:
1. One should try to make a calm impression, behave with self-control and self-assurance,
however not to be disapproving or bossy.
2. Speak in a normal tone.
3. Make attempts at the distraction and shifting of attention.
4. Approach step by step an escape path.
5. Avoid being "cornered" in the room.
6. If the aggressor has a weapon, s/he should be asked to put it down.
7. Eliminate objects (e.g. ash tray) which could be used as weapons by the aggressor.
8. People inciting the aggressor should disperse.
9. Non-involved people may be asked for help or for help mediation.
10. Do not look in a "different direction".
Aggression may be also broken down into an open (direct) and disguised aggression.
Disguised forms of aggression are, e.g., as follows: raillery, banter on the expense
of others, caricaturing of others, ignoring of the pleading of others, derogation, irony,
sarcasm, defamation, accusation of others for circumstances and self-accusation.
Open forms of aggression are, e.g., as follows: disapproving mimicking, verbal
offences, warning gestures, vulgar words, rebelling, brachial (hand) aggression, anger
Heteroaggression is an aggression directed to other people.
Auto-aggression is an aggression directed to oneself. It may be total (suicide
attempt) or elective (biting one's lips, ripping one's hair out, etc.). A person punishes
oneself for things which s/he considers wrong.
Suppressed aggression often leads towards so-called somatisation: a psychosomatic
disease, high blood pressure, ulcerous disease, brachial attack, etc.
Transaggression is an aggression transferred to another object or person (also
vendetta belongs here).
This is, in a certain way, rather an escape than aggressive reaction. Let's mention
one example: In Japan, some large companies had dummies made with faces of managers
and other important local civil servants. Every employee may slap such dummies
in the face as s/he wishes.
A common example of so-called "cycling" is when a subordinate is verbally attacked
by his manager and he does not dare to protest; when he comes home, he rebukes
his wife without any reason; his wife vents her tension by slapping her child; the child
starts torturing some domestic animal or breaking down her/his toys.
Causes and conditions of aggression may be, e.g., as follows: frustration, confl
icts, stresses, excess of energy, lack of self-control and discipline, jealousy, rivalry,
feeling of not being understood, lack of acceptance feeling, fatigue, hunger, suffering,
disorder of the basic life mood, etc.
Human aggression (also aggression in children) was scientifically addressed e.g.
by Ivo Čermák (1999).
Resistance of an individual against frustration, so-called frustration tolerance,
stands for a functional unity of personality, motivation and social characteristics.
A case of a typical frustration, for example, may be a situation when a child's
failure in a cognitive demanding school task is made socially public on the background
of social acknowledgement of successful pupils (students).
Zdeněk Mlčák (1999) found out that both in a situation of frustration or devaluation
and a situation of acknowledgement - evaluation, introvert children show in a 1 %-level
of signifi cance a markedly higher level of anxiety as compared to extrovert children. In
individuals suffering from any form of central nervous system disorder, many impulses,
which are indifferent for healthy and well-balanced individuals, play a role of stressors
or labilisers.
Stressors (labilisers) together with other negative environmental conditions affect
mental and corporal health. Quality and quantity of health problems is closely linked
to the adaptability of an individual. Adaptability enables an individual to fl exibly
react to changes of external and internal environment and to head towards biopsychosocial
balance and wellness.
A pre-stress situation stands for such a level of tension which an individual is
able to withstand without succumbing to an increased neuroticism or nervousness.
Stress is manifested as tension which infl uences emotions, thinking, conative
effort and physical condition of every person. Stressful conditions are caused by socalled
stressful situations, which may be classifi ed into four groups as follows:
Anticipation stress (e.g. fear of possible failure or ridiculing);
Time stress (too many things must be done in a short period of time);
Event-related stress (we are endangered by acute extraordinary life events and
labilisers, e.g. serious illness);
Stress caused by negative social contact (misunderstanding in the family, at
work, with superior or subordinate people).
Approximately 57 % of stresses originate in the workplace, and around 43 % of
stresses originate in family and private life.
It is possible to distinguish manifestation of stress in the somatic area (e.g. headaches),
emotional area (e.g. hyperaesthesia) and the behavioural area (e.g. compulsive
A higher resistance against frustration and stress is usually observed in so-called
"strong" personalities, and a lower resistance is found in "weaker" personalities with
over-sensitive and maladaptive reactions even to less demanding life situations.
To a large degree, the reaction depends on inherent (constitutional) characteristics
of the individual, health condition and age and experience in life, and a learnt
manner of coping with demanding situations.
A gradual increase of demands, problems and obstacles makes the organism to
cope with them and its resistance grows. On the other hand, an unexpected sudden collision
with a highly frustrating situation easily causes a condition of frustration or stress, or
it may lead towards the occurrence of a neurotic reaction or neurosis or other disorder.
An important role in the creation of optimistic life attitude and resistance to
frustration and stresses might be played by experiences of the individual obtained in
early childhood (e.g. refusal of the child; too severe approach to the child; inconsequent
The escape is a manner of or attempt at the reduction of mental tension in
demanding life situations (especially in a strange territory).
Escape and its Types:
Purposeful overhearing or overlooking;
Evasion using a verbal excuse;
Unusually adaptive (conformist) behaviour;
Escape to loneliness, isolation, selective interaction;
An individual consciously and subconsciously evades people and situations which
could endanger her/his self-consciousness and disturb her/his feeling of her/his own
value, and on the contrary, s/he seeks such people and situations who confi rm her/
his positive self-approach or who even help to increase her/his self-consciousness;
Escape to intense or stereotype activity or work (e.g. washing the fl oor although it
is clean);
Escape to mysticism;
Escape to disease (e.g. in hysterical personalities, such an escape may be conscious,
purposeful but also semi-conscious or unconscious);
Escape to alcohol, drug-addiction;
Escape to resignation, to the world of illusions.
Active Adapting Operations
In terms of the fi rst out of two adapting techniques - aggression, we may describe
fi ve special types of active adapting operations:
- Drawing of attention;
- Identification;
- Substitution;
- Rationalisation;
- Projection.
Drawing of Attention
This means an increased egocentrism and a necessity to reduce the inferiority
complex. It often appears in neglected, overlooked, refused and underestimated persons,
or persons educated in a too strict manner, and also in people who were exposed to an
exaggerated admiration, exaggerated care and often provoked to acting, attraction and
"monkey tricks".
Examples of non-adequate drawing of attention are e.g. too loud speech, boasting,
ostentatious behaviour, exaggerating, not letting the others have their say, speaking
mostly of her/himself, non-reacting to suggestions of another person, eye-catching hairdo
and clothing, effort to attract attention by means of unusually self-contained or undisciplined
In young children, so-called "body language" may be observed: crying, breathholding,
fi ts of anger, wetting one's clothes, fouling, sucking one's thumb, nail biting,
pendulous movement, apastia, lingering over one's meal, vomiting, pulling faces, etc.
Some children draw attention of people around also by means of stammering, stuttering
or dyslalia in their speech even when they are capable of a correct pronunciation.
Identification ("identifying")
Identifi cation means that people take over certain manners of expression and
characteristics of other people. Not just the content is imitated but also the form: gestures,
mimicking, hair-style, clothing, voice melody, voice strength, vigour of speech of
people with whom one identifi es her/himself.
By means of identifi cation a person achieves socialisation on various levels
depending on the level of her/his ideal. By means of identifi cation a person takes selfconfi
dence and self-assurance; s/he stresses the merits of close people or groups to
which s/he belongs: e.g. a person boasts of the profession or property of her/his relatives,
success of her/his sports club, school or workplace, etc.
A person may identify her/himself with:
Individuals (parents; friend; teacher; actor; excellent, clever, educated individuals
but also frustrators);
Reference group (class, school, company, army branch, sports club, one's own or
foreign nation, etc.).
It is also possible to identify oneself with past values of a group, e.g. town tradition,
family origin;
Things (equipment of a fl at, summer house, car). Such people often think of what
they have and not who they are;
Ideas (e.g. Comenius, Hus, etc.).
The level and form of one's identifi cation is closely related to the integrity, stability
and moral level of the personality. If so-called neurotic (extremely exaggerated)
identifi cation occurs, i.e. introjection, the person loses her/his own personality and originality.
The person does not have her/his own vocabulary, lifestyle, expression, voice,
smile, movements and does not express her/his own thoughts. Knowing with what or
whom the person identifi es her/himself may be the starting point for her/his correct
education or re-education.
This means alternative adaptive mechanisms (sublimation, compensation and
somatisation or conversion).
Sublimation ("refusing", "improvement") means that socially disapproved behaviour
is substituted with socially approved behaviour. Sublimation reduces the feeling
of guilt. Not every person is capable of sublimation.
Depth psychologists and educators consider the method of sublimation the most
effi cient method of education. Inner forces of a person are directed (inner instinctive
energies) and the energy of these is transformed to socially useful and valuable activity.
The compensation means that a person tries to compensate the impossibility of
the achievement of success in one area with a success in another area, no matter if such
an area is related or completely different. In such a case, an intellectually less equipped
person likes to show off her/his physical qualities and skills (e.g. swimming, wrestling),
ownership of material possessions or intake of large quantity of drinks, drugs or food.
Somatisation (conversion) means that a person transfers her/his mental strain into the
functioning of corporal systems (which leads, e.g. towards the development of high
blood pressure, gastric ulcers, inexplicable headaches, allergy problems and other civilisation
Rationalisation means explaining and excusing of rather improper and irrational
behaviour with socially acceptable rational reasons. Rationalisation protects against feelings
of one's guilt, remorse. On the other hand, alibism stands for a conscious transfer
of facts to different levels of meaning; it is a manifestation of rational constructivism,
which of course does not comply with the reality.
The reality is usually rationalised applying a method of "sour grapes" or "sweet
lemons". Applying the method of "sweet lemons" people make their situation subjectively
more bearable. For example, a person who has fallen ill feels happy because s/he will
have time for reading. A student, who has not been too successful in exams, may rationalise
her/his situation applying the method of "sour grapes": "I am not a boring crammer."
So-called intellectualisation is a mechanism similar to rationalisation; it is often
applied by people suffering from human-relations anxiety - it is an attempt at the
protection against emotional content of impressions or situations, an attempt at understanding
these exclusively from the rational point of view. However, an attempt at the
elimination of pain and other unpleasant emotional experiences often results in the loss
of ability to experience pleasant experiences.
This method reduces feelings of guilt, anxiety, tension, etc. applying the mechanism
of "I judge you according to myself". It is also related to suspicion, to paranoid
Projection may be assimilative or contrarious, refusing, negativistic. In relation
to the projection, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy also use terms transmission and
counter-transmission. This means blaming another person, blaming so-called "objective
causes," etc.
In an assimilative projection, a person attributes to others such characteristics
and motives which s/he admits in her/himself but of which s/he knows that they are not
correct ("everybody lies, steals, gets drunk, etc."). Such a person attributes her/his own
negative characteristics also to the others.
In a contrarious projection, a person attributes her/his guilt, negative characteristics,
omission and negligence to others, denying such characteristics in her/himself.
("I think you don't love me.") Externally, her/his behaviour is contrary to her/his real
motives. ("Everybody except me is inapt here ".) Also excuses such as an existence of
objective problems, extrapunitivity ("The machine is bad.") and impunitivity ("This is
force majeure, nobody can be blamed for this, not even I.").
Sometimes, in stead of contrarious projection, terms such as contrarious reaction,
formed aggression or reactive formation are used, ("Women are the cause of all the
depravation", wicked men use to say). A close relation of the projection (transfer) to
the repression may be observed in such a case. Sometimes, the negative projection may
be observed among the involved (there are pathological transfers and counter-transfers
Passive Adaptive Operations
In terms of the second basic adaptive technique - escape - the following fi ve
special types of passive adaptive operations may be described:
- Isolation;
- Negativism;
- Regression;
- Repression;
- Fantasy.
This means a withdrawal into one's shell, into solitude, due to a fear of failure
when resolving a diffi cult situation, of humiliation, harsh competition.
Isolation may be short-term, transitory or long-term, chronic. The more diffi cult
the life situation, the more people become reserved. However, sometimes a paradoxical
reaction appears - some people, under the heavy pressure of fear and fatigue, become
spontaneously communicative, and such a communicativeness is discontinued only
when the critical situation is overcome.
Isolation reduces the opportunity to acquire manner of behaviour necessary for
living in a group, which increases the probability of frustration incidence in the future.
Isolation is often connected to resignation.
People suffering from some incurable physical handicap are prone to isolation,
apathy and solitude (e.g. deaf and hard of hearing people). Sometimes, however, after
having overcome the initial distrust or aversion, it is possible to achieve a limitation of
such a mechanism and such a resignation may be overcome.
This is a behaviour contrarious to what is expected or required, or what is required
in a certain situation.
Sometimes this means an exaggerated tendency towards opposition, independence,
freedom and originality. It may be either passive or active, disguised or open.
Negativism is usually strengthened by concessions of the others. Some people are socalled
opponents on principle.
Adequately applied negativism strengthens self-consciousness, it helps to develop
independence, activity, initiative and stamina. It trains a person for the immunity against
undesirable effects, it helps the keep one's opinions also when being under pressure.
At the young age, negativism is manifested, e.g. by holding one's breath, affective
respiratory spasm, outbursts of anger, selective mutism, etc. In the teenage phase, an
increase of negativism may be observed. A young person, in her/his strive for independence,
likes to confront her/his opinions with those of the adults. In old people, negativism
is a form of a protest against decreased satisfaction with life processes.
Regression (infantilization)
This is a regression to a previous behaviour or reactions which were considered
acceptable in the previous phases of development, however, currently they are not
Regression may be often observed in emotionally disappointed, old, injured and
sick people. A person behaves like a little child, or her/his behaviour is loutish or stubborn.
For example, a three-year-old child also wants a pacifi er after its younger sibling
is born; it starts wetting itself again although it was already able to keep clean, it wants
to be cuddled, nursed. Also elderly people's yearning for "good old times" belongs to
this category. In tired people, mechanisms of regression may be observed much more
frequently. Such people are e.g. more dependent on good human relations.
So-called fi xation is also a type of regression (e.g. stereotypifi cation of activities;
repetition of the same mistakes; e.g. importance of learning by heart is stressed in selfinstruction;
fi xation on the observance of one's own health condition), it means that one
become fi xed to a certain object or a manner of meeting one's needs in situations which
should require a different behaviour.
Transgression is a contrarious phenomena, i.e. behaviour higher from the developmental
point of view than it could be expected at a certain age (e.g. fear of death in
a healthy child; exaggerated politeness and austerity, etc.).
This means a complete or partial suppression, denial of different affect-charged
information, impulses, motives and facts. Such situations are suppressed which are
painful, burdensome, socially or personally unfavourable, etc.
A person often reacts by means of the repression mechanism to such thoughts
and tendencies which are not in compliance with her/his gaols, ideals and principles.
This is a sort of a selective perception.
In such cases, denial is a sort of a symbolic "eyes-shutting " and "ears-shutting"
to some adverse information and facts, which one cannot cope with and prefers to create
her/his own more optimistic version of the reality.
This includes the overhearing of warning, recommendation, invitation, request,
some forms of inattention, such as protection against overload, hysterical inactivation
and so-called segregation.
For example, a person who most of the time lives a decent life, forgets from time
to time her/his principles and goes to "blow off steam", in order to release her/his inner
tension and "retune" her/himself. However, segregation may lead towards disintegration,
a split of personality.
Repression is often connected to pervasive phobia (fear).
Fear is similar to anxiety, but it has an objective character. It also has a protective
function and it is based upon a functional tension. It is a preparation of the organism for
an increased activity, especially its fi rst phase (higher perception selectivity, accelerated
reactions, accelerated metabolism). In the second strengthened phase of fear, tension
becomes dysfunctional and it disturbs the activity.
The mechanism of an escape to fanciful, dream-like satisfaction of frustrated
and deprived necessities is sometimes observed also in artistic work (The Grandmother
by Božena Němcová), but also in non-creative mechanical work, monotonous activity,
lack of social participation, and also in an excessive social stimulation immediately after
a failure.
Fanciful adaptive mechanism reduces tension and anxiety. It often has a form of
daydreams. Three phases may be experienced during fanciful dreaming: escape, gradual
relaxation and a beginning of a new prospect. There is a certain danger in an exaggerated
fanciful dreaming as it may become a bad habit.
The substitute activity is related to fantasy; reading, video, movies, television,
tourism, sport, visits to entertainment centres, etc. are means of a temporary "shuttingoff"
of the external world. Such means are important for the maintaining of mental balance,
however they should not substitute the reality in a too one-sided manner. An increased
fanciful activity, so-called daydreams, is rather typical of the teenage character change.
People should apply the individual adaptive techniques in an adequate manner in
order to strive for an improvement of their mental and personal resistance when resolving
diffi cult life situations (including confl icts).
Every person should acquire the widest possible repertory of adaptive mechanisms
and apply these in the most differential and fl exible manner (in compliance with
environment, situation, age, time and area of life). This should also be the goal of the
educational care.
Preference of the individual types of adaptive techniques and the fi xation of these
depends on the grade to which a person has applied such a technique for tension reduction
in the past, on one's personality type and temperament. Even in diffi cult situations,
people should be able to keep calm and consider or change their goals and the ways
leading towards such goals.
Ethic aspects should be the principal criterion of suitability of the application of
adaptive techniques.
However, people do not always act in compliance with a certain objective condition
of things and facts, but in compliance with their own opinion, mood, emotion,
attitude, according to their subjective attribution, evaluation and interpretation of the
situation. An egocentric tendency of self-protective attribution is often observed, i.e.
a tendency to attribute one's success to her/himself and the failure to other people or
situation factors.
Lazarus's theory ( Jaro Křivohlavý, 1994) of four strategies of stress management
is also interesting: indifference, avoidance of the effect of noxa (stressor), attacking of
noxa and strengthening of one's own strength sources.
R.S. Lazarus (1999) says that a person assesses every traumatic episode from the
point of view of its importance which it has for her/his further life. In the primary assessment,
such an episode may mean threat, loss or challenge for a person. In the secondary
assessment, a person assesses her/his own possibilities for the solution or management
of such a traumatic or stressful situation. Effects of a traumatic episode are usually more
serious than a threatening stressful episode.
The strategy of indifference means that the individual tries to cope with the strain
by means of impassive behaviour and minimisation of her/his interest. However, s/he
may succumb to feelings of helplessness, despair, from subdepression to depression.
The strategy of noxa´s effect avoidance (stressor) means an attempt at the escape
from the situation in which the stressor exists. Fear and anxiety are common in such
a strategy.
The strategy of noxa´s attack is an active (up to aggressive) attack against the
effect of the stressor with the objective to reduce its intensity or to eliminate it completely.
The strategy of strengthening of one's own force sources means an increase of
resistance of organism against strain, improvement of self-control, self-command and
self-motivation, which is a precautionary measure before the stressful situation breakout.
In the case of the strain breakout, there is an effort to manage such a situation
in an adequate or optimum manner by means of the application of effi cient protective
Many stresses and traumas could be prevented by the people who work with children
and young people, especially in the area of education, if knowledge of psychology
of health, psychohygienic, ethic and aesthetic standards were respected in the everyday

Jankovský, J. Etika pro pomáhající profese. Praha: Triton, 2003.
Kohoutek, R. Základy užité psychologie. Brno: Akademické nakladatelství CERM, 2002.
Olivar, R.R. Etická výchova. Bratislava 1982.
Vacek, P. Psychologie morálky a výchova charakteru. Hradec Králové: Gaudeamus, 2013.
Žilinek, M. Étos a utvaranie mravnej identity osobnosti. Bratislava: Iris, 1997

1.THE HISTORY AND PRESENT in career counselling

24. května 2012 v 13:36 | Prof.PhDr.Rudolf Kohoutek,CSc.

Gives information on the development of career counselling which
deals with professional counselling and guidance in the choice of career and studies.
Sound counselling has a positive effect on the person's peace of mind and personal
satisfaction of pupils and students of elementary and secondary schools in
the Czech Republic. Described are the basic theories, regulations and directives on
which the activities of the present educational and psychological career counselling
are based.

Career counselling, choice of career and studies, tradition, psychotechnics,
professiography, counsellors

At present career counselling is the abbreviated name for guidance in the choice of
profession and studies and in cases of adaptation problems in studies or profession.
In the European Union (as documents on the topic of counselling imply) the interest
in career counselling and its development is considerable because it is assumed that the
economic and social impact of counselling services will be seen in the optimal development
and employment of qualifi cations and talents on the labour market, the employment
rate and in making the productive and salaried labour market accessible for all who are
able to work.
The resolution of ministers of education of the European Union of 2004 says
that fi rst-rate lifelong counselling care is the key element of strategies in the area of
education, professional preparation and employment rate in order to achieve the strategic
objective of Europe to become the most dynamic society based on knowledge
before 2010.
Career counselling is about discovering the properties of the mind and personality
of the individual with regard to predictions of success of his/her study or working
activities and helping him to make an effective choice of the educational and career
path. It has a long tradition. Correct choice of career is closely connected with health
because it is the source of well-being and satisfaction.
As far back as antiquity it was known that not all men are formed to the same
end in their career as the stoic Epictetus, philosopher from the 1st century AD, stated
(56-136 AD):
"Friend, bethink you fi rst what it is that you would do, and then what your own
nature is able to bear. Would you be a pentathlonist or wrestler, consider your shoulders,
your thighs, your lions - not all men are formed to the same end". In his own way
Epictetus in fact anticipated the modern trend that before choosing a career everybody
should consider if his abilities are in tune with the requirements of the chosen career.
We can even go so far as to say that Epictetus pronounced one of the basic theoretical
problems in which present career counselling is involved. It is the problem of optimal
harmony between man and his activities.
However, in antiquity the profession was mostly based on clanship and more
or less was prescribed by social conventions. These restrictions applied for the ruling
classes as well; their members could not accept a profession which would no doubt be
in accord with their potentiality and aptitudes but would be in confl ict with their social
Harmony between man and his activities is dependent not only on his abilities
and skills and his overall potential. It is also dependent on his motivations, orientation,
i.e. on his needs, interests, tendencies, inclinations etc.
It is connected with the demand that man's activities be not only objectively effective
but also to evoke subjective feelings of satisfaction and well-being and in this
way contribute to man's healthy lifestyle. After all, health is defi ned not only as physical
contentment but also as psychological and social well-being.
As early as the medieval ages, and naturally also in modern times, we see that
fi rst it is demanded to examine the abilities, possibilities, aptitudes, potentialities and
other qualities of the individual, that is his potential subject and only then to choose
the type of studies or the profession. For instance the Spanish physician Juan Huarte
y Navarro (1530-1592) in his book Examen de los ingenios para las ciencias from
1575 on ability testing for scientifi c disciplines set down the rules for exploring the
capacities in various free professions and he proposed a motion to the government
to ensure that everybody should pursue such a career (occupation) which would be
most in accord with his natural talent. It was probably the fi rst textbook of differential
psychology. If we are to accept J.Huarte's proposal it is of course necessary fi rst of all
to specify exactly the demands which the profession or studies lay on the mind and
In 1708 at the new-humanistic university in Halle an offi cial letter from Berlin
appeared which as though urged to carry out selection processes in the professional and
study area for "those elements which on the basis of their intellectual qualifi cations are
not suited for university studies to be rather engaged in manufactures, crafts, military
service, even in agriculture".
Jan Ámos Komenský (1592-1671) voiced important opinions on future career
counselling and in his "Velká didaktika" (The Great Didactic) he stated: "The work of
the academy will be easier and more successful, fi rstly, if only youths of defi nite talent,
the elite of mankind, are sent there, while the others will be left to the ploughs, crafts and
trade, each to the end to which he was born."
In the 18th century Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) to a certain extent anticipated
the present opinion that to perform various professions various qualities ("steps") of intellectual
properties are necessary; today we embrace them in the conception of general
and special abilities. Kant differentiates three cognitive faculties: Verstand, Urteilskraft
and Vernunft. Verstand, i.e. the ability to imagine something under concrete terms, will
do for instance for a servant, whereas an offi cer who has to abide only by general rules
requires Urteilskraft, independent reasoning because he must make his own decision
whether the instruction is or is not a rule. Finally the general, if he has to deduce the
specifi c from the general and himself come up with rules, he must have Vernunft. In his
teaching that "many who become invisible on the highest step, stand out on the second
step," Kant is in accord with the recognised opinion that people of lower capacities and
possibilities cannot fi nd their place in the higher career category (the so-called Peter
Pan Syndrome).
However the findings of earlier thinkers have not penetrated generally and so
even today the statement of B.Pascal (1623-1662) that frequently "it is coincidence that
rules the most important matter in life - choice of career" although the economic, health
and moral losses from a bad choice of profession and studies are ever more obvious for
the individual as well for national economy.
Random or preferential selection of career which enables incapable individuals
to take up positions the demands of which they absolutely cannot manage and frequently
making individuals of outstanding qualities do simple and monotonous work is
a dangerous waste of intellectual powers of the nation.
In the 1920's, based on the exigency for adequate professional selection of individuals
for specifi c professions and as a consequence of technology progress which laid
increasingly higher demands on the human factor, a new branch of applied or practical
psychology, called psychotechnics, with its specifi c working methods, started to develop.
It was based on the mottos: "The right man for the right position" and "Contribute
to management with the natural talent of the population."
The idea of professional (now career) counselling emerged in the late 19th century;
it became more intensive at a time when the fi rst possibilities of differentiated
psychological studies of the psyche and personality of the individual appeared and when
general criteria were formulated of qualitative and quantitative assessment of the individual
differences among people, and that was in the late 19th century.
However career and study counselling centres as institutions did not appear until
the 20th century and rapidly spread to all cultural nations.
The fi rst career guidance centre was established at the instigation of Frank
Parsons (1854-1908) in 1908 in Boston; it became a co-initiator of the later international
movement, the scientifi c foundations of which were built principally by Hugo
Münsterberg, professor at Harvard University, who is also the author of the term psychotechnics
(with W. Stern).
Frank Parsons proposed to institute the special profession of "counsellors" and
began to organise courses for them. Apart from the techniques and methods of counselling
work he stressed the specifi c profi le of the counsellor highlighting his/her personal
traits, quick mind, university education and several years of practical teaching, social
work or work in other similar vocation, age over 25 years and wide knowledge in social
science disciplines (economics, history, sociology etc.). Basically Parsons wanted everyone
entering the job market to consider his own talents and interests and have knowledge
about the job. The result of a sound confrontation of understanding oneself and the
profession could be an adequate choice of vocation or studies. Through a confrontation
mechanism Parsons attempted to describe and infl uence the personality. His major work
"Choosing a Vocation" was published posthumously in Boston in 1909 at the Hougton
Morfi n publishing house.
The concrete impetus for H. Münsterberg's (1863-1916) studies was the increasing
number of accidents on electric tram lines in large cities in USA before WW1.
The owners of the tramlines asked the German psychologist living in the USA to explore
the human factor of the accidents.
Münsterberg proceeded by modelling some of the components of the work process
of drivers of electric trams stressing the changes in the working situations and studying
the mental reactions of the drivers. He used the conclusions of this research in his
psychological selection of candidates for the jobs of tram drivers. The accident rates of
drivers selected by the psychologist (psychotechnician) were compared with accident
rates of drivers of the control group who had not been subject to psychological tests and
showed that psychological counselling was very effective when choosing candidates for
the jobs of tram drivers.
Later Münstenberg explored the job of female telegraph operators and other professions.
Basing on his results he formulated the following scientifi c-practical conclusions:
to succeed in a number of professions one must be equipped with a complex of
mental traits and each one must exist within certain limits or boundaries (both
lack and excess are undesirable),
for such professions obligatory selection is necessary (desirable) applying the
so-called small psychological experiments because the traditional methods of
selection when assessing the required traits of the psyche and personality were
According to Münsterberg the prerequisite for the development of psychotechnics
was on the one hand to establish and elaborate the vocational science (Berufskunde), i.e.
the professiographical determination of those traits which are important for the vocation,
on the other hand to construct and launch examinations to determine the candidate's
ability for the vocation. He further pointed out that it is necessary to explore not only the
general intelligence level but also memory, attention, motor and other functions of man.
Methods of psychological selection rapidly spread during WW1. Special psychological
services were formed in the armed forces for psychological selection. The fi rst
was apparently instituted in France to select airmen. Analogical services were formed in
England, Germany, Italy and the USA. In the USA one million and seven thousand soldiers
and forty thousand offi cers took tests organised for the literate and illiterate (army
alpha, army beta). The fi nal effect of the selection carried out by a psychologist many
times exceeded the costs involved.
The very fi rst counselling bureau was opened in Moravia on 15 November 1919
attached to the Czech department of the trade land council in Brno.
The psychotechnics department of the bureau was built up by the later academician
Otakar Chlup (1875-1965). Here an employment agency for apprentices was opened.
The fi rst counselling bureau in Bohemia was established in 1920, attached to the Land
Labour Offi ce in Prague. In 1921 the fi rst Psychotechnical Institute of Masaryk Academy
of Labour in the Czechoslovak Republic was instituted and was primarily involved in
physiology and psychology of labour in industry. Later this Institute branched off and as
the Central Psychotechnical Institute pursued issues of choice of career of adults. At that
time the director of the Institute in Prague was František Šeracký (1891-1942).
As early as 1932 academician Vilém Chmelař (1892-1989) characterised this new
situation saying: : "Only the 20th century brings a clearly formulated and therefore innovative
thought that the choice of career and consultations (hitherto based only on an interview
the validity of which is too dependent on the personality of the interviewing person)
must be based on scientifi c grounding; that young people and adults will not be assigned
to positions primarily on the basis of the social conditions and job market but according
to their talents and leanings (i.e. psychological aspect), health conditions and effective
distribution of the labour force within the entire national economy in order to prevent any
coincidences and other harmful side effects in the course of the choice of career."
In the Czechoslovak Republic the vocational guidance bureaus were instituted
usually at youth welfare offi ces but also other institutions began to be interested in
counselling; namely institutes for the development of trades, social and health institutes
and others. On top of that counselling bureaus of other specialisations were established,
for instance student (academic), military and other. Some companies also established
their own career counselling, e.g. Prague Electric Companies (which on psychological
grounds did not recommend about 30 % of candidates), Vítkovice Ironworks etc.
In Bohemia for instance Rudolf Mudroch (born 1904) explored the abilities of
young persons to practice the chosen vocations or studies. He devoted his attention to
apprentices, students of secondary schools and universities and he sought to exclude
individuals who lacked adequate intelligence, i.e. the necessary intellectual powers. He
proceeded in accordance with the then promoted psychotechnics and psychometrics.
Among others he was involved in the low quality of university students.
In 1930 he published his study "Otázka výběru studovaného dorostu" (The issue
of choice of the studied young people). He compared the results of a 70-minute investigation
with the school results and he came to the conclusion that his prognosis corresponded
with the annual school reports. Nevertheless he admitted that unfortunately we
have no objective 100% reliable methods to assess the student's aptitude for university
studies. Even today we have no such methods. Still, a 75% reliability of the diagnostic
psychological methods is better than only laic selection.
It is remarkable that as early as in 1933 the vocational guidance centres in Moravia
investigated medically and psychologically 24 % of all boys and 11.5 % of girls out of
the total Czech population of 14-year-olds. Academician Vilém Chmelař (1892-1989)
recommended to work out exact annual statistics of the supply and demand of young
people for all vocations across whole Moravia and to follow roughly the economic perspectives
of the respective branches.
The group and particularly individual investigations of the candidates in Moravia
were based on methods, tests and diagnostic examinations recommended by the Land Central Office for Choice of Career
in Brno. At the guidance centres the material obtained
from the investigations of the candidates was elaborated on a regular basis before
the end of May and in June the eligible candidates were placed and distributed. Many
schools and many craft enterprises did not accept candidates who had not undergone
psychotechnical examinations and were not found eligible for the respective vocation.
The Bohemian guidance centres were managed by the Prague-based Central
Offi ce for Career Counselling. However, the Moravian guidance centres were not managed
by the Bohemian central offi ce (personal statement of Stanislav Štech, (1967), the Brno
In 1939 the 59 guidance centres in Moravia examined 11363 young people, i.e.
34.6 % of all the school-leaving youngsters. Bohemian and Moravian guidance centres
closed down during WW2 (in 1941).
In terms of the investigations proper in the guidance centres, the investigation of
one individual took, on average, 5-6 hours.
Dozens of diagnostic tests were used. Collective investigations were frequently
conducted in the schools and they were completed with individual investigations at the
guidance centre. Many of the diagnostic tests had a high validity rate and were constantly
The counsels were confi dential and were passed on to the candidates or their
parents mostly only orally. In cases of contractual covenant the enterprises received the
recommendation in writing.
In actual fact the same principles of investigations in the guidance centres were
applied in all parts of the Czechoslovak Republic; small differences were only in the
greater or smaller emphasise placed on the individual methods. For career choice the
following was investigated: general and practical intelligence, defects of the senses (in
particular sight, hearing, sense of touch), level of concentration, memory, spatial imagination,
technical faculty, work speed, steadiness of hand movements and manual skill,
level of basic mathematical operations and some special traits required for performance
of the vocation.
As a certain drawback in career counselling we can see the tendency to diagnose
the psyche and to make decisions on the basis of a single or short-term investigation
and the assumption that many psychic traits are changeable only a little. Scientifi cally
and professionally insuffi ciently sound procedures could also be caused by the fact that
a large part of the staff working in career counselling were non-psychologists showing
interest in this problem, even though the staff of the centres mostly leaned upon the then
Central Psychotechnical Institute in Prague. Special individual psychological examinations
were conducted only in some cases.
It is beyond dispute that the staff of the Psychotechnical Institute, later the Human
Labour Institute and then the Czechoslovak Institute of Labour had a great share in the
development of professional counselling services. For instance J. Doležal (1902-1965)
worked here (he was director until the institute was dissolved on 30 June 1951), J.
Čepelák (1915-1989), Lubomír Stejskal and others. Allegedly (according to L. Stejskal) the
professional staff of the Institute counted more than a hundred members.
After WW2, in the 1950's to be exact, career counselling was mistakenly considered
as an institution preventing the development of economics. The staff of the labour
departments said that counselling would only complicate their work. Psychological counselling
was criticised particularly from the ideological point of view. The ground for the
anti-counselling arguments was the statement that after the defeat of the exploiting classes
a class society emerged and that there would be no problems with education, with criminality
of children and the juvenile and with the choice of career and studies. In various
forms these arguments lived on until the 1960's despite statistical fi ndings. It was as if
pedagogy was without children, i.e. without knowledge of their psyche, without psychology.
In the process of education the psychologists were taken as a foreign element, as a
"Trojan horse". Extremists even called them "sorcerers of imperialism".
In the totalitarian period a fi ner differentiation of people, as well as regard of
their individual traits, were not desirable.
After 1948 pursuant to the new Education Act career counselling was conducted
only in schools and the schools gave preference to economic-recruitment aspects and
administrative and organisation methods of work. The correlation among the social,
economic and individual aspect of professional counselling was underestimated.
It was not until the late 1950's that attention was again devoted to vocational and
educational counselling in our country and abroad. The countries most readily developing
career counselling institutions were Poland, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. In
Poland the fi rst psychological counselling was established as early as 1957.
In our country further development of career counselling was interrupted from
WW2 until 1957 when psychological consulting centres, psychological educational consulting
centres and clinics were established under the national committees (Bratislava
1957, Brno 1958, Košice 1959).


Kohoutek, R. Historie pedagogicko-psychologického poradenství. Brno: Akademické nakladatelství CERM, 1999. 24 stran ISBN 80-7204-115-0.

Koščo, J. a kol. Poradenská psychológia. Bratislava. Slovenské pedagogické nakladateĺstvo, 1987.544 stran.

2.The history and present in career counselling

24. května 2012 v 13:32 | Prof.PhDr.Rudolf Kohoutek,CSc.

The first Czech post-war psychological consulting centre was opened in 1958
in Brno. Its asset was that it re-established the tradition of broad co-operation of teachers,
physicians and psychologists (including co-operation in research activities). Since
its establishment the centre was also an educational facility of the Department of
Psychology and Pedagogy of the Faculty of Arts of J. E. Purkyně University in Brno.
Originally the consultation centre was economically and operationally affi liated to the
detention children's home in Brno and later came under the division for education of
the National Committee of Brno. Professionally and methodically it was managed by
Vilém Chmelař (1892-1989) and Boleslav Bárta (1929-1991) from the Department of
Pedagogy and Psychology of the Faculty of Arts of UJEP in Brno.

From the very beginning the centre's scope of activities was very broad. It was
engaged in children, young people (also university students) and adults. In co-operation
with the Department of Pedagogy and Psychology of the Faculty of Arts of UJEP
it carried out (in 1959-61) relatively extensive research activities in the fi eld of career
education and choice of career (the research confi rmed the success of the rectifi cation
of educational problems by means of developing special-interest activities focused on
professional orientation, and methods were elaborated to discover attitudes to career
etc.). Valuable were experiences in providing practical career guidance based on psychological
investigations. The Brno centre also helped to develop similar centres in the
territory of Moravia.
1 If we mention the Brno University before 1990 we use its then name UJEP (University of J. E. Purkyně)
which today is the name of the University in Ústí nad Labem.
These centres were always engaged in educational activities (holding professional
lectures and seminars for educational counsellors, parents, teachers, instructors
and counselling co-operators). Their popularisation and publication activities in the
media, radio and TV were also extensive. If required they conducted research in the area
of applied research, not only in career orientation. For instance, the effect of pre-school
collective education on the child's mental development was objectively and closely explored.
Since 1959 the Board of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the
Czechoslovak Republic had several times dealt with the preparation of young people
for their choice of career. On the basis of Resolution 21/60 of the Board of the
Ministry of Education career education was experimentally launched in school year
1960/61 in 30 selected schools in the CSR. The experiment was assessed at a session
on 10-11 April 1961 in Bratislava.
The session was attended by psychologists, educators and physicians. Special
attention was devoted to vocational orientation. The experiment conducted at selected
schools confi rmed that the idea to assign a specialised worker at the school to coordinate
career counselling was correct. The type of qualifi cation of this person should be new
- a career counsellor (originally a career and psychological counsellor or psychology
counsellor). At the same time a tentative study plan for career counsellors at university
departments of psychology was proposed.
The resolution of this working session said: "In conjunction with the extension
of the number of psychological counsellors to open psychological counselling in the
individual districts on the basis of experience of the existing clinics and careers service."
The attendants of the session came to the conclusion that in the area of career counselling
the session was a successful beginning to co-operation between psychologists and
teachers and physicians as well as representatives from the sphere of industry.
In 1961 the Ministry of Education instituted a central committee for career counselling
and began to devote attention to the education of talented students (although at
the same time they warned against elitism), to problematic backward pupils and young
The committee issued directives on the development of a system of education
counselling at elementary (1962) and secondary (1963 schools and measures in the area
of scientifi c and scientifi c-research activities.
Experimental post-gradual studies of career counsellors of elementary schools
were launched at the Faculty of Education of Charles' University in Prague in co-operation
with the Psychological Institute of Charles' University in the school year 1965/66.
At the same time studies of career counselling were opened at the Department of
Psychology of the Faculty of Arts of UJEP in Brno as post-gradual studies for graduates
of university teaching education and as university courses for those who were not.
Very important for the further development of psychological educational counselling
was the institution of the Research Institute for Psychology and Pathopsychology
of the Child in Bratislava in 1964 as an institution of the commission (later ministry)
of education. The sphere of activities was regional in the area of child psychology
for Slovakia and in the area of child pathopsychology for the entire CSSR. The
establishment of the institute was connected with the development of activities of the
Psychological Educative Clinic in Bratislava which since its establishment in 1957 had
not only been a centre of psychological, diagnostic and counselling care of the family
and school but gradually to a greater extent it undertook the solution of scientifi c
issues of development of the normal as well as the disturbed child. The new institute
also provided methodical assistance to the emerging psychological-educational facilities.
The Research Institute for Psychology and Pathopsychology of the Child also published
the important Czechoslovak professional and scientifi c magazine Psychology and
Pathopsychology of the Child.
The periodical Educative counsellor launched in 1964 had a certain impact on
the exchange of practical professional experiences among the counsellors and providing
theoretical information. The initiative to found the magazine came from Bratislava (the
credit goes to Oskár Blaškovič) but in the course of preparations of the fi rst issue the
Ministry of Education and Culture moved it to Prague. The fi rst editor-in-chief of the
Educative Counsellor was Jan Doležal (1902-1965), the then head of the Department of
Psychology of the Faculty of Arts of Charles' Univerity and after he died (15 January
1965) it was taken over by Marta Klímová.
The organisers of psychological counselling (J. Koščo, V. Chmelař, O. Blaškovič,
J. Hvozdík, M. Bažány, B. Bárta and others) were interested in creating an integrated
system of institutions of psychological counselling, i.e. such a system the internal structure
of which would horizontally embrace the entire scope of psychological issues. One
of the stimuli for the application of psychology in practice was the idea of development.
For instance Levitov, Vygotskij, Rubinštejn, Wallon, Piaget, Super, Stavěl, Chmelař and
others applied the developmental concept in their psychological theories. The central
cornerstone was the theory of developmental assignments which specifi es the basic
spheres of problems which virtually all individuals encounter: starting school, training
and education (including universities), choice of career, choice of partner, profession,
career, leisure time, parenthood, retirement, putting efforts into active old age, preparation
for death etc.
Vertically the system presents various levels of demands for psychological services.
In 1967 the fi rst instruction of the Czechoslovak Ministry of Education was issued
(29 March 1967, Ref. No. 4685/67-I/2) "On the institution of regional professional
psychological educative workplaces". As a consequence of the instruction a number of
new establishments emerged, especially in Bohemia (incl. Prague where the fi rst director
was Vladimír Hrabal).
In 1967 the Laboratory for Social Research of Young People and Career
Counselling was established in Prague at the Faculty of Education of Charles' University
originally headed by František Kahuda (later by Marta Klímová). The Institute
for Social Research of Young People and Career Counselling emerged from this
In 1968 at the Faculty of Arts of Komenský University in Bratislava the Institute
of Psychology of Career Development and Counselling was established (managed by
Josef Koščo) which in 1970 was again incorporated as a department of the Psychology
Institute of Komenský University.
The Institute of Psychology of Career Development and Counselling in
Bratislava methodically managed and professionally trained the staff of the regional
careers centres and through them also the careers counsellors at elementary and secondary
schools. This is also the beginning of university career counselling.
The representative of the offi cial Czech conception of counselling was Marta
Klímová, professor of the Faculty of Education of Charles University in Prague. She
maintained that since the establishment of the central committee for career counselling
at the Ministry of Education of CSR (in the 1960's) there were major discrepancies
between Czech and Slovakian professionals in terms of the conception of counselling.
It was seen in the disputes over the name of the counselling system; however it was not
only a matter of terminology, but a matter of the conception.
Marta Klímová always enforced the name educational counselling indicating
social practice, i.e. education which the counselling system should serve, while its opponents
(particularly in Slovakia and Brno) enforced the title psychological educational
workplace in order to highlight the main discipline of the system. Klímová considered
that highlighting the case studies of psychologists and exclusive use of the casuistic
or clinical method as erroneous. She also pointed out that the tendency to separate the
professional orientation, in terms of the concept and organisation, from the total process
of forming the child's personality as it was done (in her opinion) in Slovakia, was
unsuitable. In her opinion the result of highlighting the importance of psychology in
educational counselling in the early 1970's was that the principles of psychology were
given preference over the specifi c tasks of various areas of social practice which require
psychology. She criticised the Slovakian proposal of constituting a government body
which would administer counselling work with the individual. In fact, in Slovakia there
was a government committee for counselling issues whose secretary was K. Adamovič
(1934-1996). According to M. Klímová this went against the basic principles of philosophy
and social and human sciences and was also politically and objectively wrong. The
negative feature of Klímová's conception was also a retreat from the biodromal (or lifespan)
and supra-ministry orientation of the original psychological educational care.
The new terminology in the names of educational counselling centres appeared
for the fi rst time in 1972 in offi cial Czech materials elaborated by F. Zeman from the
Czechoslovak Ministry of Education. The annex of the resolution of the Czechoslovak
government No. 27/72 on the proposal to establish a system of counselling care for
children, youth and family for the fi rst time mentions educational and psychological
counselling centres and not psychological educational workplaces or workplaces for
psychological educational care.
The offi cial instruction of 2 April 1976 which codifi ed this new terminology
was issued on 28 May 1976 and was called Instructions on the System of Educational
Counselling in the Field of Activities of the Ministry of Education of the CSR (ref. no.
8172/76-201). These instructions helped to enforce the position of specialists in educational
counselling. These specialists occupied managerial functions in counselling.
For instance we consider that it is wrong to involve non-psychologists in the application
of psychological diagnostic methods regardless of the fact that allegedly some of
them achieve good results. That is to say that the replacement of psychologists in practice
by laics always presents some degree of danger. We even heard an incorrect opinion that
even "trained monkeys" can apply psychological methods and that trained secondaryschool-
educated laboratory technicians would do when applying psychological methods.
In our opinion it is also wrong that some non-psychologists as directors of educational-
psychological workplaces and other, for instance special pedagogy schools, tend
to overstep their competencies, they order the qualifi ed psychologists which methods
they should use and they even correct or modify their professional conclusions.
In principle the guidance centres remained to be scientifi c-practical, operative,
routine, methodical and explorative units which provided concrete service primarily to
schools and extra-curricular educational facilities and families. They also elaborated
results of their own routine research activities and they were engaged in the development
of diagnostic and remedial methods and prevention of behavioural disorders. In
fact many guidance services worked on the basis of generalisation of clinical (casuistic)
practice. (It does not apply to psychological counselling only, but also to counselling in
health service: pediatrics, internal medicine, oncology etc.).
Specialisation of counsellors in the respective departments of the centre enables
deeper penetration into the scope of problems. Spatial closeness and working with other
staff members of different specialisations gives the opportunity for consultations and
joint team solution of the case, and/or to fl exibly turn over the case to another specialist
if need be. A central uniform case documentation which is essential for such care in its
complexity provides abundant research material important for the practical educational
process as for theory and for the management of the society.
Exceptionally important is counselling of problem youth. We have in mind
a diversiform group of children and young persons whose common denominator is
that their social incorporation brings about many problems and that they require
special approach which is different from the approach to the majority of the population.
Here we place intellectually backward or defective children or juveniles and
children and young persons suffering light brain dysfunction but normal intellect,
children and young persons showing dissocial, asocial and antisocial behaviour,
children and young persons with limited working ability. With young people suffering
a permanent somatic defect which results in limited working ability the object of
the psychologist's interest is not the defect itself, but how the individual psychically
adapts to it and the specifi cities of the psychical reactive ability of the individual to
the handicap. If the mental handicap is permanent it is particularly a matter of how
to psychologically "measure" the defi cit and the consequences it has for placement
in the school and vocation. The way to a considerable reduction of various maladaptations
is solely to understand the regularities of their origin and their course and
on this based prevention.
Integration of the problems of the choice of career with educational problems is
in accordance with the narrow connection of problems of all educational-psychological
aspects of training the children and young persons. No matter what actual dominating
partial problem the psychologist resolves with the child or young person he must handle
it in connection with the other problems and with regard to the overall structure and dynamics
of the individuality of the concrete child or young person and with regard to the
overall psycho-social context of his/her hitherto and prospective development.
It still remains an arduous problem to implement co-operation and co-ordination of
the activities of school counselling with the health care institutions (school health service,
child psychiatry, youth medicine), with bodies of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
(labour economics, mobility, fl exibility of manpower, labour exchange and social security)
and with the planning bodies and other involved sections (Ministry of Justice etc.).
The co-ordination bodies of counselling care of children, youth and family established
by the Ministry of Education of CSR on 13 March 1973, ref. no. 7758/73-210 had to
provide functionally integrated counselling. However, the autonomist tendencies of the individual
ministries failed to be mastered. In the course of time their activities were inhibited.
Counselling has a number of components which should correlate in terms of
functional co-ordination and co-operation.
In the first place they are counselling activities:
social legal;
special pedagogy;
social pedagogy;
Educational counselling activities are closely connected, in the fi rst place, with the
school and the key role of the teacher in the educational process. Naturally this does not
exclude the part of partial educational activities and the part of pedagogics in the system
of counselling centres (e.g. didactic diagnoses and rectifi cation of didactic defi cits, advice
concerning concrete methods of the child's homework, rectifi cation of dyslexia and dysgraphia,
speech therapy - applying training and therapeutic pedagogical methods in cases
of speech disorders, methodical guidance of counsellors, methodical visits to schools,
co-operation in the guidance of psycho corrective and ortho-psychagogical groups, cooperation
in art-based education and therapy, art-therapy, bibliotherapy, musikotherapy,
co-operation in the organisation of holiday camps for problem children etc.).
Problem spheres in which the counselling-oriented pedagogical-psychological
centres were engaged from the very beginning can be divided into four groups:
psycho-didactic problems;
psycho-social maladaptation;
problems in psycho-social relationships;
problems of careers and study education.
The psycho-didactic problems include issues of the preparedness of the school,
teaching and study styles, problems of partial defects and disorders of gnostic functions,
didactic retardation due to extra-intellect and intellectual reasons, exploring the causes
of failure (at secondary schools and universities), problems associated with care of talented
individuals, differentiation of pupils in classes, psychological assessment of the
effectiveness of teaching methods, guidance to optimal self-education.
The correlation between the results of studies and higher intelligence is relatively
not very close. Especially for university students the extra-intellectual factors are evidently
very important. At the Faculty of Education UJEP in Brno Milada Hradecká and Grizelda Valová
(1974) discovered (N = 182; 38 males, 144 females) that the average IQ in Amthauer's
IST test was 103.4. In Raven's progressive matrices the IQ of 83.5 % was above 110.
The psycho-social maladaptations include diffi culties, neuroses, disorder
and disharmony of the personality, failure in profession or studies based for instance
on poor identifi cation with the subject of study and following intellectual passivity.
Hradecká and Valová (1974) discovered that the average neuroticism of students of the
Faculty of Education UJEP in Brno was 12.01. Using the Eysenck personality questionnaire
Libor Míček (1966) discovered on average 11.3 neurotic symptoms in 113 male and
324 female students of the Faculties of Art, Natural Sciences and Education of UJEP in
Brno. The average university female student had 12.4 neurotic symptoms.
Problems in psycho-social relations are cognition and formation of relationships
in the study group and teacher-pupil relationships, relations among members of
the teaching staff in terms of their infl uence on the pupils, family-school relationships,
relations among siblings, between students and parents, relationships among parents
in terms of the educational consequences. This area also includes social-psychological
aspects of managerial work in the school in terms of the school "atmosphere" and its
impact on the pupil and student.
Psychological issues of careers education and choice of career include longterm
monitoring of the development of traits of the pupil's personality with regard to
how he will make his mark in studies or profession in the future, finding and forming
individual interests in a career. The course of adaptation to the selected studies and later
assertion in the profession is monitored by means of catamnesis.
Each person tends to give preference to a certain group of similar activities and actually
in this way to incline to a corresponding grouping, bunches of related careers. Sometimes
the person's physical, sensory or other handicap forces him to take up this preference.
Job performance affects the development and maturation of a number of personality
traits (e.g. industriousness, willingness, initiative, diligence, precision etc.).
Most people can occupy a number of various professions because there are great
possibilities of compensation, of evening out the shortcomings with assets and particularly
the possibilities of training specifi c professional skills and habits.
In many aspects the theoretical bases of Holland's theory recognised at the
present time link up with the previous general principles of Donald Edwin
Super's (1910-1994) theory of occupational development which were formulated
in 1953 into the following ten principles:
People differ in their abilities, interests, traits and personalities.
By virtue of these characteristics each person is qualifi ed for a number of occupations.
Each occupation requires a characteristic pattern of abilities, interests and personality
traits (professional profi le) with tolerances wide enough to allow some
variety of individuals in a number of occupations.
Vocational preferences and competencies of people change with time and experience.
These factors then have a considerable infl uence on the choice of future
career and initial adaptation in the occupation.
The process of choice of concrete career consists of development and dynamics
through several life stages: (a) imagination stage; (b) stage of pre-choice; (c)
phase of realistic pre-professional choice of career; (d) phase of adaptation in
The nature of professional development of the individual is infl uenced namely
by: (a) the socio-economic standard of the parents; (b) intellectual powers; (c)
personality traits of the individual; (d) opportunities in which the individual fi nds
Systematic infl uencing of the individual's abilities, aspirations, interests and selfconfi
dence may signifi cantly shape the professional orientation of the individual
in the respective stages of his development.
The process of career development is a process of gradual self concept.
The process is a compromise process based on self-estimation and estimation of
other people; a compromise between the self concept and reality with which we
are constantly coping.
Work satisfactions and life satisfactions depend on the extent to which an individual
fi nds adequate outlets for abilities, interests, personality traits, and values
in occupation and personal life.
Theories which distinguish the personality types of the employees in relation
to the main types of work environment are very valuable; for instance the theory of
J. L. Holland who distinguishes the following environments:
motor - agricultural workers, machine operators, pilots, truck drivers, carpenters,
masseurs, repairers, dressmakers, painters, bricklayers, founders, excavator
operators, electricians, heating engineers etc.;
supportive - for instance teachers, counsellors, social workers, diplomats;
conformable - offi ce workers, accountants, secretaries etc.;
persuasive - for instance state offi cial, senior managers, insurance company
clerks, lawyers, businesspeople;
aesthetical - musicians, graphic artists, window-dressers, sculptors, painters,
writers, poets etc.;
intellectual - mathematicians, chemists, physicists, biologists, cyberneticists etc.
On the basis of his hitherto several investigations Holland pronounced a number
of hypotheses: persons better informed about the work environments can make a better
choice of career than persons less informed. The adequacy of choice of career is partly
a function of age because time provides more opportunities to collect information. Career
knowledge of persons with a more adequate choice of career is more differentiated and
organised than of persons with a less adequate choice of career. The volume of knowledge
about careers will be in positive correlation with the developmental hierarchy of man.
Persons will know more about careers which are at the top of his developmental
hierarchy than about careers which are at the bottom of his personal hierarchy of values.
This developmental hierarchy is explored by means of coded interest inventories.
Persons, who have an inaccurate understanding of themselves, including self-assessment,
may make inadequate decisions with regard to the extent and level of the choice.
Persons whose extent, orientation and level of understanding themselves are limited
(for instance in the relative level of intelligence) will present extremes in inadequate
choice of career; on the other hand, persons who have a relative accurate understanding
of themselves will make more adequate choices.
The relation between typological particularities of persons and types of human
activities are considered to be the theoretical basis of professional or career counselling.
The optimal approach for career counselling is the casuistic, structural approach
which thoroughly, universally and in the long term studies the individual cases from the
casuistic and prognostic aspect and compares them with professiographic analyses. It is
necessary to get to know the person comprehensively, in a team; to integrate the individual
pieces of information of his organism and components forming the structure of
his personality and to predict further development - perspective of his health condition,
personality traits and his behaviour, including his performance.
For instance when selecting and allocating people at their workplaces we should
not assign an unstable and unsettled (choleric) person to a workplace demanding predominantly
monotonous work, requiring intensive concentration and tenacity or, on the
other hand, we should not entrust a persevering but tardy person with work demanding
great adaptability and distributive attention.
The founder of the so-called technocracy school the American sociologist and
economist Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) saw the development of the society in the application
of socially psychological knowledge. With the increasing importance of technology
a new social group emerged - the technocrats. They controlled technological
and administrative production management.
The psycho-social conditions were fully
appreciated in the theoretical-practical movement called human relation which was
founded by Professor Elton Mayo (1880 -1949), professor of Harvard University.
The problem spheres of counselling are internally close-knit by causal associations
which are hidden behind the phenomenal association of the problems. For instance,
neurotic features of the personality, defects or disorders of the personality or perfunctory
interest in the career, which had not yet become a component of the pupil's personality,
often results in maladaptation to the career, to failure in the career or studies. On the
other hand the difficulties can be remedied by way of special-interest activities focused
on adequate choice of career or studies.
In 1994 the Institute for Pedagogical-Psychological Counselling of the Czech
Republic was instituted at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. It resolved current
issues of pedagogical-psychological counselling, co-ordinated the system of counselling,
further education of counsellors and the transfer of professional and methodical information
from the area of pedagogical-psychological counselling. Information about the issues
of counselling services is also published in the newsletter of the Institute for Pedagogical73
Psychological Counselling of the Czech Republic and is called Educational Counselling.
The present system of pedagogical-psychological counselling involves not only
educational counsellors and state-based, church and private pedagogical psychological
counsellors, but since 1990 also special pedagogical centres focused on the welfare of
the child and juvenile with sensory, physical or mental handicap and children and juvenile
with speech impediment and so-called centres of educational care ensuring prevention
and therapy of socially pathological phenomena in children and youth and counselling
in this area, not only as out-patients but also in the form of boarding schools.
With effect from 1 April 1998 counselling services were provided at schools and
educational facilities according to the methodical letter of the Ministry of Education,
Youth and Sports Ref. No. 13409/98-24.
Since 9 February 2005 Regulation No. 72 / 2005 Sb. on Providing Counselling in
Schools and Educational Counselling Facilities applies for school advisory centres.
At the present time psychologists working in counselling centres apply both the
psychometric and clinical-psychological (casuistic) approach according to their disposition
and to a various extent.
In our opinion the main method when drawing up the psychological case diagnosis
should be the casuistic method. In concrete single events the advisory method could
prevail. Along with casuistic methods and consultations all the counselling facilities
should have at their disposal a number of other techniques, including laboratory aids.
If the consultation is to be effective and of practical importance it must fulfi l a number
of necessary assumptions: in the fi rst place it assumes somebody who really wants the advice;
assumes that he is able to comprehend the advice correctly and shows efforts and skills to implement
it and, fi nally, assumes that he will be able to implement the advice consistently.
Psychologists working in the area of school counselling, apart from psychology, must
be familiar with pedagogic and the respective school, the same as psychologists in health
service must have orientation information about medical science and the health facility.
From February 2005 the pedagogical-psychological counselling centres work in
accordance with Regulation No. 72/2005 Sb. on providing counselling in schools and
educational facilities.
The critic of the mainstream of classical and traditional psychology, the English
philosopher and socially constructionist psychologist Rom Harré, can be ranked among
contemporary post-modern psychologists important for counselling; in 1972 together
with P. F. Secord he published the book "The explanation of social behaviour" and
since then a number of publications where he attempts to propose a completely new,
so-called ethogenic psychology or ethogenetics which links up for instance with microsociology
exploring microstructures, e.g. the family, school class, working group,
team, clan, ethno-methodological school of Harold Garfi nkel (born 1917), dramaturgical
interactionism of the Canadian sociologist Erving Goffman (1922-1982) who used
theatrological terms and analogues between the psychosocial life and theory to explain
social interactions, and the theory of bipolar personal constructs of the American psychologist
George Alexander Kelly (1905-1967) who pointed out the subjective, individual
and specifi c perception, imagination, thinking and feeling of the individual persons
whose content of even common personal concepts (terms, constructs) and their contrasts
often differ from the content of these concepts and their contrasts in other people.
Particularly R. Harré criticised these departures of psychology: a mechanistic model of
man, a "Hume" concept of causality and positivistic methodology.
We recommend that counsellors respect his anthropomorphous model of man
who approaches the individual as an autonomous human being (and not as a machine,
mechanism or computer, or as a non-human living organism) which lives in a certain
not always socially just economic, sociological and political system. Post-modern psychologists
(for instance Erica Burmanová (1997) were also exceedingly interested in
emancipation of men and women and they had the impression that traditional psychology
was too patriarchal (androcentristic) and dehumanised. It also means that psychology
should be socially more useful and increase the personal potentials of the individuals
in the given social and cultural context and if necessary to contribute also to social
and economic changes and political systems.
Traditional psychology is criticised for giving preference to positivistic and
quantitative natural-scientifi c methods, for an allegedly poor respect to the diverse cultural
and social contexts of the groups and communities, to the standard of social and
political justice, for not stressing enough the efforts for social usefulness and possible
a change in social systems.
Post-modern psychologists recommend diversion from the traditional quantitative-
oriented cognitive methods of psychology and tendency towards the new, qualitative
view of the social life of people and to the exploitation of the method of discursive
analysis (description and explanation of the concrete social behaviour, conduct, state of
matters and phenomena) and semiological use of narratives (stories, accounts), to intensive
exploration of natural social interactions, everyday conversations at workplaces
and in families. They have a more positive relationship to the hitherto practical psychology
than to theoretical psychology.

The conception of team, complex and biodromal development of counselling leads
to a positive self-concept and self development, awareness of one's limitations and possibilities,
formation of abilities, use of personal capacities and experience, fi nding the correct
lifestyle, social contacts, system of desirable personal values in all stages of life.
It seems that the area of professions whose psychic and somatic demands can be
mastered by every person of average health provided he/she is interested in the profession
is expanding ( Zbyněk Bureš, 1982). Education to the majority of such professions will be
conducted particularly by schools.
Special psychological diagnosis and special psychological counselling will be of
paramount importance only for some groups out of the total population of young people.


KOHOUTEK, R. Základy užité psychologie. Brno: Akademické nakladatelství CERM, 2002. 544 s.

KOŠČO, J. a kol. Poradenská psychológia. Bratislava: Slovenské pedagogické nakladateĺstvo,
1987.446 stran


24. května 2012 v 12:38 | Prof.PhDr.Rudolf Kohoutek,CSc.
In April 2007, a number of first-year students at the Faculty of Education
in Brno were asked to share their views of the positive and negative aspects of
schools, with regard to physical and mental health factors and social conditions. Their
opinions were based on their own experience with the school environment.
The study used a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods and
included 115 students (107 women and 8 men) chosen at random from the body of
first-year students at the Faculty of Education MU in Brno. Most of the opinions
elicited - whether positive or negative in relation to a possible impact on the students'
health - focused on the school environment (that is, the equipment, facilities, organization
and social environment). A number of opinions dealt with teaching methods,
but very few respondents mentioned the issue of open partnership (for example, the
school's active participation in the life of the local community). Some of the positive
and negative points mentioned provide a valuable contribution to the current WHO
and EU standards regarding the Health Promoting Schools Programme assessment
Healthy school, Health Promoting Schools Programme, research
methods, positive and negative aspects of school environment, learning/teaching, open
partnership, evaluation criteria.

The 'healthy school' concept
In our research, this abbreviated concept refers to the Health Promoting Schools
Programme. After 1989, this program has come to signify, for both Czech and European
schools, a common plan for a gradual change in school curricula, education systems
and general pedagogy, to go hand in hand with new perspectives of social and cultural
The World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted a complex plan called
'Health 21', with a view to improving health standards in European countries within the
first two decades of the century. Subsequently, the key principle of the Health Promot46
ing Schools Programme is establishing a holistic approach to health in the context of
school education and all related activities.
The holistic (interactional) philosophy of health considers the interaction between
all the different components of an individual's health and between one's health
and the health of the community, the society, the world and nature.
The major aim for all the pedagogues included in the Health Promoting Schools
Programme is to influence the formal aspects of school life (the formal curriculum,
culture and school ethos), as well as the spontaneous, functional ones (the contextual
curriculum, culture and school ethos) in order to create a positive impact on the pupils'
health. Together with that, one of the major goals of health-promoting schools is creating
a positive social climate.
The Health Promoting Schools Programme was developed and first implemented
in Scotland in 1986. In 1989, it was adopted for other European countries by WHO and
in 1991, it was offered to Central European countries. In 1992, it was introduced into the
Czech context. The guarantor for the Czech Republic is The National Institute of Public
Health (NIPH) and the partner is Healthy Cities of the Czech Republic (HCCZ). The
European guarantors of the program are WHO (The World Health Organization), CEU
(Central European University) and CE (Council of Europe). The national coordinator
for the Health Promoting Schools Programme is M. Havlínová.
The program was started with an action plan in three stages, with a view to promoting
health at Czech schools.
The first stage - the so-called pilot stag' - took place between 1992 and 1999.
The studies carried out at that period showed that the social climate at health-promoting
schools is statistically more favorable, when measured against the check sample of
At the moment, the strategic stage is under way (planned for the period between
2000 and 2007), to be followed by the integrative stage (2008-2015).
The major aim of the program lies in promoting a sense of respect towards and
responsibility for one's health as well as other people's health from an early school age,
and turning these attitudes into lifetime priorities. For a health-promoting school, the
main integrative principles of action are creating respect for the particular needs of the
individual and developing communication and cooperation.
Our study focuses on three main principles (pillars) of the Health Promoting
Schools Programme - a favorable learning environment (including the material, social
and organizational aspects), healthy teaching/learning and the so-called open partnership.
Research aims
In 2007, we carried out research amongst 115 first-year students at the Faculty
of Education in Brno. The subjects were chosen at random, with the sample consisting
of 107 female students (93 %) and 8 male students (7 %). The respondents were asked
to comment on the positive and negative aspects of all the schools they had attended so
far, with respect to a potential impact on their health. Health was not defined merely as
an absence of illness; in a much broader definition, it was described as physical wellbeing,
peace of mind and living in a favorable social climate. The written answers were
sometimes complemented using interviews.
This particular paper reports primarily on the positive and negative aspects of
elementary schools; kindergartens and secondary schools will be dealt with in a future
paper. In brief summary, most respondents who went to kindergarten focused their
positive feedback or criticism on the personality of the teacher. Surprisingly enough, a
number of students felt very negative about the regular afternoon siestas and keeping
quiet (which was an almost traumatizing experience). Also, quite a lot of the respondents
criticized being forced to finish all the meals and drinks, even the ones they found
utterly disgusting (for instance, finishing a cup of hot milk including the film on top).
Results of qualitative and quantitative analyses
As far as well-being in the school environment is concerned, it may be divided
into three components - comfort of physical environment, safety of social environment
and organizational well-being. First of all, we are going to deal with the comfort of
physical environment. So far, the official Health Promoting Schools Programme assessment
criteria included the following:
A hygienic environment
General safety
Useful and functional equipment/facilities
An inspiring/motivating environment
A cozy and tastefully decorated environment
Accessibility of the school premises (to move around and use)
Personal space (to store personal belongings)
When asked about physical environment, 62 % of the respondents (71 students) gave
us positive feedback (145 positive comments altogether). Thirty-eight per cent of the
respondents (44 students) did not mention any positive points.
Following are the positive aspects mentioned in relation to physical environment:
- spacious internal arrangement of the school (24 % of the students, 28 positive
- well-equipped classrooms (17 % of the students, 20 positive comments)
- good teaching aids (16 % of the students, 19 positive comments)
- internal decoration (15 % of the students, 17 positive comments)
- clean classrooms and facilities (13 % of the students, 15 positive comments)
- sports centers (11 % of the students, 13 positive comments)
- spacious and well-equipped gyms (9 % of the students, 10 positive comments)
- playgrounds and swimming-pools (8 % of the students, 9 positive comments)
- spacious and well-organized cafeterias and clean toilets (7 % of the students, 8
positive comments)
- the school building from the outside (its condition and overall appearance) (5 %
of the students, 6 positive comments)
In contrast, 60 % of the students (68 respondents) mentioned 121 negative aspects in
relation to physical environment:
- not enough room in the classrooms (26 % of the students, 31 negative comments)
- poor classroom equipment (25 % of the students, 29 negative comments)
- small and poorly equipped gyms (18 % of the students, 21 negative comments)
- common cloakrooms for boys and girls (10 % of the students, 12 negative comments)
- cloakrooms too small (9 % of the students, 11 negative comments)
- too few computers (8 % of the students, 9 negative comments)
- not enough teaching aids (7 % of the students, 8 negative comments)
Forty per cent of the students (47 respondents) did not mention any negative aspects.
Furthermore, the students supplemented the existing evaluation standards with the following
qualitative criteria:
- school equipped with copying facilities and an internet connection
- vending machines for drinks and dairy products on the premises
- exhibitions showing the pupils' work
- reasonably spacious lockers for pupils to store their personal belongings
As far as safety of social environment is concerned, the following are listed amongst the
official evaluation criteria:
Developing humanistic attitudes as components of education and personal
development of both pupils and teachers
Mutual respect, trust and tolerance
Positive feedback, participation, empathy
Openness and an outgoing attitude
Readiness for assistance and cooperation
A full 80 % of the respondents (151 comments) supplied positive feedback in the issue
of social environment; 20 % of the students (23 respondents) did not give any positive
Following are the positive aspects mentioned in relation to social environment:
- the teachers' personalities (53 % of the students, 61 positive comments);
- the teachers' communication style (36 % of the students, 42 positive comments);
- friendly relationships between pupils (34 % of the students, 39 positive comments);
- opportunity to express one's point of view in class (8 % of the students, 9 positive
Thirty-six percent of the respondents (41 students) did not complain about social
environment. However, 64 % of the respondents (74 students) made 88 negative comments
about the social climate at school. Following are the negative aspects mentioned
in relation to social environment:
- unsatisfactory communication with teachers and other school employees (janitors,
cooks, cleaning personnel) (39 % of the students, 45 negative comments);
- bias, favoring certain pupils over others, irony, disdain and bullying (19 % of the
students, 22 negative comments);
- nervousness and stress (10 % of the students, 11 negative comments);
- shouting (9 % of the students, 10 negative comments).
Furthermore, the students supplemented the existing evaluation standards with the following
qualitative criteria:
- developing positive and cooperative communication between pupils and teachers;
- a chance to defend oneself against unfair treatment (with the management of the
school, for instance);
- a letterbox where pupils could put anonymous comments about the functioning
of the school and its shortcomings;
- developing a positive atmosphere in the classroom as well as in the whole
As far as organizational well-being is concerned, the following are listed amongst the
official evaluation criteria:
A timetable that respects the pupils' biorhythm
A timetable that is in line with the pupils' physical and mental needs
Respect for the pupils' free time
A healthy diet
A holistic approach to sports and other physical activities
Seventy-seven per cent of the respondents (88 students) made a total of 180 positive
comments about the organizational well-being of the school:
- school activities (57 % of the students, 64 positive comments);
- extra-curricular activities (cultural and sports activities) (37 % of the students, 43
positive comments);
- trips both in their country and abroad (28 % of the students, 32 positive comments);
- the organization of various clubs and courses (22 % of the students, 25 positive
- boarding management (14 % of the students, 16 positive comments).
Twenty-seven respondents (23 %) did not mention any positive organizational aspects.
Forty-six students (40 %) did not make any complaints; however, 69 students (60 %)
made a total of 75 negative comments related to organizational well-being:
- school canteen lunches (27 % of the students, 31 negative comments);
- repetitiveness of PE lessons (the same games all the time) (13 % of the students,
15 negative comments);
- too much homework (10 % of the students, 12 negative comments);
- lessons often cancelled (8 % of the students, 9 negative comments);
- lesson length and breaks not respected (7 % of the students, 8 negative comments).
Furthermore, the students offered to supplement the existing evaluation standards with
the following qualitative criteria:
- respecting lesson length;
- respecting length of breaks;
- lunch to be both cooked and eaten on the school premises;
- facilities to make hot drinks available at any time (electric kettles provided for
- respecting healthy drinking habits;
- sports facilities available at the school;
- regular trips, excursions and cultural activities.
The second pillar of the Health Promoting Schools Programme is healthy learning/teaching.
It consists of four major parts:
Possibility of choice and appropriateness
Participation and cooperation
Motivating evaluation
Forty-one respondents (36 %) did not voice any complaints about healthy teaching/learning.
However, 74 students (64 %) mentioned some negative aspects (112 altogether) related
to this issue, the following in particular:
- poor second language teaching (English in particular) (32 % of the students, 37
negative comments);
- little relevance of the teaching matter, lack of practical application (24 % of the
students, 28 negative comments);
- boring, uninteresting methodology that did not provide them with motivation
(9 % of the students, 11 negative comments);
- lack of cooperative learning (8 % of the students, 9 negative comments);
- memorizing prevailed over other learning techniques (4 % of the students, 5
negative comments).
Let us now have a closer look at each of the four components of healthy teaching/learning.
Authenticity in learning
Methodology that brings learning close to life
Experiential learning (hands-on-experience learning)
Logically connected thematic blocks
Using teaching resources in the school surroundings
The respondents offered to complement this component of healthy learning/teaching as
- cooperation with advisory centers (mainly in the issues of pedagogical psychology
and special pedagogy)
Possibility of choice and appropriateness
Opportunity to organize certain parts of the curriculum autonomously, either
on the individual or group level
Optional subjects
Opportunity to choose teaching style/methods
Teaching/learning appropriate to the pupils' age and their individual capabilities
Attention and support to gifted pupils
Support for pupils with special needs and/or learning difficulties
The rational, emotional and social components of teaching/learning equally
The respondents offered to complement this component of healthy learning/teaching as
- developing individual creativity, as well as objective creativity
- biodromal teacher training
- adequate out-of-class assignments
Participation and cooperation
A friendly and democratic community spirit
Clear written ground rules
Elective student bodies that participate in the organization of school activities
Participation form of management - teachers cooperate on school management
Openness towards different forms of partnerships - with parents, municipalities,
Communication as a prerequisite for cooperation
Cooperative learning
The respondents offered to complement this component of healthy learning/teaching as
- partnership with other organizations (such as BESIP - Czech Road Safety Organization)
- cooperation with parents (also see the 'open partnership' section)
Motivating evaluation
Mutual respect between pupils and teachers
Evaluation by means of relevant feedback (especially in the course of the lessons)
Verbal evaluation
The respondents offered to complement this component of healthy learning/teaching as
- evaluation that takes into account individual needs and possibilities
- verbal evaluation void of irony and verbal aggression
- developing healthy self-confidence and self-regulating skills
- striving for the pupils' complex personal development
The third pillar of the Health Promoting Schools Programme is open partnership. It
consists of two major parts:
The school as a democratic community
The school as a cultural and educational center of the local community
This area was addressed negatively only by 17 % of the respondents (19 students, 29
comments); 96 students (83 %) did not voice any complaints. The negative aspects
mentioned were as follows:
- few contacts and exchange projects in cooperation with twin schools abroad (10
% of the students, 11 negative comments);
- few contacts and exchange projects in cooperation with twin schools both here
and abroad (7 % of the students, 8 negative comments);
- favoring pupils whose parents worked with the local authorities (4 % of the students,
5 negative comments);
- non-democratic groups in classrooms, little cooperation between them (2 % of
the students, 2 negative comments);
- insufficient cooperation with local institutions and authorities (2 % of the students,
2 negative comments);
- Parent Association not established (2 % of the students, 2 negative comments).
The school as a democratic community
A democratic community
Respect for the individual
Here, the respondents offered to complement the criteria with the following:
- creating a Parent Association at the school;
- giving the parents opportunity to participate in classroom observations;
- enabling the parents to influence catering management at the school;
- extending the scope of possibilities to study abroad;
- students' board at the school as well as in individual classes (the students' board,
the students' parliament);
- a letterbox for anonymous comments on the school premises;
- publication of a school bulletin (at least in the form of a bulletin board).
The school as a cultural and educational center of the local community
Here, the respondents offered to complement the criteria with the following:
- the school takes active part in the various activities taking place in the town,
district and region;
- the school actively cooperates with libraries and sports organizations;
- the school organizes regular balls and other cultural activities;
- the school actively cooperates with kindergartens;
- the school actively cooperates with other Health Promoting schools.
Our research into the positive and negative aspects of secondary school education yielded
similar results; it is only higher education that requires a separate analysis.

Our research focused on the concept of Health Promoting Schools, taking a psychological
perspective and addressing 115 first-year students at the Faculty of Education
MU in Brno, eliciting opinions about the relationship between education and health.
Subsequent data analysis showed that most positive or negative comments were related
to the school environment (including its physical, social and organizational aspects). A
number of comments focused on teaching/learning, but very few responses were related
to the issue of open partnership (e.g. the school's active participation in the life of the
local community).
Some of the students' complementing criteria for evaluation of schools provide
a vital contribution to the current WHO and EU evaluation standards for the Health
Promoting Schools Programme.
We believe that gathering data about students'/pupils' views and experience
of the functioning of different types of schools (kindergartens, elementary schools,
secondary schools and institutions of higher education) might prove extremely useful,
not only in providing suggestions for improvement at particular institutions, but also in
inspiring general health-promoting changes, thus improving pupils' physical, mental
and social well-being.


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24. května 2012 v 12:13 | Prof.PhDr.Rudolf Kohoutek,CSc.
The paper deals with the research into stressful experiences and traumas
in the past history of university students. In the hierarchy of traumas, the death of
a close person has the highest ranking, followed by traumas suffered at school. Other
stresses reported by students were related to problems at work, divorces and separations,
serious illnesses of close persons, their own diseases, subsistence problems, witnessing
of the death of an unknown person, their own car accident, personal failure, problems
with friends and family problems. Types were also detected and described of school-related
mental traumas (stress) suffered by children, pupils and students in kindergartens,
primary and secondary schools and at universities, and prevention and therapy were
recommended in order to treat stressful, critical and traumatic experiences.

stressful experiences; types of mental traumas; mental discomfort
in kindergarten, in primary and secondary schools and at universities; prevention of
stress; therapy of stress and mental traumas.

We were interested especially in the order and frequency of the school-related
traumas (kindergarten, primary and secondary school, university) in the mental refl ection
of stressful experiences of university students. Therefore, fi rst we asked 50 men and
50 women studying social pedagogy in combined studies at a private university in Brno
to describe their worst ever experience of their lives which could have had an impact on
their health. The total result was as follows (men and women):
17 % Death of a close person.
• 15 % Stresses and traumas at school.
• 14 % Problems at work.
• 11 % Divorce, separation from the partner.
• 11 % Serious illness of a close person.
• 10 % Their own illness.
• 4 % Subsistence problems.
• 4 % Death of an unknown person.
• 4 % Their own car accident.
• 4 % Personal failure.
• 2 % Problems with friends.
• 1 % Family problems.
• 4 % Others.
The list and order of reported traumas shows that traumatic and vulnerability
(pessimal) experiences at school occupy a very important place in the hierarchy. They
are listed at the second place in the list of all the traumas suffered.
We therefore focused especially on these in our research.
The worst experience - men
Death of a close person
Traumas at school
Problems at work
Divorce, separation
Serious illness of a close person
Their own illness
Subsistence problems
Death of an unknown person
Car accident
Personal failure
Problems with friends
The worst experience - women
Death of a close person
Traumas at school
Problems at work
Divorce, separation
Serious illness of a close person
Their own illness
Subsistence problems
Death of an unknown person
Problems with friends
We will not deal with optimal mental stresses but only with pessimal (vulnerability),
limit and extreme types of stress.
Frustration or stress on the verge of manageability which requires extraordinary
adaptation effort and endeavour from the affected person are considered to be experiences
of limit mental strain.
We carried out a research into the problems of psychotraumatic experiences, vulnerability
(pessimal), limit and extreme experiences (causing serious mental or somatic
problems, failures or disorders) originated at school, co-operating with another (second)
group of university students, composed of a total of 151 students.
The continuation of this paper is based upon an action research of the collaborative
focus group (n= 151) of university students (57 men and 94 women), who offered
us their memories of experiences lived in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools
and universities, which might have endangered their mental or social heath and healthy
development of their respective personalities. We opted for the action research because
it is focused on cognition, evaluation and enhancement of the teaching practice (also
educative practice in all school types).
Stressful experiences of students in kindergartens:
• Stress generated by the teacher ……...................24 %
• Being forced to eat non-favourite meal ...............23 %
• Being forced to take an afternoon nap................17 %
• Separation from the mother ........…....................12 %
• Being bullied by classmates .................................8 %
• Serious injury ……...............................................8 %
• Others .........……................................................8 %
(e.g. change of kindergarten; favourite teacher departure; illness; one extra year
in kindergarten)
Being forced to
eat non-favourite
Trauma caused by
the teacher
Separation from
the mother
Being bullied by
the classmates
Serious injury
Being forced to
take an afternoon
Stressful experiences - Kindergarten
Among the causes of being under stress caused by the teacher, such things are
mentioned as: neurotic behaviour of the teacher; teachers shouting at the children;
exaggerated severity and also absence of interest in the children, bullying, inadequate
Hereinafter we list the distribution of stressful experiences which students lived
through at primary schools:
• 65 % of the students reported non-adequate (traumatic) approach of teachers
towards students (e.g. unjust evaluation and classifi cation of examinations, motivation
through offending, over-authoritative approach of the teacher towards
pupils (15 %), unjust punishments (21 %), corporal punishments (8 %), increased
neuroticism of teachers, etc.).
• 18 % of the students reported stressful problems (experiences) in social communication
among classmates (e.g. verbal and brachial aggression; destruction
of personal belongings; bullying by classmates; bad collective; problematic classmates
with behavioural problems and disorders).
• 5 % of the students reported non-competent teaching (e.g. wrong manner of
explaining; exaggerated requirements for the pupils ).
• 12 % of the students reported other stressful situations (e.g. wrong school organisation;
departure or death of a favourite teacher or classmate; poor quality of
meals at school; changes to the sitting arrangement of pupils in the classroom;
non-favourite subject; injury suffered at school; illness; dentist treatment).
Stressful experiences - Primary School
Relations with
classmates Non-adequate
approach of the
The following story is an example of stress caused by a classmate:
"On my way back from the summer holiday camp before my entry to the secondary
school, I experienced a feeling of stress, disappointment, helplessness, anger and
hatred. I had my favourite book of quotations in the camp with me. It contained short
wise messages which I used to read while feeling down or on the contrary, when feeling
satisfi ed and happy. In the summer camp, I met my fi rst childhood love, however I sobered
up quite soon.
In the train on our way back home, the boy I was in love with took my beloved
book from me and threw it out of the train window."
Stressful experiences which students lived through at secondary schools were
as follows:
• 60 % of the students reported inadequate (traumatising) approach of some
teachers towards students (e.g. bullying, labelling, dehonestation);
• 11 % of the students reported stressful experiences related to the communication
with classmates (e.g. bullying by classmates; aggression; hostility; bad
• 9 % of the students reported non-competent teaching (wrong manner of explanation
of the subject to the pupils);
• 8 % of the students reported stress suffered during the studying for the schoolleaving
• 12 % of the students reported other types of stress (e.g. commuting from faraway
places; inadequate timetable; departure of a favourite teacher or classmate;
fear of dancing lessons).
Relations with
approach of the
Studying for the
Stressful experiences - Secondary School
To conclude, we list stressful experiences suffered at university.
These are generalised results of interviews with the third group of university
students (5 men and 73 women). Interviews took place in 2008:
41 % non-competent teaching, examining and evaluation of students;
• 26 % inadequate approach and relationship of teachers with students;
• 19 % organisational problems at the university;
• 14 % problems with the Study Department.

Types of Mental Stress
Mental stresses may be of an acute or chronic nature. If these are chronic, they
may have an especially negative impact on the evolution and development of the personality,
its psychosocial stigmatisation, mental and social and somatic health, especially
in mentally labile and predisposed individuals or in individuals with insuffi cient social
supports and pathological self-perception.
Types of stress may also be divided into primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary.
Another type of a classifi cation may be the division into individual and group
mental stress, which is quite typical for the educational system.
Not just individuals but also complete classes of pupils suffer from mental
Primary mental-stress experience stands for a situation in which the pupil, student
or teacher her/himself becomes a victim of bullying, corporal punishment (which
Stressful experiences - University
problems of the
Problems with the
Study Department
Inadequate approach
and relationship
of teachers with
Non-competent teaching,
examining and
evaluation of students
could have been designated to somebody else), humiliation, e.g. emotional discomfort
(e.g. anxiety, fear, panic, humiliation, shame), helplessness, failure, dehonestation, hostility
from people around, aversion, feelings of injustice (e.g. rebuke, admonition or
negative classifi cation of one's behaviour), scorning, irony, poignancy, ridiculing, power
manipulation, persecution). Children in kindergartens are often traumatised because of
being forced to eat up non-favourite meals.
Sometimes, a combination of bullying of an individual both by teachers and classmates
occurs. Occasionally, some of the affected pupils had to undergo a prolonged
psychiatric treatment. Out of all the stressful experiences, the primary stressful experience
is usually perceived with the highest intensity. It damages the mental and emotional
welfare with the highest intensity.
Such a stress may be caused purposefully, intentionally, or unintentionally. By
way of example, we mention a stressful experience from kindergarten, which is remembered
by a university student as the worst ever experience of his life.
"One morning, I went to kindergarten. My father took me there. He helped me as
usually to change into my kindergarten clothes in the morning and left for work. Before
leaving, he promised to come back to collect me in the afternoon. However, he never
came back.
In the afternoon, the father of my mother came to collect me, saying my father had
left somewhere. He also told me that I would live with them for some time. It made me
quite happy at fi rst, because I really loved my grandparents. My mother used to come to
see me every day, and when I asked about my father, she told me he had not returned yet.
Once during lunch in the kindergarten, a day came which I will never forget.
When I did not want to eat up my soup, the headmaster came running from somewhere,
saying that if I did not eat, I would end up just like my father and I would die. At fi rst,
I did not understand at all what she was telling me, but when the other children began to
tell me that I would never see my father again because he had died, I started crying, of
course. After such an experience, I ran away from the kindergarten and went to see my
mother. My mother, when she realised I knew everything, told me the truth."
A stressful experience, which evolved into a prolonged mental trauma, was suffered
by one of the university students during her studies at the primary school in the
music education class.
"In the fourth grade of the primary school, I was asked by the teacher to sing
the national anthem of the Czech Republic in front of my classmates without any music
background. Of course, I could not refuse, so I stood up in front of the backboard and
started singing. Already when singing the fi rst strophe, I began to have problems. My
classmates laughed, the teacher frowned, shutting her ears.
When I fi nished singing the national anthem, I kept standing in front of the blackboard
and during several minutes, the teacher was describing in details how horrible
my singing had been. Finally I could return to my seat, "good" being marked in my
record book. I can still remember how much I cried at home. Since then, I have been
feeling a sort of aversion towards singing. Sometimes, I would like to sing along with
my friends at a campfi re, or to hum a melody when I am alone, but, unfortunately, my
mental barrier does not allow me to do so. It is surprising how little may do so that
a child loses its self-confi dence."
At the university, one of the students described her primary stressful experience
as follows:
"Professor, a middle-aged woman, makes an impression of a severe and cold person.
She provokes feelings of apprehension in others and nobody dares to get too close
to her, and I am not referring just to students, boys and girls. She is a type of a person
who keeps her distance from the others. Since the very fi rst lesson, she implemented
certain rules which had to be observed without any exception, and if somebody was not
up to such demands, s/he simply had a bad luck. In her lessons I often felt like at the
primary school, where I had to be a nice obedient girl, or else the teacher would become
angry and it would be bad.
Recently, a partnership relation between a teacher and pupil has been enforced
and I think that especially at a university such a partnership should exist; however, the
relationship in the above-mentioned case was very far from being a partnership. If in
practical lessons we made a mistake in an exercise, when we failed in something, we
had to listen to a rather long speech about how it was possible for somebody with such
poor knowledge to be admitted in university and if our performance would not improve,
we should better go selling vegetables at the greengrocer's, as a university was not the
right place for us. I was almost shocked by such words. However, everybody was silent.
Many times, when we were looking at her aghast, she just asked whether we had any
problem, saying it in such a tone that everybody preferred to say there was no problem.
She really treated us repeatedly as if we were children whom she tried to re-educate, and
not adults who should be respected."
Secondary stressful experience is a situation in which pupils, students or teachers
are not directly exposed to the stress themselves, they are not direct victims, but
they have witnessed a direct stressing out of somebody whom they feel close, e.g. a
classmate, friend, relative or colleague. They perceived socially their stressful experiences
which had a negative impact on their own feelings and mental discomfort; they
also experienced a mental shock. Such a shock, however, is usually less intense than the
primary stressful experience.
I had one stressful experience at the secondary school, when the teacher of physics
told in front of the whole class to our classmate, who wanted physics to be part of his
school-leaving examination, that he had never ever seen such an idiot. I trembled with
fear that he would examine me as well and humiliate me in the same manner as he did
with my classmate.
One of the university students described her secondary stressful experience as
,,In one of the seminars, we discussed the topics of our bachelor works. Everybody
had to explain in which manner s/he prepared the practical part. The fi rst one
to speak was a girl whose bachelor-work topic was Dancing Therapy in Physically
Handicapped Children. It was one of the most diffi cult topics, as there is little literature
available on such a topic. Our colleague designed and prepared the individual lessons
of dancing therapy for her hobby group, the members of which were physically handicapped
pupils who decided on their own free will to be part of the group. In her work,
our colleague was inspired by an available literature on dancing therapy; she also used
her own experience which she had obtained as a member of a dancing group, and the
individual lessons were adapted to the individual capabilities of the pupils. In my opinion
it was a very time-consuming work and the implementation required courage, creativity,
responsibility and good organisational capabilities. Our colleague told us that her
dancing lessons were regularly, voluntarily and with quite an enthusiasm attended by
several physically handicapped pupils, some of them handicapped quite severally. Our
colleague did with her pupils different physical activities to music, free bodily expression
of music, group dancing and music relaxation.
When our colleague presented and described her project, the teacher started
evaluate very negatively everything what she had done. He told it was very improper
to apply dancing therapy to the physically handicapped. He criticised our colleague
saying that she surely had frustrated her pupils too much, as the physically handicapped
never could dance and move to the music aesthetically, and that it surely had to be a
knock to their self-confi dence. He refused her project declaring it to be nonsense. He
did not react to her arguments that the pupils attended her lessons with enthusiasm and
out of their free will, because they enjoyed dancing, it was new to them and it was not
about aesthetics but about the joy of moving to music and rhythm, and it was a certain
type of relaxation. The teacher kept enforcing his subjective opinion and tried to convince
our colleague to accept that her work was a mistake. I think he even did not realise
how insensitive his attitude was. All this was quite stressful, sad and demotivating.
There was a tension in the classroom, everybody disagreed silently, however, we did not
dare to protest. After such an experience, we better did not discuss our bachelor works
with that teacher."
Tertiary stressful experience is such a situation when pupils, students or teachers
are direct witnesses of the stress of people they did not know before and did not
have any personal relationship with, however, they feel mental discomfort when being
witnesses to their stress. The intensity of a tertiary stressful experience is usually less
intense than that of the primary and secondary ones.
My task was to take a class-register book to a classroom where a nervous teacher
had an art education lesson. When I entered the classroom, the teacher was beating one
of the pupils in his head by a metal box of aquarelle paints. The teacher was shouting
and calling names the whole class. I got scared of her; I put the class-register book on
the table, leaving as fast as I could. I felt happy that such a teacher did not teach the
class where I belonged.
Quaternary stressful experience is such a situation when pupils, students or
teachers are post facto informed verbally or visually (e.g. movie) of a stressful experience
of other people. In a sensitive or even hypersensitive individual, such a presentation
of a stressful experience of other and unknown people may have a negative impact on
her/his mental comfort. However, its intensity is usually lower than that of the primary,
secondary and tertiary ones.
My friend at the secondary comprehensive school told me crying that her mathematics
teacher invited her parents for a personal meeting, because my friend was to fail
the maths. It was a written invitation sent by post and my friend had not known about it
before. When she arrived home, there was lots of shouting, investigations and explanations.
My friend could not understand at all what was going on, she was shocked and
defended herself saying that her resulting mark in maths was good.
I sympathised with my friend; I also felt tense, waiting impatiently for the result
of the meeting of her parents with the teacher. The outcome was quite surprising: the
teacher told the parents that their daughter's results were not that bad, that she had sent
the letter just to scare the girl and make her study more thoroughly.
Symptoms of Stress of Pupils, Students and Teachers
Hyperarousal, hyperexcitation, hypervigility, i.e. overexcitation, hypervigilance
and activation to hyperactivation, mental tension, excitation, alarm, bewilderment,
continuous expectation of danger, confl ict, new stress and frustration are the fi rst and
more frequent manifestations of stress, which may be only situational, short-term or
also long-term.
It seems that in some teachers, due to their personality or temperament disorders
or professional bias, such reactivity is permanent and typical for their behaviour and
conduct. Pupils and students usually say that such teachers´ behaviour is "choleric"
or that they have choleric temperament accompanied by a tendency to shout, insult,
ridicule, be ironic, arbitrary, apply corporal punishments and dehonestation of pupils
and students whom such a teacher considers problematic.
It might be said that teachers with fi xed hyperexcited behaviour consider such
a behaviour and conduct to be a useful fear-inducing adapting technique which reduces
an important portion of hyperactivity, assertiveness and aggression of active and selfconfi
dent pupils and students, because such behaviour produces reactions of anxiety or
even fear of the teacher.
Intrusive behaviour and feeling is the second most frequent symptom of a stressful
experience; such behaviour is typical of annoying, persistent, obtrusive and obsessively
recurrent feelings or tendencies to repeatedly live through such a crisis or stress
again. Such a repeated imagining of the stressful situation and thinking about what
happened is usually accompanied by so-called fl ashbacks, re-living through the situation,
experiencing similar feelings as those which were provoked by the original real
The third most frequent feature of the stress is so-called psychological constriction,
a certain inner mental contraction, constriction, a sort of a mental immobilising
constriction, narrowing, which may have not only acute but also chronic character. This
is a deformed perception of a passive defensive adaptive mechanism. This also has an
anaesthetic effect against the stressful situation which is being experienced. It is an
avoidance reaction.
Pupils and students often mentioned the following psychosomatic effects (symptoms)
of the stressful experience:
Reduction of their own self-confi dence and self-reliance when they have been exposed
to ridiculing of their intelligence or appearance, looks, weight or clothes;
Aversion towards the teacher and her/his subject;
Blocking of logical thinking and reasoning;
Disorders of attention and memory;
Chronic fear of the behaviour of the "choleric" teacher;
Fear up to phobia of examining and unjust evaluation;
Emotional excitement and affective lability;
Subdepression up to depression;
Sleep disorders;
Stomachache, vomiting;
Intestinal problems;
General sickness up to unconsciousness;
Generally increased neuroticism.
The Level of Mental Vulnerability in Pupils, Students and
Neither children nor adults have the same level of mental vulnerability; everybody
has her/his own level of and predisposition towards mental vulnerability, being such
a vulnerability current, long-term (chronic) or permanent.
Some individuals are well-balanced, more resistant and unassailable, more resilient
against traumatic stressful experiences.
Others are more sensitive or abnormally hypersensitive and the traumas and
stresses have negative impacts and more or less accentuated inner or external effects
and isolated or global effects on their mental state and personality.
A sensitive personality lives through a mental trauma her/himself if s/he accidentally
and unwillingly stressed somebody.
Especially such people are vulnerable to stress who show increased biological
or psychological vulnerability, diathesis, predisposition to vulnerability, tendency and
disposition to suffer stress with such an intensity that it causes psychosomatic problems,
mental or somatic failures or disorders (especially functional disorders).
Vulnerability is broken down into primary vulnerability (functional, genetically
inherent, acquired in an early development phase), and secondary vulnerability acquired
as late as during the course of life and manifested in a form of disposition, susceptibility,
tendency to the development of psychosomatic disorders, especially functional failures
and disorders e.g. due to pessimal mental strain, chronic frustrations or diseases.
Especially in education such a fact should be taken into account. Such people
are more prone to suffer stressful experiences who are sensitive up to hypersensitive,
exhausted after diseases or injuries and operations, people with reduced self-confi dence
and self-reliance, little mentally integrated.
To a certain grade, this may be an inherent, genetically conditioned issue.
However, resistance against stress, personal resilience, resistance and hardiness
should be trained and developed.
Phases of Experiencing of Stressful Experiences
According to H. Selye (1966), the fi rst phase of the adaptation syndrome is an
alarm, alert, emergency phase. It is manifested through strong excitation, hyperarousal
and arousal.
Resistance is the second phase of the adaptation syndrome (resistance, adapting).
The organism wishes to get used to, to become adapted to being traumatised.
However, obsessions and intrusions frequently appear in such a phase.
Exhaustion is the third phase of the adaptation syndrome, which stands for a
complete, holistic failure of adaptive and regulatory mechanisms of the organism. Such
a situation may result in a serious endangering of one's health and life.
Therapy and Prevention of Stressful Experiences at
Psychosocial and Educational Support and Aid at the Detection of an Acute Stressful
First of all, it is necessary to provide the mentally traumatised person with comprehensive,
especially psychosocial support and enable the defusing, i.e. a possibility
to spontaneously unbosom her/himself and release (partially, at least) accumulated and
retained explosive emotions in a conversation.
This includes also a non-professional social support from non-professionals, friends,
classmates, fellow-workers or relatives. Child or adult who has experienced an acute
mental trauma, should have the possibility to cry, shout, complain, swear, vent her/his emotions,
relax. It is not advisable to convince such a person that s/he is brave, able to overcome
the problem without complaining and crying and without the help of the others.
Further suitable procedure is to assure for the affected individuals a possibility of
debriefi ng, i.e. a single offi cial professional consultation (often group consultation) in
which immediate professional analysis of the traumatic experience will be performed,
verbal and possibly printed information will be provided, and adequate antitraumatic
intervention or remedial specialised care, support and aid will be proposed, in order to
reduce inner mental tensions in the affected individuals and to raise a subjective feeling
of control over the situation. For such a purpose, roles and positions of the individuals
in the team of supporters must be clearly defi ned.
Sometimes it is necessary to provide professional and specialised intervention.
This means a prolonged specialised counselling or psychotherapeutic care, provided
by school, counselling or clinical psychologists or psychiatrists and specialised
and social educators, members of so-called supporting professions (Baštecká, B. aj.
2005; Preis, M. - Vizinová, D. 1999). Such a care includes e.g. gradual reduction of inadequate
irrational and dysfunctional strategies of managing a stressful situation and
reduction of pathological symptoms.
First, immediate impacts and effects of traumatising are being resolved, and then
long-term impacts and effects are being addressed. The family of the affected individual
is usually also included in such a comprehensive therapy.
An intervention in the school and sometimes the change of class or also school
may be the right solution for pupils and students.
Primary Prevention of Stress at School
Teachers and parents should be informed in an adequate manner of the possibilities
of the prevention and impediment of the occurrence of defects and disorders
of mental health of pupils and students and also teachers, and of the manner of developing
a healthy lifestyle and social communication skill. Education is important which
promotes healthy lifestyle and which reduces negative thinking, feeling and inferiority
Secondary Prevention of Stress at School
This topic covers a correct diagnose of defects and disorders induced by mental
traumas suffered at school and the treatment of these; an in-time detection of alreadyexisting
psychosocial problems is a condition for an adequate remedy of these. It is
recommended to adequately apply debriefi ng and crisis intervention, consultancy and
psychotherapy. Adequate defensive reaction and mechanisms which are not always fully
conscious, may be supported e.g. by compensation, fantasy abreaction, rationalisation,
substitution, resignation and sometimes even repression. Non-disturbing support, especially
informational, emotional and instrumental support should be provided.
Tertiary Stress Prevention
Worsening of an already developed defect or disorder should be prevented, bearing
in mind the fact that a complete recovery is either very diffi cult or impossible. Selfcare
should be emphasised (care which non-professionals, non-healthcare professionals,
provide in a responsible manner to themselves or to each other, e.g. within family or
at work: self-care includes, e.g. fi rst aid, drug administration and psychosocial care),
resocialisation and sociotherapy.
Quaternary Stress Prevention
Within such a prevention, a developed and chronic defect or disorder should be
identifi ed; such a problem is usually impossible to eliminate completely, however, some
of its effects may be at least mitigated. In such a prevention, professionally informed
self-regulation, self-education, self-care, relaxation and autosuggestion training and
supportive social communication play important roles.