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Teaching Altruistic Behaviour Among Adolescent Students



1.1 Background Of The Study

Modern educationists, philosophers, and researchers have been emphasizing rational thought and action on altruism because altruism itself is one kind of rational thought and action. Krebs (1998) defined altruism as a process of psychological behaviour that depends on the recognition of the trueness and loyalty of an individual and their ability to wholeness or togetherness as human beings. He further mentioned basic requirements of altruism such as morality, principles, and rationality in desire and action. Furthermore, Krebs (1998) revealed that desire and motivation are important factors of altruism, but desire is not the only possible source of motivation. However, rather than desire and motivation, there are other internal elements that activate the anticipation of other people’s happiness and well-being. Additionally, altruism is a “nearly universal virtue in all human civilizations and constitutes the main tenant of most of the world’s significant religious, social reformers, and revolutionary leader movements (Senapati, 2016).” Genuine altruism is a fact. According to Krueger (2013), this vital attribute of assisting others who are in misery is described in numerous ways: as socioemotional conduct, commitment to morals, and helping out, among others. Social groups, community groups, organizations, universities, and households; all of these are enriched by people who are eager to “go the beyond of” in response to the needs of others.

Thus, human altruism is distinguished by an extreme degree of prosociality, and physiological kinship appears to be critical to altruistic behaviour (Batson, 1991). Altruistic behavior is defined as voluntarily helping, motivated primarily by compassion for other’s needs and welfare, and is frequently driven by empathy and internalized principles and norms associated with assisting others (Bierhoff, 1991).  Similarly, altruism among various social groups is characterised by prosocial behavior demonstrated through togetherness, collaboration, sharing, and offering support within the society. By developing structured prosocial educational programmes, the school system may make a significant and active contribution to enhancing prosocial abilities and motivation. Integrated school activities should be fostered in order to develop leadership and, as a result, improve altruism among youngsters.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Psychologists and other scholars from many fields of study have defined altruism in various ways, but they all agree that altruism is a feature of human nature. Individual egotism can drive altruistic behavior, as well as a “pure” compassionate willingness to help another person, regardless of personal gain (Batson, 1991). Research conducted in the past few years has shown that positive attitudes and dispositions such as optimism, helpful attitude, compassion, and confidence, which are traits of altruism, have a huge influence on the social well-being, interaction, and sense of belonging of the individuals involved.

Therefore, it becomes ideal to instill such behavioral conduct into youngsters. This is necessary because adolescents’ behaviors are characterized by covert and overt hostility and intentional aggression towards others (Oliner, 2002). As observed by Sarak (2020), adolescents in secondary schools in Nigeria possess some measure of anti-social behavior that imposes physical, psychological, or emotional harm on other people. According to him, assaulting others, being cruel to others, etc. are among the many behavioral imbalances of secondary school students. In other words, students have little or no concern for others except their peers (to some certain extent). The danger of this behavioral imbalance becomes more evident as adolescents grow with it to adulthood. Notably, in order to make the world indeed a better place, it is necessary that every individual reach out to others’ interests and needs, with or without personal gains. In view of the above, it is pertinent to instill in the minds of children the need to possess some good measure of altruism and mode them to become better altruists through the teaching of altruistic behavior among adolescents.

1.3 Objective Of The Study

The general aim of this study is to evaluate the teaching of altruistic behavior among adolescent students. Specifically, the study aims at

  1. Identify the key components of altruism.
  2. Determine if the teaching of altruism will enhance the socialization skills of adolescents.
  3. Determine if the teaching of altruism will have a positive effect on the inhumane behaviors of students.
  4. Ascertain if altruism exercises are performed in Nigerian secondary schools.

1.4 Research Question

The study will be guided by the following questions;

  1. What are the components of altruism behaviour?
  2. Will the teaching of altruism enhance the socialization skill of adolescents?
  3. Will the teaching of altruism have a positive effect on the inhumane behaviours of students?
  4. Are altruism exercises performed in Nigerian secondary schools?



1.5 Significance Of The Study

The findings of this study will be invaluable to stakeholders in Nigeria’s secondary schools. The study will apparently compel them to see the need to establish altruism exercises in secondary schools, so as to adjust the inhumane dispositions of students on time. Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to the teaching of altruistic behavior among adolescent students.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

Generally, the study is focused on the teaching of altruistic behavior among adolescent students. The study will further delve into identifying the key components of altruism, determining if the teaching of altruism will enhance the socialization skills of adolescents and if the teaching of altruism will have a positive effect on the inhumane behaviours of students. The study will also ascertain if altruism exercises are performed in Nigerian secondary schools. Hence, the study will be carried out among some selected secondary schools in Asaba, Delta State.

1.7. Limitations Of The Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

1.8 Definition Of Terms

Altruism: Altruism is the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others. The level of altruism in the present study was quantified by using „Altruism scale‟ developed by S. N. Rai and Sanwat Singh and adapted by the investigator. More the scores in the scale refer more the level of altruism.

Adolescence: Adolescence is defined as the participants of age group between 12 to 18. In the present study, the researcher will include the students of class nine and ten which are belong to this age level and will be considered as adolescent.

Altruism Exercise: Altruism exercise in the present study is operationally defined as the exercises or activities which inspire altruistic behaviour of an adolescent. Altruistic journey is the altruism exercise in the present study.


Batson, C.D. (1991). The Altruism question: Towards a SocialPsychological Answer. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Bierhoff, (1991). Evidence for the altruistic personality from data on accident research.

Krebs, D. (1978). The challenge of altruism in biology and psychology.

Krueger, J. I. (2013). The development of trust and altruism during childhood.

Oliner, S. P. (2002). Extraordinary acts of ordinary people: Faces of heroism and altruism. In S. G. Post, L. G. Underwood, J. P. Schloss, & W. B. Hurlbut (Eds.), Altruism and altruistic love: Science, philosophy, and religion in dialogue.

Sarak, B. (2020). Mindful Attention Awareness of the Higher Secondary school students of Dibrugarh District.

Senapati, N. (2016). Teaching Altruistic Behaviour among Adolescent Students.


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