Educators do well to recognize how youths’ identities relative to academics affect their beliefs and actions in school as well as in particular classrooms (Moore, 2003). A positive academic identity means that individuals consider themselves insiders to education; they see themselves as members of scholarly learning communities (Davidson, 1996; Welch & Hodges, 1997). Students display positive academic identities when they present themselves as the kinds of people who embrace formal education, who take school seriously. These individuals align themselves with academic cultures, identifying with teachers and conscientious peers. They see themselves connected with academic ways of life. Students with positive academic identities seek to accomplish school-related goals through actions such as completing assignments, reading independently, and studying for tests (Jackson, 2003).
On the other hand, students who display negative academic identities in their classes tend to see themselves as lost in school, as educational outsiders, as unsuccessful learners who do not belong in academic settings (Colvin & Schlosser, 1997). Students who demonstrate negative academic identities often act out apathetic, foolish, or defiant behaviors as they resist school and school-related literacies. They put in little of the time and effort needed to excel academically.
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