By J.E. Ormrod Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010
As children develop, their identity and perceptions about their self changes. The table below presents developmental changes in children's and adolescents' sense of self and offers ideas for how teachers can enhance their self-perception at different grade levels.
- Self-concept largely limited to concrete, easily observable characteristics
- Tendency to overestimate abilities and chances of future success
- Encourage students to stretch themselves by tackling the challenging tasks they think they can accomplish.
- Provide sufficient scaffolding to make success possible.
- Increasing awareness of, and differentiation among, particular strengths and weaknesses
- Association of such emotions as pride and shame with various self-perceptions
- Focus students’ attention on their improvement over time.
- Encourage pride in individual and group achievements,but be aware that students from some ethnic groups may prefer that attention be given only to group achievement.
- Provide opportunities for students to look at one another’s work only when all of them have something to be proud of.
- Increasingly abstract conceptions of self
- For many, a decline in self-esteem after the transition to middle or junior high school (especially for females)
- Heightened sensitivity to what others may think (imaginary audience)
- Excessive belief in one’s own uniqueness, often accompanied by risk taking and a sense of invulnerability to normal dangers (personal fable)
- After students make the transition to middle school or junior high, be especially supportive and optimistic about their abilities and potential for success.
- Be patient when students show exceptional self-consciousness; give them strategies for presenting themselves well to others.
- Show no tolerance for risk-taking behaviors on school grounds.
- Continuing risk-taking behavior (especially for males)
- Gradual increase in self-esteem
- Increasing integration of diverse self-perceptions into an overall, multifaceted sense of self
- Search for the “real me” and an adult identity
- When discussing the potential consequences of risky behaviors, present the facts but don’t make students so anxious or upset that they can’t effectively learn and remember (e.g., avoid scare tactics).
- Give students opportunities to examine and try out a variety of adultlike roles.
Sources: Dweck, 2000; Elkind, 1981; Harter, 1999; Lockhart et al., 2002; Marcia, 1980; Nell, 2002; Robins & Trzesniewski, 2005.
Excerpt from Educational Psychology Developing Learners, by J.E. Ormrod, 2008 edition, p. 77.
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