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Parker Sterling

Self-Concept/Self-Esteem
Adolescent children are notorious for going through the most physical than any other
point in their lives. As a future educator, who has a strong possibility of teaching children in all
stages of adolescence, it is important to be informed about how a child develops through the
stages of adolescence. Because of how much the childrens behavior and physical development is
emphasized, this essay is instead based more on the aspects of social interaction changes for the
child as well as an emphasis on building their value. The terms used to define this over looming
concept of study are Self-Concept and Self-Esteem. The more popularly known terms being SelfEsteem is defined as the amount of value that a person puts on themselves. An example of this
can be where they feel that they need to be listened to when in a discussion or the presence of a
confident demeanor. Self-Concept is similar to this but varies with the fact that it focuses on the
students values and beliefs. A student will change their self-concept to follow their role models
such as teachers or parents by treating others in a similar fashion or enforcing the same rules
upon themselves that an adult puts on them even when they are not around. The following covers
the importance of having teachers build a positive self-concept for the student as well as the
interplay between self-esteem and self-concept and how they often feed off one another.
Friendships are strongly connected to how positively or negatively a child thinks of
themselves during this stage of life. If they are not liked by their peers, students will be greatly
inhibited in their ability to mature properly in the social world. A childs view of themselves
shifts as they mature, from superficial attributes such as gender and hair color to things such as
what classes they are good at and how they interact with their peers (Montemayor, 1977, p. 314).
This self-concept is highly influential on both the social and academic fronts. Through
adolescence, children learn to form their own beliefs that fit their experiences. The goal for the

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child is to have identity achievement, where they are able to commit to a set of values, beliefs,
and goals (Berk & Meyers, 2015, p. 591). A study conducted by Sofie Wouters, Veerle Germeijs,
Hilde Coplin and Karine Verschueren titled Academic Self-Concept in High School: Predictors
and Effects on Adjustment in Higher Education strongly supports the necessity of solidifying
ones self-concept as they transition through late adolescence.
Their article shows evidence that local frames of reference such as classrooms,
classmates, teachers and parents have a greater impact on the formation of an academic selfconcept than any other source. For example, if the student is consistently negatively punished or
scorned by the teacher they will begin to think that they are no better than the punishments they
received and have a self-fulfilling prophecy occur that spirals them towards failure. Therefore it
is important for the teacher to focus on mastery of a goal instead of performance goals because it
will greatly reduce the risk factor that children have to take, encouraging them to leap further and
take more risks. This does not mean to put all children of the same achievement level together
but to rather lessen the amount of peer comparison and instead provide individual feedback and
praise (Wouters, 2011, p. 591). This study also displayed patterns that, the higher the academic
self-concept is through adolescence, the more likely the student will be able to cope with the
raised demands of higher education and have higher chances of succeeding in the first year of
college (Wouters, 2011, p. 592).
Another source of influence that children have is the group of peers they are most
commonly are around, whether it be the jocks, nerds, or the punks to name a few. These clicks
often have members that resemble one another in personality attributes such as enjoying the
same subjects, and have a similar view on delinquent activities. A study titled Time With Peers
From Middle Childhood to Late Adolescence: Developmental Course and Adjustment Correlates

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by Chun Bun Lam, Susan McHale and Ann Crouter provides further evidence for the importance
of keeping tabs on peer relations. With children being more impulsive because of their latent
development of the prefrontal cortex it is important for adults to still supervise their activities.
There is a strong correlation between unsupervised peer involvement and delinquency/substance
use. This correlation can be prevented with the use of adult supervision but without good
facilitators the effort is futile. Parent involvement should not be arbitrarily imputed but should
instead be conducted by qualified trainers or facilitators who know when it is necessary to
interact so the students learning and development is not interfered with. Evidence within the
study consistently supports that these structured and supervised activities can bring forth positive
youth development (Lam, 2014, p. 1689). By having the adult in charge, such as the music
teacher, they constructively lead the childrens efforts towards building a final product such
creating a piece as a project or building a musical skill that they can use outside the classroom.
This structured time teaches the children that they can use their time in a way that is constructive
and give them a sense of value.
The academic self-concept has a lot of parallel affects to that of self-esteem (Marsh,
1986, p. 1227). The teacher must provide an area for the child that does not allow ridicule or
negativity when the student makes a mistake, which would therefore damage their self-esteem.
The classroom must be an equal environment for all who are involved with the music program.
The way they are treated in their home life is just as important as the way that they are treated
within an educational environment. But because the teacher can only control what is going on in
the school they must compensate for when children of difficult home life have adjustment issues
in the class room. The teacher must not let this cause the student to be treated in a way that can
hinder their education but rather find an approach to bring them up to the same standard. In

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addition to this is, students who display leadership capabilities can be given responsibilities such
as being in charge of pulling out the needed instruments for the days lesson putting the
instruments away afterwards. In essence, the teacher must never enter the mindset that a student
is helpless because there is always some approach that they can make to better their education.
From the given research and observations, the interplay between self-concept and selfesteem is easily observed as well as the importance for educators, no matter the field to truly pay
attention to their development in order to have the children be successful. Whether it be studentto-student interactions or teacher-to-student interactions it is important for the instructor to be
aware of what the students are experiencing within the classroom or even out in the hallways
when possible. Given the fact that music teachers have the opportunity to spend multiple years
with the same students, it makes their influence compound to be much greater than just a single
grade teacher and through their observation of how a student interacts with the environment the
teacher can adjust their educational approach to better reach the students.

Bibliography
Berk, L., & Meyers, A. (2015). Infants, Children, and Adolescents (8th Ed.). Boston,
Massachusetts: Pearson.

Parker Sterling
Lam, C., Mchale, S., & Crouter, A. (2014). Time With Peers From Middle Childhood to Late
Adolescence: Developmental Course and Adjustment Correlates. Child Development,
85(4), 1677-1693. doi:10.1111/cdev.12235
Marsh, H. (1986). Global self-esteem: Its relation to specific facets of self-concept and their
importance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 12241236. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.51.6.1224
Montemayor, R., Eisen, M. (1977). The development of self-conceptions from childhood to
adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 13(4), 314-319. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/00121649.13.4.314
Wouters, S., Germeijs, V., Colpin, H., & Verschueren, K. (2011). Academic self-concept in high
school: Predictors and effects on adjustment in higher education. Scandinavian Journal of
Psychology, 52, 586-594. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.2011.00905.x