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Feedback Intro fair rather more could have been said to set the scene Key concepts good

ood full & thorough Topic coverage satisfactory much good & useful material but relatively weak on the specific educational implications Organisation good clear structure Analysis/Discussion satisfactory awareness of difficult arguments shown Conclusions satisfactory a little under-developed Overall Got fully into the area of self, the development of self-concept and used reading well. The relating of key ideas of specific educational aspects is a little underdeveloped. Can the development of the self-concept be related to academic performance in school? The whole area of the self has provoked a variety of hypotheses over the last two centuries starting Sigmund Freud. In the nineteenth century he argued that it all took place in the human psyche or the mind where all the conscious and unconscious thoughts have their root and he divided it up into the id, ego and super-ego. The id contains the instincts which are inherited; the ego is a self-preserving influence For external events it becomes aware of stimuli, stores up experiences about them avoiding excessively strong stimuli, dealing with moderate stimuli and for internal events, it decides which instincts are to be satisfied1 The super-ego is subject I influence from parents and all three components together represent the self from which the terms self-concept, image, picture, esteem have been developed which immediately raises a problem as different studies have used differing terms. Other areas that have produced controversy are how the self develops in early years and whether it can be influenced by the primary classroom. Studies such as one by JW Staines have discussed ways of looking at the self as a self image or picture of oneself. However many have felt that this description is not clear enough hence the terms self-esteem and concept. Purkey in Self-Concept and School Achievement in 1970 defined the self-concept and esteem as two different terms Self-concept is the description that one would give of oneself I prompted to do so by the circumstances and can be readily measured whereas self-esteem is the individuals evaluation of himself2 In other words the self-concept is a descriptive term referring to how one sees oneself and the selfesteem is an emotional response to that perception or conception about oneself. Robert Burns however did not see the self-concept as distinct from self-esteem and attempted to bring all the descriptions of the self (e.g. image, worth) under the general heading of the self-concept. He saw the self image or picture as the descriptive component and the self-esteem or worth as the evaluation of these terms Self-esteem in terms of self-evaluation refers to the making of a conscious judgement regarding ones significance and importance3 It is not an instinctive emotional response as regards Purkeys definition but a reasoned judgement. The self-concept whether defined by Burns, Purkey or another is not just static a once in a lifetime perception it is constantly changing throughout ones life. Erikson described the ego as going through eight stages of development these being
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Whitehead J (1975), p37 Personality and Learning, Hodder and Stoughton Rogers C (1982), p143 A Social Psychology of Schooling, Routledge and Kegan Paul 3 Burns R (1982), p6 Self Concept and Education, Holt, Rinehart and Winston

trust versus mistrust, autonomy versus shame and doubt, initiative versus guilt, industry versus inferiority, identity versus role diffusion, intimacy versus isolation, action versus stagnation and ego-integrity versus despair4 Although Erikson describes these as a process of ego development it can nevertheless be applied to the self-concept. Maslow in a study in 1954 also attempted to identify a process involved in the development of the ego or self-actualisation as he called it, identifying five levels of needs; but it was Allport in a study in 1961 that directly linked the idea of development to the self describing a mature person as one who had An extended sense of self, a warm, unselfish relationship with others, emotional security, selfinsight, a realistic orientation towards the world and a unifying philosophy of life5 So for the young child it would start off with basic needs to be satisfied such as physical needs and a need for security; and gradually move away from being totally concerned with ones personal needs and being able to evaluate oneself and ones changing set of circumstances realistically. It is the changing process of self-development of self-actualisation that has concerned most theorists looking specifically at how the self changes and why or what can cause it to change. It is also due to the fact that all children learn differently, that has led people to consider whether changing perceptions and conceptions have an effect on a childs learning and vice versa. Theories have generally been under two categories these being symbolic interactionism and modelling theory. Symbolic interactionism in its oldest form was suggested by William James in 1890 who looked at the self and saw two components, these being I which is experience in itself and me which wsa all that is involved in each particular experience. He saw self-esteem as being the result of ones aspiration or how high someone wanted to go in life. In other words if a person wanted to be at the top of society e.g. a world leader, this person obviously feels capable of achieving this so their level of self-esteem must be high. However the problem with this is that world leaders or people in positions that society considers to be at the top, do not necessarily have high self-esteem or those who to do not want to be at the top have low self-esteem. It is on the strength (NB cant read own writing here!) of this that led to a more detailed theory of the self going through a process of interaction with others and evaluating oneself accordingly being produced by Cooley in 1912 and Mead in 1934. Cooley developed the idea of a mirror or looking glass self where various types of feedback e.g. reactions, comments, actions from others will cause one to reflect on oneself in a particular way. Mead described it in terms of me and I. Me..recognising and sharing the meanings and values others may have of you and I is the perception of oneself as reflected by the shared meanings and values of others6 It is not just values and meanings inferred on one occasion but ones that continually change throughout life. The others has often been referred to in research as significant others and for the young child his/her parents would be the initial significant others, then as the child enters school there would also be the teacher and the childs peers. As a result of this interaction with others the views that a child holds of him/her self will cause him/her to react and behave in a particular way. Hence the symbolic interactionist theory can be summed up as follows Our self-concept, perception of others attitudes and responses to us, the actual attitudes and responses of others to us and our behaviour7 So the self-concept of the child for example could be formed as the result of a teacher saying that a piece of work was good or bad. If a child perceives that he/she is doing well as a result of a
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Verma GK, Bagley C p44 Self Concept, Achievement and Multicultrual Education, Macmillan Fontana D (1981), p274 Psychology for Teachers, Macmillan 6 Burns R, (1982), p17, Self Concept Development and Education, Holt, Rinehart and Winston 7 Burns R, (1982), p164, Self Concept Development and Education, Holt, Rinehart and Winston

teacher commenting on his/her performance this will affect the childs sense of self-esteem, in this case raising it. An alternative view of the continual process in the childs development was produced by Bandura in 1963 and came to be known as modelling theory. A child acquires most of his behavioural characteristics and from these attitudes through the process of imitating various others in his environment, the focus being the conditions under which a child adopts as his own, the characteristics of another8 It is similar to the symbolic interactionist theory in that it includes the idea of significant others but instead of an interaction with others, it is by using significant others as role models that a childs self-concept will develop. According to Bandura it is possible that a girl would use her mother as a role model and a boy his father. At first glance it would seem that the modelling theory is more viable because it would certainly explain how children are socialised (adopting norms, values of their own culture or society) and how traditional stereotypes have been developed. For example, a young girl sees her mother staying at home looking after the house and raising children and learns to imitate her mother adopting the norm for herself of a woman and her role being in the home. However most theories of the self have tended to use symbolic interactionism because it is actually a more detailed version of how a child reacts to others. Imitating another person is in a sense an interaction with that person because although the other person has not specifically spoken the way they behave has made the child make a perception about it. Whether under the heading of symbolic interactionism and in some cases the modelling theory, studies have been conducted to assess the relationship between the self-concept of a child and his/her academic attainment. One of the most well known studies was Antecedents of SelfEsteem conducted by Stanley Coopersmith in 1967, in which he grouped people in his study into five levels of self-esteem. For Coopersmith self-esteem meant The judgement of personal worthiness that is conveyed to others by each individual in what he says and doesnt say and in what he does and doesnt do9 There were eight five middle class urban boys who lived with their parents studied; and he used various measuring instruments i.e. for the parents the Parent Attitude Research Instrument, for the child the Thematic Apperception Test and the teachers used a fifty item instrument which was known as the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory that looked at various behaviours of the pupils. The emphasis on the parent-child factor led Coopersmith to conclude that The antecedents of self-esteem can be given in terms of three conditions: total/nearly total parental acceptance of children; clearly defined and enforced limits; and the respect and latitude for individual action that exists within the defined limits10 The most immediate objection to this study is that it is very limiting using only one type etc and the focus on parental influence means that other factors such as social class, gender, race (which will be considered later) have not been considered. Although Coopersmith personally may not have found these other factors of significance a great deal of research indicates otherwise. In defence, it could be argued that the gender issue i.e. male/female as a factor affecting the self-concept is a relatively recent issue to be researched thoroughly. Also the evidence and the conclusions that he came to have yet to be disproved and his inventory came to be widely used. In other words the parent-child influence on a childs self-concept is a considered by most research to be a viable factor.

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Burns R, (1982), p171, Self Concept Development and Education, Holt, Rinehart and Winston Burns R, (1982), p70, Self Concept Development and Education, Holt, Rinehart and Winston 10 Burns R, (1982), p79, Self Concept Development and Education, Holt, Rinehart and Winston

If one can accept Coopersmiths findings as being essentially correct, then the formation of selfesteem which takes place relatively early centres around the notion of control11 If this is the case then this has important implications for the teacher as he/she could be a very significant influence in terms of control of the child and their self-esteem. However as indicated previously in the argument by Robert Burns, self-esteem is only one part of the self-concept and a study which looked specifically at the self-concept and academic achievement was conducted by Bridgeman and Shipman in 1975 and 1978 where they looked at children aged three and four and followed them over a six year period. They found that many children had high levels of self-concept before school but this changed during their infant school years. This study raises an important issue of whether the self-concept determines academic attainment or that academic attainment influences the childs self-concept. Their study seems to indicate the latter. The uniformly high levels of self-concept in pre-school children and the greater differentiation that appears after two or three years of schooling indicate that levels of school success determine the self-concept rather than vice versa12 Calsyn and Kenny in a study in 1971 came to a similar conclusion. This idea of high level of attainment being associated with a positive self-concept could be paralleled with the theory of William James. As indicated earlier the theory of William James in 1890 attempted to show a link between high aspirations which reflect a high self-esteem but the limitations of his theory is similar to that of the above in that they do not consider alternative influences on the self-concept. In a study in 1964 Brookover, Thomas and Patterson recognised that the self-concept is related to academic achievement and they came to conclusion that the self concept determines the level of academic performance rather than the other way round. In other words a childs self-concept already exists so it determines the level of the childs academic self-concept and hence their motivation to learn. the perception on the part of the pupil that others hold him in regards will be both necessary and sufficient for the production of a positive self-concept, a positive self-concept will be necessary but not sufficient for the production of high levels of academic attainment13 I personally agree with this view for whilst academic attainment can increase a childs self-concept, if a child has a very low academic self-concept then it is unlikely that the child would have the motivation to learn in the first place. Also a childs self-concept does not simply begin in school; research by Coopersmith indicates that parents are very influential on a childs self-concept. There are also other factors that can influence the self-concept of a child and as a result their academic attainment. The difference in the academic performances of boys and girls was studied by Macneil in 1964 who concentrated on their reading performance. He found that boys did better than girls at following an automatic sequence of instructions but that when a female teacher gave out a series of instruction the boys reading performance dropped dramatically whilst the girls remained relatively the same. This would point to the influence of the female in the classroom as a role model and is of significance due to the majority of infant school teachers being female. Other studies by Ann Oakley and Sue Sharpe have found that the girls self-concept can be influenced by society through parental role models, toys, the media and in school-reading books such as Janet and John; and the general trend towards girls doing well in non-scientific subjects (exclduign domestic science) and vice versa. There is however some evidence that this whole area is changing.

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Rogers C (1982), p157, A Social Psychology of Schooling, Holt, Routledge and Kegan Paul Rogers C (1982), p158, A Social Psychology of Schooling, Holt, Routledge and Kegan Paul 13 Rogers C (1982), p151, A Social Psychology of Schooling, Holt, Routledge and Kegan Paul

Another possible influence on the self-concept was researched by Rosenthal and Jacobson in an experiment to determine whether the expectations that a teacher has of a pupil can influence their self-concept and consequently their academic performance. Although this research was considered to be unethical (i.e. the teachers not being aware of the implications of their comments) as well as the sample being limited, the idea came to be known as the self-fulfilling prophecy and was explored thoroughly by David Hargreaves in 1972 who found this to be the case On the basis of interaction with the pupils and perceptions of their behaviour, the teacher develops a conception of individual pupils who are evaluated, categorised and labelled according to the degree to which they support his/her definition14 One of the other possible influences is whether the effect of being a member of an ethnic minority can affect a childs self-concept. Clark and Clark in 1958 looked at racial awareness and asked children to compare white and black dolls and choose what they would like to be. The majority chose the white dolls which although not conclusive indicates that a childs self-concept is at least affected emotionally, not including the treatment of the child in school as regards few ethnic role models, books, language difficulty and racial prejudice. It could also be argued that socio-economic factors affect a childs self-concept but all these factors indicate that it is not accurate to look at a childs academic self-concept in isolation; there are numerous other influences that need to be taken into consideration. In an essay of this nature it is only possible to give a broad outline of all the theory and hypotheses due to the variety of theories on the self concept and the sheer number of them, It is also very difficult to evaluate all the research undertaken due to the variety of terms used and the different measuring instruments as well as the limits of the research in that in studies you cannot use everyone as a sample. There is also the problem that very little research has actually been done on children in the infant-school age range. Finally a great deal of research has been done through questionnaires which mean that information gained is only what an individual is prepared to say and may be misleading. Combs, Soper and Coulson in 1963 day that most studies are not actual studies of self-concept at all, i.e. self concept is measured as what an individual is willing to say about himself in selfreports15 The implications for the teacher as a result are that the self-concept is a significant influence whether self esteem or self image they all indicate a relationship to academic attainment. Research indicates that the link is either self-concept influencing academic attainment or vice versa The other possible influence on the self-concept also need consideration. There is already an emphasis being placed on personal and social education where the whole idea is to encourage pupils to develop their self-awareness and raises their self-concept. This can be done through the National Curriculum especially in areas such as religious and physical education which are both concerned with awareness of self. However I do not feel that the self-concept can be purely restricted to subjects but should be at the root of all teaching and learning in the primary classroom. The transformation of the pupils consciousness, enabling them to have confidence in their capacity to alter the courses of their own lives is and must be an important step in the process of social transformation16

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Blackledge D/Hunt B (1985), p245 Sociological Interpretations of Education, Routledge Burns R, (1982), p28, Self Concept Development and Education, Holt, Rinehart and Winston 16 Stanworth M (1981), p58, Gender and Schooling, Hutchinson

Bibiography Arnot M (1985) Race and Gender, Pergamon Press Bassett GW (1978) Individual Differences, George Allen and Unwin Blackledge D/Hunt (1985) B Sociological Interpretations of Education, Routledge Burns R (1982) Self Concept Development and Education, Holt, Rinehart and Winston Childs D (1986) Psychology for the Teacher, Cassell Eagle M (1984) Recent Developments in Psycho Analysis, Harvard University Press Fontana D (1981) Psychology for Teachers. Macmillan Hargreaves D (1972) Interpersonal Relations and Education, Routledge and Kegan Paul Mouly GJ (1968) Psychology for Effective Teaching, Holt, Rinehart and Wilson Open University (1971) Personality, Growth and Learning, Longman Open University (1971) Schools and Society, Routledge and Kegan Paul Riding R (1977) School Learning: Mechanisms and Processes, Open Books Rogers C (1982) A Social Psychology of Schooling, Routledge and Kegan Paul Stanworth M (1981) Gender and Schooling, Hutchinson Verma GK/Bagley C (1982) Self-Concept, Achievement and Multi-Cultural Education, Macmillan Whitehead J (1975) Personality and Learning, Hodder and Stoughton