Factors of Self Esteem in Education Essay

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Intro

Arguably many factors have both positive and negative effects on the citizenship of a child, however, this essay will state three of the main influences, these being: the school teacher, self-formation, and the social environment. Aristotle is a famous physician who believed habituation demonstrated by an educator was one of the only ways to shape a respectable citizen, reinforcing reward and punishment. However, Rousseau, a Genevan philosopher disagreed with Aristotle and believed that children learn right and wrong through experiencing the consequences of their behaviours rather than through physical punishment during a progression which he termed “natural consequences”. This essay will begin by considering how the teacher affects the citizenship of a child, by exploring both traditional and progressive education and how the four capacities of Scottish education influence the child. Secondly, the relationship between self-esteem and successful learners will be evaluated, along with the journey of self-alienation which is a very intimate process leading to personal detachment. Finally, the role of the social environment in shaping a child into a good citizen will be examined, by reflecting on how the different impressions of children can affect their development alongside the environment and social conditions.

The Teacher’s influence

“An unresolved dilemma for teachers since 1944 has been the definition of their role about developing values of their pupils.” (Gardner, R, Cairns, J, Lawton, D, 2000) Habituation is a process where efforts are rewarded, and irresponsible actions are punished to condition behavior. This method is used regularly in traditional schools and is believed to manage behaviour and produce a healthy learning environment. (Sutton Trust, 2014) Furthermore, Traditional schools commonly teach through the process of direct teaching, where the teacher’s higher social status can be used beneficially by influencing the views of children, consequently swaying a child to highly respect the class teacher’s beliefs. For example, according to Maughan Rollins Gregory “If the teacher is a legitimate authority on a topic, his or her endorsement of a particular position is one “epistemologically sound” reason for students to accept it.” (Gregory, M.R., 2014) Michaela Community School aims to “nurture pupils to become engaged and informed citizens” (Michaela Community School, 2018) with the traditional approach being at the heart of the curriculum. One pupil from Michaela believes “Demerits can lead to detention, but that’s a good thing because it shows us not to be impolite and shows us how to be kind and respectful.” (Michaela Community School, 2018) After receiving an outstanding Ofsted report, Michaela’s direct approach to teaching is successful. This shows that the teacher can influence children into becoming good citizens through a method of direct teaching, using their social power to sway children into supporting their principles and societal stances. Pupils see the teacher as a role model and aspire to adopt many of the same attributes and opinions that they present. On the contrary, progressive education is a more current, up-to-date approach to teaching. Here, the teacher is not seen to hold a higher social status than the children, giving out commands and punishments like in the more dated traditional approach. Instead, pupils can speak to educators like they would with their peers, as they hold a very compassionate, thoughtful nature. (Cobb, S., 1928) This, more lenient approach to education aims to shape children into more moral, naïve citizens. However, this can be a very difficult process for a teacher to adopt. According to Dewy, it takes an outstanding educator to be able to guide a child in activities of individual choice and in addition, be able to support them for the outcome to be effective. (Dewey, J., 1915) This demonstrates that not any ordinary teacher can be successful in producing a conscience citizen through the process of progressive education. Therefore, it takes a very specific type of educator to influence a child into developing into a ‘good citizen’ through the process of progressive education, consequently showing that it can be very difficult for a teacher to shape a child into a ‘good citizen’. In Scotland, the Curriculum for excellence is central to a child’s education and is divided into 4 capacities. These 4 capacities are Successful learners, Confident individuals, Responsible citizens, and Effective contributors. These four capacities are central to the curriculum in Scotland to form a certain kind of ‘character’ which indicates that the society that we live in determines the virtues that we think are important. It is the educator’s responsibility in schools to convey these 4 capacities, showing a sense of community within the school and an effective work ethic in the hope that it will be mirrored by students. Therefore, the teacher does play an important role in shaping a child into a good citizen.

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Self-education

Education can be initiated from ‘inside’ the self and is known as self-formation. When referring to oneself, one most commonly thinks of the most appropriate characteristics to best define themselves. These characteristics can be learned from observing how people respond around us and what they tell us about ourselves. This process is known as mirroring and allows us to gain knowledge of ourselves. (Huitt, 2011) In addition to this, understanding who we are can increase our self-esteem, leading to better motivation and success in events throughout life. Franken believes that 'people who have good self-esteem have a differentiated self-concept... When people know themselves, they can maximize outcomes because they know what they can and cannot do (p. 439). (Franken, 1994) It is key for a child to have high self-esteem for them to become a good citizen. Shaping learners to be confident individuals is one of the four capacities within the Scottish curriculum. Promoting self-esteem is a very important role of teachers in schools and can be encouraged by providing pupils with healthy praise and encouragement. Citywise is a project that runs in St Roch’s Primary, which I have gained knowledge of throughout my third-year placement. Experienced mentors visit the school every week which helps to promote self-esteem and confidence amongst pupils by providing them with a personalized support base. This shows that educators are key factors in the process of promoting self-esteem in schools, displaying that it is their job to produce a good citizen. However, on the other hand, for a child to change they must alienate themselves from themselves. This cannot be driven by an educator and instead requires a journey where one gains distance from them self. Throughout the process of self-alienation, an individual is considerably unconscious of his/ her actual self and so their behavior and actions are the reflections of an unreal self, instead, a role they have embraced. Alienation from the self can allow a child to change direction in their life, helping to develop their understanding that there are many different behaviors and ways in which people act, which can consequently raise awareness for their desires and preconceptions. Therefore, the child must create freedom within themselves, allowing them to adopt the sought-after characteristics of a good citizen.

Social Environment

‘If we have to combat either nature or society, we must choose between making a man and making a citizen. We cannot make both.’ (Rousseau, 1772) Rousseau, a Geneva-born philosopher believed that children were born innocent and would naturally obtain positive attributes if left to do so. He thought that all children were pure until society negatively impacted this purity, conveying that the social environment has a damaging impact on childhood development. Children in the 18th century were regarded very differently from today as they were seen as naive and in need of protection. Parents and carers would instruct their children to stay clear of the temptations of their social world. This led to the creation of Rousseau’s 5 stages of development where freedom and exploration are central to all stages. ‘Let him know nothing because you have told him, but because he has learned it for himself. Let him not be taught science, let him invent it.’ (Rousseau, 1772) This shows that the teacher is not responsible for the formation of a good citizen, instead, a child should develop naturally, enhancing the purity and innocence they have been born with. However, Philosopher John Locke obtained contrary views, leading him to believe that children were born ‘tabula rasa’, meaning blank slate. They were neither good nor evil. He considered the environment and social setting to enhance the development of a child, experience crucial to learning. Locke saw parents as ideal tutors who were accountable for shaping their children into established individuals, by providing them with an appropriate environment and contributing moral guidance. (Duschinsky, 2012) Locke’s theory can be very much associated with more contemporary issues concerning society. For example, in the early 1990’s the conservative party viewed the reduction of traditional family values, to be the main cause of a deteriorating nation. This shows that society and the environment around the child have a great influence in shaping a child to be a ‘good citizen’.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the teacher does hold responsibility for shaping a child to be a ‘good citizen’ using their societal stance to influence the pupil’s views and aspirations by taking an authoritative role in the process of traditional education. In addition to this, producing a ‘responsible citizen’ is one of the 4 main capacities central to the Scottish curriculum. It is up to the teacher to promote these factors, indicating that the teacher must produce responsible citizens. However, it can be hard for teachers to influence children through a more progressive approach, where the teacher is seen as more of a supportive and sympathetic character rather than someone controlling pupils, so consequently has little impact on children’s outcomes as freedom and exploration are key features to progressive education. Another capacity central to the Scottish curriculum is encouraging children to be confident individuals and therefore build self-esteem. According to (Franken, 1994) higher levels of self-esteem and self-confidence, resulting in higher ambition and therefore parallel success. The teacher is a key factor in promoting confident individuals, which consequently leads to the formation of ‘good citizens’ due to the high levels of ambition and success produced as an outcome. However, it is up to the child to embark on the journey of alienation to reach maximum freedom within themselves for them to obtain the desired values that a ‘good citizen’ holds. This journey is out of anyone else’ control than the child, diminishing the teacher’s responsibility of producing a good citizen. Rousseau believed that all children are born pure and innocent and will develop the positive attributes of a good citizen if left to develop naturally. A child adopts these characteristics through freedom and exploration. Therefore, a teacher should not interfere with the development of a child, by telling them wrong from right, and instead a child will form naturally into a ‘good citizen’. In addition to this, John Locke’s view that children are born as clean slates and that the environment and society are key impactors on a child’s development, also displays that teachers are not responsible for shaping children. Instead, parents and social factors such as family values are very influential in the process of development.

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Factors of Self Esteem in Education Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Feb 29 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/factors-of-self-esteem-in-education-essay/
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