Self-Concept

Self-Concept

Self-Concept

Self-Concept

Synopsis

The aim of this book is to discuss the notions of self-concept, self-esteem, and related terms from an educational and psychological perspective. Specifically, this book is concerned with developing a model of self-concept -- and corollaries to this model -- that assesses the dimensionality of self-concept, reviews tests of self-concept, discusses the relationship between self- concept and other variables (particularly achievement), describes the development of self-concept, and evaluates programs to enhance self-concept. Throughout this volume, emphasis is placed on ordering the many studies using recent methodological advances such as meta-analysis and the analysis of covariance structures. After detailing a conceptual model of self-concept, the book offers various experimental and statistical discussions of the model. Unlike many other models, the claim is not that this model is the correct one but that it may serve as a useful "coathanger" until a better one is devised.

Excerpt

One of the most moving books in the behavioral sciences concerns a small boy in search of himself. Dibs is a 5 year-old who has been classified mentally retarded, autistic and brain-damaged. His teachers were baffled and challenged by Dibs as he kept very much away from others and seemed in a world of his own. Dibs seemed to read books but, his teachers asked, this was ridiculous, "How could a child read if he could not express himself verbally?" His future seemed bleak.

Virginia Axline (1964) vividly documented her experiences as a psychotherapist with Dibs and outlined his growth as he met the various pressures that accompany growing up. This growing involved discovering that the security of his world was not wholly outside himself, that he needed to develop strength to cope with the world, and that he had to experience personally his ability to cope with his world.

The discovery of self occurs most often without the insight and patience of a psychotherapist like Axline and is usually more a haphazard emerging. Courses in understanding or even talking about the self are noted by their rarity--at least for children--yet the notion of self has been pivotal in many theories of philosophy, psychology, and psychotherapy. Rogers (1951), for example, argued that the self is the basic unit for the study of individual behavior, whereas some have castigated behaviorists for arguing that we can never know the self and a pursuit of the self is fruitless. There have been those (e.g., Cooley, 1902) who have claimed that the self is a mirror of others' perceptions, those who have contended that the self represents a person's inborn potential (e.g., Horney, 1950), those who claimed that the self is impossible to observe much less to define (e.g., Hume, 1740), and those who . . .

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