March 15, 2019
PSYCHOLOGY has had festivals of theories about the individual person—a fascinating topic for any individual to help in one’s self introspection. We make an effort to set ourselves aside from the din of every day commitments, to take time off, whether this be a retreat, a reflection session or any other form of extricating ourselves both mentally and physically from this physical world for a good enough length of time. We make time to review, to improve or reform what our personal traits are such as being too giving, too lax or too strict as well as those of our physical form such as being stocky or slim or dark, etc. or of our material possessions such as having more house-help than needed, an unkempt garden, a booming business or a start-up bed and breakfast lounge, etc. <https://www.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC259 4523/pdf/jnma00309-0088.pdf>
Positive/good/negative/poor self-image. The idea one has of one’s abilities, appearance, and personality is self-image. In its most basic form, it is “an internalized mental picture/idea” one has of oneself. It’s how a person thinks and feels about one’s self “based on [one’s] appearance, performance, and relationships that consistently impact on [one’s] outlook on life as well as [one’s] level of happiness and fulfillment”. “These assets and liabilities often are evident through the labels one gives one’s self that describes one’s qualities and characteristics.” They are the “foundations of one’s self-image” and parts of the “internalized mental picture/idea” one creates of one’s self. One’s self-image is the impression one has of one’s self that forms a collective representation of one’s assets and liabilities. In other words, one’s self-image is how one sees one’s self based on one’s strengths and weaknesses. <https://blog.iqmatrix.com/self-image>. Said in another way, self-image is “the idea that one has of one’s self, especially of one’s abilities, character and appearance.” <https://www .ldoceonline.com/dictionary/self-image>.
Implications for teachers and learners. A teacher announcing to the class his/her criticism on the poor quality of a learner’s output leads to the learner’s developing a negative self-image. Yes, there is such among us and this could be in graduate studies. A learner who may be the butt of the teacher’s prejudice will be rebellious. The learner would keep quiet because he or she feels he or she is not being valued. He or she feels isolated from the rest of the batchmates who, in the learner’s belief, have also isolated him or her from their group. “Essentially, all these blocks to communication and self-expression are to do with feelings of inadequacy and poor self-image. Personality-based depression happens to people with poor self-image, or to a person who is heavily dependent on others for emotional support.” As an expert suggests, “No child should leave school with a sense of failure or a poor self-image.” We may not be aware that there are learners who do try their best to meet our expectations, except that they do have learning difficulties that have not been noticed, or have been noticed but have not been attended to for some reason or other. Particularly in the Philippine setting, where English is the medium of instruction in the upper grades, assignments, such as essays, have to be in English. Learners have much meaningful ideas to share except that their lack of vocabulary and declining English language skills prevent them from sharing what otherwise would have been valuable ideas to have shared. Also, “through no fault of their own, people of all ages who have specific learning difficulties can also be disorganized, forget instructions and/or lose belongings such as their pen or notes; [learners] may seem to be constantly in trouble with their teachers, unwilling to conform, and even labelled as troublemakers.”
How to help learners build a healthy self-image. Experts suggest various ways on how we can help improve the self-image of our learners. First is to look for something positive in every learner. Long years past, learners were labeled as “bright” if they scored high marks in what usually were on the basic cognitive levels such as remembering. There were questions verging on understanding and application. Tests given then were the matching type or filling the blanks which usually were about who, when, where and what. Seldom did tests ask why. Second, we try discovering what is unique in each learner, multiple intelligence-wise, such as talents related to the lessons for the day. A mathematics teaching research noted that learners receiving a teacher’s positive encouragement written on their exams were found to have greatly improved in their mathematics assignments. Learners became more interactive and unhesitatingly approached their teacher for needed explanations. Third, is to give a “positive affirmation” of what learners are able to do, enabling them to acknowledge their positive qualities they may not be aware of. Culture-wise, Filipino learners may be sensitive to criticism. How we frame our remarks could help either build or destroy a learner’s self-image. Hence, a fourth way is to teach learners that criticisms are part of the development process, to be less onion-skinned. This may help them accept positively negative remarks about their work or about themselves. A fifth strategy is to train them set goals or objectives for every endeavor which they will launch themselves or with team mates. Indeed, there is merit, that at the outset, for every lesson taught, clear goals or objectives be formulated together with learners. This way, they have a common understanding of what learning expectations (a skill, new knowledge, new procedure, etc.) awaits them. This particular strategy has been considered through the outcomes-based approach which is the popular preoccupation these past years in formulating syllabi.
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