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The importance of early self awareness in personal and professional evolution
Scris de mihaiela lazar   
Miercuri, 08 Aprilie 2015 08:05

THE IMPORTANCE OF EARLY SELF-AWARENESS

IN PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL EVOLUTION

Prof. Jianu Camelia

Colegiul Tehnic Reșița

For adults is self-awareness often a detail in everyday life, so many times it is also treated like such when it comes to children in the middle and late school years. We focus on training the pupil professionally while ignoring how much they know about themselves and how they can use this self-awareness to push themselves much further than teachers will ever be able to. It is true that teachers are the starting point for a further professional evolution, but the child needs to be encouraged to look inside rather than outside in order to find the path to their life goal. Many times we have seen that children do not have any goal, so how can they find a path to something which is, from their point of view, completely undefined.

In the current article we will try to scrape the surface of the importance of self-awareness in pupils from 14 to 18 years old. The complexity of the subject as well as the large variety of points of view from which we can analyse the topic makes it impossible to present all aspects in this article. We are trying to shift some of the focus of the educational system on the psychological understanding of the self in children.

Keywords: self-awareness, knowledge of skills, self-esteem.

1. Background

We start with a theoretical background on the problem of children self-awareness. Self awareness is a combination between the knowledge of skills, interests and value system awareness and self-esteem. One cannot have self-esteem without having a knowledge of skills, so an analysis of the individual has to be made in whole or it does not take into account important factors which might influence the individual in one direction or another.

Knowledge of skills means that the individual is aware of his weak and strong points and is alone capable of describing them. This part of self-awareness is mostly linked in school to performance: if a pupil is very good in mathematics for instance, teachers will try to push the student in this direction in order to achieve performance. On the other hand, teachers many times do not adapt on the weak points of pupils and tend to use the same educational strategy on the vast majority of students, thus pushing the mean up with the risk of also pushing the weaker down.

On the other hand, interests and value system awareness is the part of the pupil which defines a part of their personality. Without having special skills in one direction, interests allow pupils to push themselves into learning skills, rather than having them naturally. The value system is a measurement system for external factors: students react on external stimuli based on their value systems. Each pupil has their own system which can also change over time. If teachers know how to encourage individuals, they will also change one’s value system in the right direction.

Lastly, self-esteem represents a pupil’s self evaluation of their own worth. It is always based on emotions and is at the same time a judgement and an attitude towards the self. The individual will rate his/her self-esteem as a combination of long-term and short-term actions and emotions. If teachers positively react to a pupil’s action, both their short and long-term self-esteem will be positively influenced.

2. Analysis

The analysis for this article has mainly been conducted in the classroom over multiple generations of pupils, between 14 and 18 years old. The first conclusion which arises is that self-awareness usually does not vary very much between generations of pupils but tends to stay the same. Differences between children often have other causes such family support and encouragement, friends or even the place where they have been raised. All of these define their sense of self-awareness and shape from early age their personality which is to a great extent developed when they come into highschool around 14 years of age.

In the time of this study I have tried to take another approach to teaching and focus more on the individual rather than on the whole classroom. An analysis of the factors of self-awareness which were presented in the previous chapter has enabled me to see what the needs of the child are and how I can support him on more than just a pedagogical level. If a child lacks self-esteem, he/she should be given small tasks which boost that self-confidence and at the same time the respect he has for himself. The colleagues with which a child lacking self-esteem interacts are also very important: he needs his peers to encourage his small successes and offer positive encouragement.

On the other hand, individuals which are naturally better in one direction of study should be pushed with small challenges when possible. Extra assignments which cover the whole classroom talent pool are a good place to start for strengthening the knowledge of skills and enables us, the teachers, to easily discover where a student is particularly talented. Children talented at maths will choose subjects which include more mathematics, the ones with technical skills will go more with subjects that require an in-depth analysis of the problem before starting with the implementation of the solution.

Workgroups make up an important aspect in modern educational systems because they enable children to combine their strengths and to cover up their weaknesses as a group. This way the pupil will also become aware of their skills and will work together with others in order to reach a common goal. Sharing interests, passions and comparing one’s value systems with that of their peers is also the goal of using workgroups as a way of learning new material.

3. Conclusion

In the end, understanding the psychology of the pupil and their level of self-awareness is a crucial element of the modern educational system. We have reached a point where we are conscious of the fact that children learn the best when they are positively encouraged, but we can not help the individual until we move away from the traditional approach of teaching to a whole classroom.

It is unfortunately not possible to teach the same material to each student separately, but we can focus single exercises and tasks on students in such a way that they feel positively encouraged to reach their goals.

References:

1. Pîinisoara, Ion Ovidiu, ”Comunicarea eficientă”, Editura Polirom, Iași, 2003

2. Salavastru, D. “Psihologia educației”, Editura Polirom, Iași, 2004

3. Soitu, L “Pedagogia comunicării”, Editura Didactică și Pedagogică Iași, 2001

 

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