KSA #06 Planning · KSA #08 Relationships

The Selves we Teach

The “expressive and managerial self”, both focus on the interior processes and functions of individuals. In Martin’s (2007) discussion of the “expressive self” page 19 from Combs (1961) is quoted, which states, “self-actualizing people see themselves in positive ways, and you do not get this from having failures”. Additionally, a learner’s focus on meeting criteria of instructional tasks is discussed in relation to the “managerial self”. It is this attitude that hinders students learning and contributes to the math phobia that we see all too often in our classrooms.

Following what I learned from my reading of Jo Boaler’s (2016) Mathematical Mindsets, I have spent the past two weeks not worrying about curriculum and have purely focused on community developing through discussion of growth mindset, setting norms for group work and discussing Boaler’s 7 Math Norms. My students have written weekly reflections and the feedback has been amazing. I’m being told that for the first time in their lives they’ve felt that they can have a successful year in math. Most commonly students said that they wouldn’t be scared to make mistakes, because we would celebrate them growing their brain. With this new research in mind, I am excited to continue promoting students positive image of themselves as a person and learner through the celebration of their failures.

Another big piece that we have been focusing on this year is the collective group, and how we all influence one another in the class, which goes along with the “communal self”. The concept of the “communal self” is a positive shift towards recognizing that we can learn more when we consider the “whole person” rather than studying the “isolated and decontextualized” individual will provide us.The “communal self” is formed from sociocultural conventions and ways of life including, but not limited to, interactions students have at home, in the community and at school. We see this often as teachers when we look into our student’s home, school and social life to gain a deeper understanding of the complex social structures that have had an influence on creating the person we are working with today. Using this information, teachers are able to begin to personalize learning experiences for the students in their classes, which ultimately will have a positive impact on the student’s learning experience.

Until next time,
Mr. B

Boaler, J. (2016). Mathematical mindsets. San Francisio, CA: Jossey-Bass

Martin, J. (2007). The selves of educational psychology: Conceptions, contexts, and critical considerations. Educational Pyschologist, 42(2), 79–89. doi:1080/00461520701263244

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