In the educational field there is and has been a blame game between both teachers and students. Many students blame their failing grades on their current or previous teachers, whereas teachers have found to put their students’ failing grades on their lack of effort and drive in the classroom. Everyone points the blame in the other direction, rather than realizing the real issues that lie in front of them.
I found this topic to be extremely interesting considering the fact that everyone at one point in time has been faced with these issues, whether you were the teacher or student. Through Symbolic Interactionism and the term Looking-glass self one may begin to feel a certain way about themselves due to the teacher’s perspective of him/her, whether it be negatively or positively. Many feel the need to blame the student for his/her success in the classroom but the relationship between the student and teacher directly affects the outcome of the students’ success. In society, the perception others have on a person have a direct affect on that person. In Re(Imagining) Teacher Preparation Through Symbolic Interactionism and the Looking-Glass Self, both Hund and Knaus examine this topic even further.
This topic is very important mainly because the way in which people view themselves is directly related to how they are treated by others, whether it is by their peers, teachers, parents, etc. Hund argues that “perceived teacher expectations play a significant role in student learning and achievement” (53). Looking-glass self compliments the ideas that Hund describes in the article. The way an individual, in this case a teacher, views the success of their student will directly affect the success of their student in the classroom. Whether the teacher has a positive or negative perception of their student it will change the perception the student has of them self. If your third grade teacher from day one feels that you as an individual are not competent and cannot grasp what is going on in the class, then you in return will feel uneasy and a failure. You could also have the same teacher who feels that you are a very successful and driven student, which will give you the confidence and poise to succeed in the class. Mead states that “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can really hurt me” (66). When people, especially those that are inferior to you, treat you in a way that is demeaning, it will, in fact, distort the image one has of them self. At an early age society, especially in the classroom, has shown to have a direct affect on how you view yourself as an individual. Each and every person has the ability to affect a person’s view of themselves whether that be negatively or positively. It is very important for educators to map the future of young lives in a positive way, no matter the students’ ability.
Communication is an everyday occurrence between individuals, which can significantly alter one’s view of themselves. Learning more about Social Interactionism and the term Looking-glass self in the classroom has helped me better understand how the concept directly affects students’ success. Associating students with negative connotations can leave the students with the idea that they themselves are incompetent. It is very important in the classroom for teachers to avoid stereotyping their students based on their first impression. Students’ perspectives of themselves is directly related to how others view them and it is very important for teachers to realize this early on so they can encourage and help their students to succeed.
Fernavery. (2007, September 7) Expectations: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy [Video filed]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4wL5t8YH1Q
Griffen, Em. (2009). A first look at communication theory. Ryan, Michael (Ed.), Symbolic interactionism of george herbert mead (pp.59-68). New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Hund, Andrew, & Knauss, Karen. (2011). An International Journal of Complexity & Education, Re(Imagining) Teacher Preparation Through Symbolic Interactionism and the Looking-Glass Self. (pp.51-57). Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com.