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Learner Identity Essay

I always perceive this society as a learning society where in our everyday life we can get various opportunities to learn things that interest us. Learning is a lifelong process as it continues until one dies. But the most crucial phase of forming a learner identity is the school going phase for everybody.

School does not only give formal education, but it also enriches one with those knowledge that one wants to learn from his or her own interest. It is not that everyone possesses similar interest; interest area varies from one person to another. The important thing is for everybody there is usually an interest area in which one try to equip himself/herself with more knowledge. This kind of knowledge gathering in own interest area forms a learner identity along with making the way of forming a professional identity in the similar field.

In this paper I will try to discuss how my own learner identity has been shaped through my experiences in my school.

I have a very interesting history of my schooling. The schools going phase of my life has not been very smooth. I have had to fight with some obstacles that disrupted my school going phase to a large extent. But the good thing is that all these obstacles did not stop me learning things that interest me.

Here I will discuss how my learning identity has been developed, what were the factors that forced me to discontinue my formal education, the obstacles that I face in fulfilling my aspirations, and the factors that led me to join school once again and continue my formal education. Along with these I will also discuss my future as a learner and how I will shape that trajectory.

Let us first start with analyzing how my learner identity has been shaped through my school experiences. Before discussing my own experiences as a learner, it will be better to understand the general process developing learner identity as it will help in understanding the process of formation of my own identity of a learner.

When a student goes to school, he/she not only read text books, prepare himself/herself for getting good marks in examination, but he/she also capitalize on those opportunities which help him/her to learn several aspects relating to of his/her life and the outer world. Before identifying and understanding learner identity, it is necessary to understand what is actually meant by the term ‘learning’. The definitions of learning which are commonly used in order to understand learning generally focus on changes in the behavior of people which continues over time (Gange et al. 2004).

For example, one child learns how to play a piano one day and can still play it a day, a week, even a week or a year later. This kind of learning can be defined as that type of learning which lasts for long. This sort of learning continues beyond the time of initial learning phase. If a student learn a thing in such a way that his or her learning endures for long, then the people who are involved in making the student to learn the thing, e.g. parents, teachers, or other people, becomes very happy as they can then think that their efforts did not go in vain and the student then is characterized as a good learner who is capable of utilizing his learning throughout his activities over time.

But it is not that all sort of learning lasts for long. There exists certain type of   learning which putrefies over time. Basically when a student want to learn things just to pass his/her exams, then the content of learning does get easily forgotten. Suppose a student is taking online course in European History. These kinds of courses require a student to match significant events which make shifts in culture.

The student may attentively do the course, master himself in the intended content of the course, take the test on the subject under consideration and may perform quite well. But the student will gradually forget most the content which he has learnt through the course as his main motive was to pass the test.

Learner identity does form only through that learning which lasts for long and which is not intended to pass the test only.  This sort of learning comprises of those learning which are achieved though everyday experiences of life, particularly the experiences from schools days. However, there is another sort of learning that grows over time and play a very significant role in forming learner identity. For example, a student who learns how to play piano, may show his/her interest in learning different sorts of tune. With continued help from the instructor he learns to play the piano in much better way over time. (Wenger, 1998; Osguthorpe, 2006).

After understanding what learning actually stands for, it would be quite easy for me to discuss my own learning history in order to analyze how my own learning identity has been shaped. Since my childhood, I have been quite interested about social issues. While other students dreamt of shaping up their career as engineers, doctors, architects, etc, I dreamt of being a good and responsible citizen and to take an active part in the process of betterment of our society.

Hence, since my early school days the subject which dealt with ethical issue attracts me most and I always had a tendency to master my self in this area. Through text books I get know various characteristics which a good citizen should possess. But my learning in this area did not stop here. My objective was not to get good scores, but to equip myself with necessary ideas in the area of my interest.

I always kept asking my teachers, my parents, and my elders in my schools about how I can become a better person. I also tried to learn from the events that occur around me, such as in schools, in society, and so on. I did not learn things in the area of my interest just to learn them, but to implement my learning in practice.

For example, I got to know that every body should be treated equally in our society. Although I did not had much idea about what the word ‘democracy’ stands for, what I knew and still accomplish is that every student irrespective of social or economical status, color, religion etc. must get equal treatment form their peers as well as teachers. (Osguthorpe, 2006; Maryanski, 1998; Parsons, and Shils, 1976; Ritzer, 1983).

One event which helped a lot in shaping my learner identity was an event in my school that took place when I was in seventh standard. One day I saw that during the lunch break a group of my seniors was making fun of one my class mates. I went to them and asked them why they were laughing at my classmate.

Then I came to know that they were making fun of his lunch as he could only bring two pieces of butter toasts everyday as he did not belong to a well-to-do family and therefore could not afford to bring other type of foods. Actually they were making fun of his poverty. Although I was younger, but I protested their action and told them that it’s not his or his family’s fault to have poor economical status and our education teaches us to treat everyone equally, not to make fun of others for their shortcomings.

They understood my point and refrained from their shameful act. My teachers and other seniors also appreciated my move as I tried to utilize my learning in everyday life other than only to use them for getting good marks.  When I became a little older I also confronted one of my teachers as he was biased towards those who belong to upper class of the society, particularly the one who belonged to the families of the school’s trustee. I, however, admired some of my teachers as their first priority was to become good and responsible teachers who did not confined themselves to teaching of text books, but teaching ethical values.

All these events and experiences have shaped up my identity of a learner. As I became older and upgraded to higher standards in my school an aspiration to become a sociologist had started to grow within me. Actually I want to search for better ways through which society becomes cleaner and it becomes possible to ensure that democracy is being exercised in its true sense. In order to fulfill my dream was to become a sociologist as a sociologist can view the society and prescribe solutions to existing problems in a much better way.  Being a good learner of social and ethical issues, I found myself better equipped with sociological ideas than my peers. (Turner and Stets, 2005; Lenski, 2005; Maryanski and Turner, 1992).

I, however, had to take a sad decision regarding continuation of my formal schooling four years ago. That time I was in my twelveth standard and I had to leave my school due to a number of non-conducive social and economical factors. Thorough learning of various soxciological books and articles has helped to identify the factors for my own. The factors which were responsible for this decision were s follows:

First, there occurred a sudden fall in the economic condition of our family. My father, the main earning member of our family lost his job four years ago on account if a fatal accident which did hamper his brain. Since then he has been living a mentally paralyzed life.  This has hurt financial condition of our family very badly.

Since he lost his job, our family has been surviving on the small savings of my father and the very little salaries that my mother and I get from our part time job. I am not the only child of my parents. I have three siblings and my parents have to provide basic needs for all four of us. Most the money that my parents get at the end of the month gets to spend over food and house rent. Thus it became very difficult to continue our study.

Second, our society is dominated by rich. We, the poor, are mere puppet in the hands of them. In every socio-economic space they make such rules and regulations which would benefit them only. The school, which is supposed to have an access for all in a democratic nation, is in practice a mere playground for the rich.

Four years ago the board of the school which is comprised only of the wealthy people had suddenly decided to raise fees to such an extent that it becomes completely impossible for students like us to afford that. The board has been so harsh that they did not think of the future of those students who do not belong to well-to-do families.  Even after the loss of my father’s job my family continued our formal schooling for three months. But the sudden rise in the fees of the school forced me to leave school. (Lenski, 1966).

Third, in spite of having poor financial condition along with increase in the school fees, my parents did not want me to discontinue my formal education. But I took this decision by myself as I realized what sort of problem they are going though. Apart form this, I am the elder son of my family, and I thought it’s my responsibility to help my parents in such a critical situation. I also did not want my younger siblings to discontinue their schools so I tried to get a job instead of continuing my education. (Turner and Stets, 2005; Lenski, 2005; Maryanski and Turner, 1992).

I always tried to being a good and responsible person since my childhood. At the time when my family was going through critical phase I had only two options- either to continue my study without paying attention to what my family is going through, or to discontinue my study and help my family to recover itself from this phase.

The first options seemed to be quite non-humanitarian. If I had wished, I could have forced my mother to continue my schooling by any how, even at the expense of discontinuing schooling of my siblings. But my conscience did not allow me to choose the first option opened to me. Actually I saw this as a closed option which I did not afford to go for. (Turner and Stets, 2005; Lenski, 2005)

I did, however, make a come back to my school after two years and completed my schooling by giving the test of class twelve and went for university studies. The factors that led me to take the decision for come back were as follows:

First, my mother got a good job two years ago and financial condition of my family started to improve. This changing scenario has helped me a lot to take such a decision.

Second, I did not actually accept the way I had been forced to leave my formal schooling due to sudden unjustified rise in school fees.  I did not accept the deep rooted social idea that poor will always be deprived of getting the opportunities to have a better life. I learned that everybody has equal right to lead a good and healthy life. Particularly, in the field of education, my sociological perspective said that everybody irrespective of socio-economic status should of equal right.

I did not want that this kind of trend where poor have to sacrifice at the end would continue for long. Being a good and responsible citizen I wanted to take an active part in the reformation of the society. But in order to that proper education was necessary. My education was not enough to fulfill my dream, and hence I left my part-time job and enroll myself into school once again.

(Sanderson, 1999; Turner, and Stets, 2005; Maryanski and Turner, 1992).

I have enrolled myself into university for undergraduate level of study and have been specializing in sociology as mastering in this subject would help me in fulfilling my dream. I see myself as a good citizen and responsible sociologist, who throughout his life has learned how to make a good social order.

I do not want to confine myself to the text book studies and giving exams, rather I want to implement my learning in practice in my future. In order to achieve this goal I will upgrade myself to much higher level of study and along with join the organizations who work for social causes. (Sanderson, 1999; Turner, and Stets, 2005; Maryanski and Turner, 1992).

Critical reflection of the assignment:

This assignment has helped to understand my own learner identity. I have never thought of this identity to such a elaborate extent. While doing this assignment, my area of interest and future objectives becomes quite clearer. While writing this paper I research a number of studies that deals with importance of education in our life and how every body should grow a learner identity in his/her area of interest.

Through this assignment I looked back my past which, I suppose, would give me much strength to form my future. I never thought of future trajectory in the area of learning in such a systematic way. Through this assignment I become able to remind me of my social responsibility along with my professional objective once again.

This paper, however, has a shortcoming. In this paper I have mentioned that I want to form a strong learner identity through the implementation of my learning for practical purposes rather than put it in the shelf. But I did not mention elaborately, mainly due to apace limitation of the assignment, about how I would enforce my learner identity in my everyday life. I, however, gave some examples of how I utilized my learning in my school days and is still utilizing in form of shaping up my future goals.

Next time, I would, however, want to focus on the way through which I can implement my leaning, how as a sociologist I would help to form a better society where there will be non-conflict between rich and poor.

In this paper, I used conflict sociological perspective in order to examine my learner identity. Next time I would rather want to additionally take into account some other sociological perspective, like functionalist approach, to do the assignment.

The strongest part of the paper is the section where I discussed how I formed my learner identity and illustrated the factors that forces me to leave school and the factors that help me to make a come back decision. Because here I attentively utilized conflict-sociological perspective to identify the factors, along with discussing and interpreting my learner identity.

The weakest part, on the other hand, is the description of future trajectory. This section needs much more elaboration. Although in many places across the paper I mentioned and described about my future objectives, this areas has got comparatively smaller focus separately.

References:

1. Gagné, R. M. ,  Wager, W. W., Golas, K. C.  and Keller. J. M. (2004). Principles of instructional design, Ft. Worth: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.

2. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

3. Osguthorpe, R.D. (2006).On the possible forms a relationship might take between the moral character of a teacher and the moral development of a student. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, CA: San Francisco.

4. Lenski, G. (1966). “Power and Privilege: A Theory of Social Stratification.” New York: McGraw-Hill.

5. Lenski, G. (2005). “Evolutionary-Ecological Theory.” Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

6. Maryanski, A.(1998). “Evolutionary Sociology.” Advances in Human Ecology. 7:1-56.

7. Maryanski, A. and Turner, J. (1992). “The Social Cage: Human Nature and the Evolution of Society.” Stanford: Stanford University Press.

8. Turner, J. and Stets, J. (2005). “The Sociology of Emotions.” Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.

9. Sanderson, S. K. (1999). “Social Transformations: A General Theory of Historical Development.” Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

10. Parsons, T., & Shils, A., (eds) (1976) Toward a General Theory of Action, Harvard University Press, Cambridge

11. Maryanski, A.(1998). Theories of Society: foundations of modern sociological theory, Free Press, New York.

12. Ritzer, G., (1983) Sociological Theory, Knopf Inc, New York


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