In the most basic terms the Looking Glass self is your self image which is formed by the views others hold of you. These views the people around you have can have either a positive or negative effect on your self imagine. First we picture how our personality and appearance will come off to others, and then we think about how they will judge our personality and appearance. As people around us pass judgment on who we are this is when our self-concept develops, basically who we think we are and how we feel about ourselves as a whole.
These judgments’ can have a powerful effect on ones beliefs and feelings about themselves. I’ve felt and been effected by the beliefs another person has about me. When I was in the 8th grade I thought I was a wonderful student, smart, well behaved. I felt as though my teachers all thought the same way. Then one day my homeroom teacher called me stupid for missing a homework assignment.
To be called out in front of the class like that was horrifying. Though that wasn’t the only time an incidence like that occurred.
In the 9th grade I struggled with math. I did poorly on tests, I already lacked confidence in the subject and it took one day with a substitute teacher to shatter it completely. I will never forget the words she said to me “Why can’t you finish the test? Are you stupid? ” As child of any age, those words are damaging to the way you feel about yourself, and the way you think others perceive you.
“Tell a child he’s stupid enough times and eventually he’ll start believing you, claims Benj Vardigan, with the Behavioral Institute.
When a child makes mistakes or doesn’t understand a concept, his knee-jerk reaction may be to conclude that he’s stupid. Take that one step further and watch a child stop trying to understand or stop trying to learn a concept because he automatically assumes he can’t figure it out. ” (Hatter) In A Class Divided on of the first examples of looking glass self that I picked up on was when the children came back in from recess after fighting. Mrs. Elliot asks “What’s wrong with being called brown eyes? ” and a little
boy, Roy, says “It means we’re stupider and – well, not that…” It’s immediate how the effect of this experiment took hold. These children took to heart what their teacher, Mrs. Elliot had said, that brown eyed children are less than blue eyed children, they aren’t as smart or as well behaved. In the first day of the lesson the effects on their peers perception of them had caused so much turmoil that it caused one child to hit another, clearly the negative aspect of looking glass. In the Teaching Adults section, Mrs. Elliott describes how she gave tests before during and after the lesson on discrimination.
Telling the audience that the student test scores raise on the day they are on top, scores drop when they are on the bottom and after the experiment the children’s testing scores maintain a higher level. She attributed this to the children discovering how good they are. I believe instilling a positive self-imagine in a child is one of the most important things a parent, or teacher can do. “Whether self-concept is positive or negative can influence important areas of a child’s development and achievement. Educators have recognized that there is a link between self-concept and performance in school.
Students with a strong self-concept tend to have good grades and take an active role in school. They are able to accept challenges and enjoy new learning experiences. Students with a negative self-concept tend to have both attitude and behavior problems. They may be unwilling to try new things, because they believe they will fail anyway, or they may not work up to their potential. Some educators feel that a positive self-concept is so important that children need to be taught to like themselves before they are taught academic skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics. ” (Myers-Walls and Hinkley)