The Art and Science of How People Learn - Revised Edition
Edited By Greg S. Goodman
48. Learning to Feel Like a Teacher
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Learning to Feel Like a Teacher
PERSONAL IDENTITY FROM WITHIN AND WITHOUT
In this postmodern age, searching for identity has become a risky business. Who am “I,” and how do “I” compare to the various “me’s” which others (hopefully) notice? Erik Erikson described how individuals gradually become able to answer this question, at least when all goes well (1950/1967)— though as optimistic as he was, even Erikson admitted that developing a felt identity was fraught with risk. In Erikson’s world, shadowy clouds of “identity diffusion” lingered in the blue skies of self-knowledge, even for the best of us. Others of a psychological bent have echoed his description, often with more detail about the cloudy weather: descriptions are plentiful about factors that frustrate identity development, about how the self as experienced can go wrong even when it looks healthy enough (see, for example, Marcia, 1993; Waterman & Archer, 1990). Identity goes right, it seems, in more singular, predictable ways than it goes wrong. So personality psychologists often end up echoing Leo Tolstoy: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” (Tolstoy, 1912). As with families, so with individuals when viewed as examples of identity development: individuals tend to look more similar when happy, positive, and successful, than when doubtful, anxious, or unsure. At least that is how they are portrayed.
While we might therefore complain that...
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