Year: 1992

Author: Smith, Ian D

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Enhancing student self-concept has long been recognised as an important educational aim. It is both intrinsically and instrumentally important. A positive self-concept, in the sense of a perception that one is a worthwhile individual with personal qualities and abilities of value to himself/herself and to society, is vital to each individual's mental health. Schools and teachers, in particular, are concerned with the intrinsic worth of each student and with promoting that self-perception. Furthermore, it is widely believed that enhancing a student's self-concept will lead to increased student effort and learning, which ultimately result in higher educational achievement. Conversely, negative feelings of self-worth reduce student motivation and learning, leading to the phenomenon known as "learned helplessness" (Dweck, 1975). Self-concept enhancement, then, is commonly conceived as an instrumental goal, as well as an intrinsic goal, of great importance to the individual student, to families and to the wider society.