A reflective essay on self, identity, personality, and factors influencing identity based on James Marcia’s theory on personality development. People come in different shapes and sizes. Some are big while others are small, some are fat and some are slim, some are short while some are tall. People have many similarities. Unless born with a physical defect we all have one head, two eyes, two ears, one nose, one mouth, two arms with five fingers each, and two legs with five toes each. So basically we are all physically alike.
What makes us each uniquely different is our personality inside of us. A personality can be described as a person’s own distinctive character or the qualities that makes someone interesting or popular. Growing up I would wonder how one’s personality could be theorized. My quest was soon over as I learnt of the James Marcia’s theory on personality development. Based on Erik Erikson’s groundbreaking work on identity and psychosocial development in the 1960s, Canadian developmental psychologist James Marcia refined and extended Erikson’s model, primarily focusing on adolescent development.
Addressing Erikson’s notion of identity crisis, Marcia posited that the adolescent stage consists neither of identity resolution nor identity confusion, but rather the degree to which one has explored and committed to an identity in a variety of life domains from vocation, religion, relational choices, gender roles, and so on. Marcia’s theory of identity achievement argues that two distinct parts form an adolescent’s identity: crisis (i. e. a time when one’s values and choices are being reevaluated) and commitment. He defined a crisis as a time of upheaval where old values or choices are being reexamined.
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The end outcome of a crisis leads to a commitment made to a certain role or value. These are not stages, but rather processes that adolescents go through. All adolescents will occupy one or more of these states, at least temporarily. But, because these are not stages, people do not progress from one step to the next in a fixed sequence, nor must everyone go through each and every state. Each state is determined by two factors: * Is the adolescent committed to an identity, and * Is the individual searching for their true identity?
These states include: identity diffusion, identity foreclosure, identity Moratorium and identity achievement. I went to one of the best high school in the country. I did well in all subjects I did. I thought I had it all. Paid attention to no one around me, I just ignored it all. People would say someday I would fall but who would have thought they would someday be right. But who would have thought I would have ended up like this. Working on the streets with nowhere to go, nothing to eat, nothing to wear, no money, no one to turn to in my distress.
What can I do? Where can I go? I’m lost in this world like a diffused particle basking in the air. Identity diffusion this is the state of having no clear idea of one's identity and making no attempt to find that identity. These adolescents may have struggled to find their identity, but they never resolved it, and they seem to have stopped trying. There is no commitment and no searching. Growing up I was always considered by other to be a very brilliant child and I eventually developed the feeling that I was.
My parents enrolled me in the finest school they could afford. In the sixth grade I did the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and attained a pass to attend one of the noblest institutions in the country. I had always had the dream of becoming a teacher but my parents and others thought differently. Everyone in my family were either nurses or doctors hence I felt like I had to follow in their pathway. In my family one would so to primary school then off to high school. During my first three (3) years of high school I was forced to focus on the sciences.
Then during the final two years one would have to sit all three (3) sciences in the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate along with seven other subjects. I thought that if I didn’t do well I would disappoint my parents and other family members, hence I just went along fulfilling what I thought was my obligation. Identity Foreclosure this means that the adolescent blindly accepts the identity and values that were given in childhood by families and significant others. The adolescent's identity is foreclosed until they determine for themselves their true identity.
The adolescent in this state is committed to an identity but not as a result of their own searching or crisis. I have had many friends growing up. I have had many role models. I have tried doing many sports. Only to find who I am. Where I belong in this cold world? In school I tried acquiring many skills; I did many subjects and gained them all. During my years at college I did many courses changing my major over three (3) times; only to find who I really was and what I really wanted to become. I eventually graduated with a degree in medicine.
But I still haven’t found what I was looking for. I am still searching for my purpose in this society. I am still searching for who I really am. Identity Moratorium this is the status in which the adolescent is currently in a crisis, exploring various commitments and is ready to make choices, but has not made a commitment to these choices yet. On the cool winter morning of January 21, 1995 an angel sent from God was born; Alexcia Anglin. At age two I started school, at an early age teachers soon realized I were a brilliant child.
I started Chetwood Memorial Primary school; there I developed a passion for teaching. In the sixth grade I meet the one who turned out to be my role model; Mr. G. Atkinson. Seeing his passion for teaching I then develop a greater passion for teaching and I wanted to emulate him. I then moved on the Mt. Alvernia High School where I met many other teachers who aided in my development and strengthened my desire to become a teacher. Church was also an integral part of my life.
Going to pathfinder’s club on Sunday mornings and associating myself with children regularly I soon realized I loved being around younger children and it was during that point of my life I told myself I wanted to become a primary school teacher. During my high school years I tried my ever best to do well in all the subjects I knew I would need to attain in order to become a teacher. I thought I had everything under control and I thought I was on top but for a while things went sour. I swayed a bit and it seemed as though my dream of becoming a teacher was crushed.
My grades were not at its best but a deep voice inside me kept pushing me and told me to keep holding all, life will get better soon. Soon it was time to apply for college and I sent out my application to the Sam Sharpe Teacher’s college. That was not the end I had to sit eight CSEC subjects. Waiting for my results and a letter of acceptance from the college I was a bit nervous. Every thing eventually worked out I attain all ones and twos in my subjects and I got accepted to the college. Here I am today embracing my dream of becoming a primary school teacher.
Identity Achievement this is the state of having developed well-defined personal values and self-concepts. Their identities may be expanded and further defined in adulthood, but the basics are there. They are committed to an ideology and have a strong sense of ego identity. The core idea of this theory is that one’s sense of identity is determined largely by the choices and commitments made regarding certain personal and social traits. A well-developed identity gives on a sense of one’s strengths, weaknesses, and individual uniqueness.
A person with a less well-developed identity is not able to define his or her personal strengths and weaknesses, and does not have a well articulated sense of self. As teachers we need to be able to cope with the different personalities present in the classroom environment. Students come from different families, different communities and thus have different personalities and are taught different values. The onus is therefore on us as teachers to guide our students into developing socio acceptable values.
Before we can do so, we must first know who we are, know what our values are and our personality. I am Alexcia Anglin a first year student of the Sam Sharpe Teacher’s College and as a result of the knowledge I gained in the Emerging Professional course on James Marcia’s theory on personality development, I have discovered my identity status, which is “IDENTITY ACHIEVEMENT” , as I am fulfilling my dreams of becoming a teacher. References * http://www. learning-theories. com/identity-status-theory-marcia. html * http://socialscientist. us/nphs/psychIB/psychpdfs/Marcia. pdf
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