Schooling the possible self

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From a social perspective, one's identity is entirely the product of interaction with others. As children participate in the vast range of social situations, they collect impressions of themselves that coalesce to form a sense of who they are, as well as a narrative framework that helps explain the world and their place within it. These insights create a dynamic identity that is stimulated by one's sense of potential and possibility. The social perspective provides a way to understand how school situations offer the substance from which children develop a sense of self. Literacy is a particularly powerful conduit for the development of self. An understanding of language and literacy, and how these processes are taken up by the child as means to shape his or her social connections and, by extension, his or her social reality, demands an understanding of self and how it evolves through interaction in a range of contexts. The purpose of this article is to describe how "self" plays out through literacy situations at home and school. Borrowing from social and cultural descriptions of the development of self, this article illustrates how these situations provide contexts for the expression and development of self, and offers implications for curriculum and classroom practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-461
Number of pages37
JournalCurriculum Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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