Understanding the development of the self

Bick Har LAM

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


In psychology, self-development refers to a wide range of knowledge, encompassing physiological, psychosocial, psychoanalytic, personality and learning theories. This chapter aims to develop a general understanding of how learners perceive themselves through the processes of socialization, environmental interaction and self-concept formation. After completing this chapter, readers will be able to: •appreciate the complex process of student development in which environmental factors may exert both positive and negative influences to a person growth; •understand the subtle interactions between adults and children in the socialization process •develop strategies to support children and adolescents in building a positive self-concept that facilitate their growth in a healthy environment. This chapter is organized around the following themes: •the beginnings of the self come from primary inputs: auditory cues, physical sensations, body image cues and personal memories. •with increased intellectual functioning and growth in experiences, people gain the ability to understand the outside world more fully. They become agents of experience (knowers and doers), and are aware of the social environment where they see themselves as objects in the outside world (to be known). This leads to the formation of the self-concept. •the development of the self-concept is largely determined by the process of socialization, which communicates social norms, social expectations and culture-specific aspirations to individual members of society. •self-esteem refers to the feelings and evaluation of oneself; high and low self-esteem influence individual growth and development in both social and academic aspects. •Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model, Freud’s psychoanalytic theories and Erikson’s psychosocial and moral development theories lead to further understanding of the environment, the self and the interaction between the two. This understanding will keep teachers informed of how the self is developed among students. •the self-concept, parenting styles and their implications, and confucianism influence self-development among Chinese learners. •strategies should be adopted to enhance self-esteem in schools at the classroom and school policy levels. Copyright © 2011 Hong Kong University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLearning and teaching in the Chinese classroom: Responding to individual needs
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherHong Kong University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9789888053926
ISBN (Print)9789888083428
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Lam, B.-h. (2011). Understanding the development of the self. In S. N. Phillipson, & B.-h. Lam, Learning and teaching in the Chinese classroom: Responding to individual needs (pp. 145-173). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.


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