The formation of identity: the importance of ideals

De Ruyter, D. and Conroy, J. (2002) The formation of identity: the importance of ideals. Oxford Review of Education, 28(4), pp. 509-522. (doi: 10.1080/0305498022000013643)

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In the formation and composition of what might be termed personal identity a key but often neglected aspect is ideal identity. While comprising aspirations rather than realities, it makes a major contribution to the definition of self-identity. It does this as a result of: (a) clarifying what kind of person the individual wishes to be; and (b) an interrogation of how she sets about achieving her ideal identity, intimating what kind of person she is at a particular moment by virtue of the way in which she strives to achieve her ideal. The article argues for a re-appraisal of the notion of ideals in education and for its reinstatement as a significant feature of education. Indeed, we argue, children cannot avoid ideals--they are presented to them everyday from a wide variety of sources. But these sources or the ideals that they promote are not necessarily good for the child's well-being or for her fellow citizens. Consequently, teachers as moral agents have an important role in assisting children to acquire ideals that do meet such a criterion of goodness in addition to helping them reflect critically on the range of ideals they may encounter in their communities and society.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Conroy, Professor James
Authors: De Ruyter, D., and Conroy, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Creativity Culture and Faith
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Educational Leadership & Policy
Journal Name:Oxford Review of Education
ISSN (Online):1465-3915
Published Online:19 August 2010

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