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Identity in Schooling- What lead me to Zines...

At CSU Monterey Bay where I have been attending college for the past five years students are required to complete a final project called a Capstone Project to sum up their college education. As a Liberal Studies student I am required to pick a topic that interests me and complete a project based on that topic. Identity Development is a topic that has been very prevelant throughout my college education through my minor in Human Development, and through the many Liberal Studies "teacher" classes that touch on educational issues, such the achievement gap, the drop out rate, test scores, NCLB, etc. In learning about these issues while at the same time learning the importance of identity development I began to question the relationship between the two. Were students becoming unsuccessful and failing because their identities were being eroded in school, because their identities did not match what was expected of them in school? When I researched this topic futhur to see it was one I could establish as my Capstone Project I found that many educational theorists, teachers, etc. had come to the same conclusion. These failing students were not fitting in, feeling connected, to the schools, the curriculum, the teachers, etc. I found through my experiences working with students and researching the topic that not only does an identity connection, or lack of connection, in school affect a students motivation to learn, but a students sense of self affects how they feel about school and whether or not being "a student" becomes a part of their identity. If they feel disconnected than they will be disconnected choosing another identity role that is more important to them. It's an idea that is pretty obvious, but one that is not often considered by educators or schools. IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT AND RECOGNITION IS KEY TO STUDENTS' SUCCESS. I know there are so many other problems with the educational system and social workings of the United States in general that contribute to the issue of students' success, but why don't more schools/teachers start from the beginning with what students know and what they bring to the classroom-- themselves? This is why I choose the topic of Student Identity as the focus for my final project (Capstone Project).

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