Self-Perception: Conformity vs. Non-Comformity
Identity beliefs about Acculturation, Assimilation & Bi-Culturalism

Perception is Powerful               

When it comes down to it, our individual self-perception plays a powerful role in academic success

Example: Veronica Espinoza saw herself in ways that helped her move past difficulties with family or how others saw her

Self-Perception: Conformity vs. Non-Conformity                        TOP

Are you a conformist or non-conformist?

What does it depend on?

What would it take for you to step back from the powers that be and say Iím not doing it!

Studies on Conformity

Studies have shown that people tend to go with the group, to conform to the norm in order to be accepted or survive. In situations like WWII in Nazi, Germany, this meant sending people to their deaths, even though soldiers knew it was not right.

Bolimaís Study                                    TOP

Bolima began her interest in education on an Alaskan Island where she lived in a Tlingit village of 600

She became fascinated with how differences in cultural perspective could create problems between non-native teachers and native students.

Studies on Academic Success

At the UW, Bolima did a study to determine what aspects affected student academic success.

This was a study done with high school students

Findings: Self-Perception                        TOP

Self-perceptions were one important aspect

Especially ideas about conformity and non-conformity

Students who resisted molding or changing themselves to fit in, had worse grades

Student Categories                                    TOP

Students beliefs fit into one or more of the following categories:

Acculturationists: When two or more cultural worlds merge to create an identity and are valued equally

Assimilationists: When one culture is valued more and given up totally to fit into another

Bi-Culturalists: When two different cultures are absorbed, but remain separate from one another and may or may not be valued equally

Categories of Beliefs                                          TOP                     

Non-conformists Ė Acculturationists:

The System needs to meet me half way and itís screwed up

Semi Non-conformists -- Acculturationists/Assimilators: The system is right, but so am I!

Semi Conformists ĖAssimilators: The system is right and Iím screwed up because I canít succeed

Conformists ĖAssimilators/Bi-culturalists: The system is only a tool and Iím okay no matter what

In Essence                                                                TOP

This study shows teacher approach makes a difference, and so does student self-perceptions.

Basically, the system rewards conformity/assimilation even though it may mean giving up your identity

The American system enforces mindless uniformity to a given norm, not necessarily individuality as we are all taught!

Those who refuseÖ.                                            TOP

Our Master students: Veronica, Malcom X & Helen Keller, defied the norm for self-preservation. They were non-conformists for a reason. The system did not support them, so they supported themselves or found support in what ever ways they could.

Group Discussion:

In what ways did Helen Kellerís perceptions relate to her success as an individual or scholar?

Discuss your own conformity and self-esteem beliefs (acculturalist, assimilationist, bi-culturalist) according to the types. How do you think your type may have helped or limited you in the past? Do the study results show that being a non-conformist is bad? Or what does it say exactly?