Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Body Image & Self-Esteem


(5A stating what they like best about their bodies)

Ah...5th grade. Many of our students are morphing before our eyes into "tweens," and with that comes a host of hormonal, psychological and social-emotional changes that are both exciting and challenging (for the students and their parents!).

I was eager to be a part of this Unit of Inquiry to present on both body image and self-esteem. The students were highly engaged and provoked to think more deeply about their own perceptions of themselves and others. Intellectually, these young ladies are developing metacognition, or their ability to "think about thinking." They can now view the world and its influences with a more critical, thoughtful lens, and use this skill to understand more about themselves. I find myself reminding the girls (often) about how these changes are shared among ALL humans, no matter which race, ethnicity, gender, etc.

Initially, I utilised optical illusions as a metaphor for perspective taking, which is a crucial aspect of body image. Two individuals can view the same image and interpret it in a different way. For example, what do YOU see in this anonymous German postcard from 1888?

                          http://psylux.psych.tu-dresden.de/i1/kaw/diverses%20Material/www.illusionworks.com/html/perceptual_ambiguity.html

Similarly, we discussed how the "ideal standard of beauty" can vary based on geography. The girls were informed of a study which demonstrated this very idea.  The way in which our culture defines beauty can, as a result, affect body image. The students were also able to learn about self-esteem, or how we feel about ourselves, what constitutes a "healthy" or "low" self-esteem, and how we can develop a more positive self-image. They seemed to enjoy two wonderful and thought-provoking videos about photoshop and Dove's "selfie" project. Watch below!



Myself, Ms. Line, Mr. Carroll and Ms. Christine felt it important to focus on the positive throughout this unit, and to use this topic as a platform to promote the need to take care of oneself, both physically and mentally. Eating right, getting enough sleep, maintaining healthy friendships and being able to assertively express your feelings, thoughts and desires can make the growing pains a whole lot easier. 

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