Patricia Alviano

Using life stories to deepen self-understanding
The understanding of one’s self shifts when exploring the question, “Who am I?” more fully. This is the finding from the Action Research study conducted by Patricia Alviano, Middle School learning support specialist. Over 10 weeks, Grade 7 students reflected on six critical life events and drew connections between these events and their sense of self. Interviews and journal entries were used to contrast their narratives from before and after their reflections.

“Their post-reflection responses showed far greater depth and ability to identify personal attributes,” observes Alviano. “Thinking and reflecting upon various critical life moments served as an anchor when defining their identity.”

It was not easy to get the boys to open up in this personal way. “The boys needed coaching to identify links between their life story and their personal understanding,” says Alviano. “They also needed a safe space to think more critically about themselves.”

Alviano believes that reflecting on critical life events can strengthen self-discovery at any age. “Adolescence is a challenging time for identity formation,” she says. “Answering the question “Who am I?” is an evolving process. I have learned the importance of equipping our boys with the reflective tools they need to grow in to their true selves.”

Ms. Alviano will share her research findings at the IBSC conference held in Montreal in June 2019.

See Patricia Alviano’s Action Research poster here.

Learn more about research at Crescent School