Looking Glass Self Exercise Spreads Positivity

Looking Glass Self Exercise Spreads Positivity
Posted on 03/12/2020
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Hot Springs World Class High School students in Sociology Class with Ms. Mahoney used a “Looking Glass Self Exercise” to learn more about socialization. They were exploring ... "Where does the idea of self come from?" Ms. Mahoney introduced two sociology theories from Cooley and Mead, both of which describe how human behavior is shaped by our interaction with others. Furthemore Cooley suggests that our behavior and opinions of ourselves are shaped by what we think people think of us.   


To help prove how powerful our interactions with one another are, she had students share “high fives” with each other. Each student attached a paper tracing of their own hand to their back. Then, classmates wrote positive attributes and characteristics they each saw in the student. At the end of class the students were able to see what “High Fives” their classmates had written. Ms. Mahoney reminded students that by Cooley’s theory,  we use other people as mirrors to reflect back what we imagine they think of us. 


Ms. Mahoney explained … “this is the first time most of the students are understanding that their behaviors were shaped before they even realized it through the agents of socialization.”  By using this exercise, Ms. Mahoney not only brought to life socialization theory, she reminded students of how powerful kindness and kind words can be in how each of us sees ourselves. “I thought it would be powerful to do something where students said nice things to one another because If we reflect what we think people think about us, how powerful would it be to reflect back all the positive "high-fives"  (i.e. positive comments) students gave one another!”


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