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ERIC Number: EJ725777
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep-22
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-1089-5701
The Development of Authentic Identity: Implications for the Soul of Education
Fleischer, Leonard
Reclaiming Children and Youth: The Journal of Strength-based Interventions, v14 n3 p179 Fall 2005
Cultures throughout time have marked the passage of young people into adulthood with carefully designed tasks and rituals. The purpose of these activities is to prepare youth to mindfully consider their individual and communal life intention. The relative lack of modern rites of passage for adolescents is seen as having significant implications for psychological development and social organization. In American culture, initiation into adulthood tends to occur without particular plan, purpose, or intention, often substantially accomplished within the peer culture. Key features of the developmental passage to adulthood--learning the arts of romance and sexuality, developing a perspective on work and vocation, responding to the seductions of mind-altering substances, and developing values and character--are often taught by adolescents to one another. Educators, as potential adult mentors, are seen as having a crucial role to play in helping students find genuine connection, compassion, and character. Curricula and mentoring with this focus can have profound implications for individuals, schools, communities, and the culture. This article describes Senior Passage, a course piloted at a New Hampshire high school designed to offer participants who were in their senior year the opportunity to consider large questions related to the imminent passage to adulthood, such as "Who am I?" "What is my vision?" "How can I become what I imagine?" The course, both theoretical and experiential, mentored students in the development of meaningful rites of passage for themselves and their communities. The author states that experience with this course led them to consider the potential implications for schools--and the culture--if adolescent students typically had a focused, mentored experience to learn about and develop their authentic identity.
Crisis Prevention Institute. Circulation Department, 3315 North 124th Street Suite H, Brookfield, WI 53005. Tel: 800-285-7910; Fax: 262-783-2360; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Hampshire