Okay, so let's say you're conversant with Erikson and Marcia's models of identity formation. What'll that get you? Imagine you are a teacher participating in a conference for a student who isn't performing academically. Perhaps you recognize that this child, formerly foreclosed and 100% on board with her parents' values of hard work, organization, and academic success is now quite obviously diffused or perhaps in moratorium. What's your approach?
My friend and I kicked this question around a bit this morning (and glad I was to have the chance to do so, because talking to her about school always helps). We agreed that the obvious implications of identity formation models are in forming personal relationships with students and establishing a safe and caring classroom climate. Certainly both of those things are easier to do with the empathy that results from an understanding of the flux and turmoil that kids must face as a matter of development. She also reminded me that this knowledge should rightfully shape our expectations in terms of student behavior and what attitude an 11, 12, 13 or 14 year old is actually capable of sustaining. Let's face it, "Because I said so," is no longer a compelling reason, but a sensible alternative can sometimes be a stretch.
But I feel that in order to fully convince teachers of the value of this information there must be an application beyond classroom management. What about our instructional practices and student acievement?