In the article “The Concept of the Relational Self and Its Implications for Education,” Xinyan Jiang focuses on two aspects: autonomous self and relational self. However, more emphasis is on the relational self with regard to student-teacher relationships and students’ attitudes toward learning. Autonomous self and relational self are related in such a way that the relational self is part of the autonomous self. The relational self is all about one’s relationships with others through the social roles that he or she plays.
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This relational self is deemed a determinant of one’s character or virtue. The relational self is in concordance with the autonomous self in terms of making decisions and choices by the self. The relational Confucian theory of relational self asserts that individuals are not equal as denoted by the difference in position and authority, which determines how one relates to others. It is such hierarchical differences that yield harmony in society.
It is impossible to avert hierarchies in society because they are partially dictated by one’s qualifications. Some people are teachers based on their qualifications and their role is to educate and guide others. Individuals can play more than one role in consonance with their qualifications. One’s qualifications and execution of his or her social role greatly determine the respect that others accord to him or her such as in student-teacher relationships.
Teachers gain more respect if they are more knowledgeable. A student’s performance in school is important for one’s family because it can either bring honor or shame to the family. When a student bears this in mind, he or she strives to make his or her family proud of him or her. Reciprocally, the family finds a good reason to provide support for their child’s education.
Soundness of Research
The information contained in the article is based on a collection of literature, which is used to formulate theories. The soundness of this secondary literature is not accounted for. The theories discussed are logical because to some extent, they are applicable to real-life situations. For example, social hierarchy is important for harmony to prevail because if we are all equal, then no one would submit to the other and the social world would be in chaos. On another note, the same Confucian theory promotes moral equality in achieving cohesion. Explanations have been used to solidify the theories, but lack of primary evidence makes the information given just theoretical.
The article emphasizes how people’s roles should be commensurate with their qualifications. However, I believe that there is also a need to check their abilities and talents, which augment these qualifications. The article states that people should work hard to be their best at the various roles they play. Examinations are used as a way of selecting the most suitable individuals for particular jobs based on merit. On the contrary, some jobs do not require one to be smart or qualified because the intrinsic ability is more essential.
For example, some of the most renowned inventors were not highly qualified but they had special intrinsic abilities that made them stand out as special people. In the case of the relational self, one’s interpersonal attributes determine how well he or she is able to relate to others while performing his or her social roles. The article talks about social status as a governing criterion for social roles. However, it is not clear how this will affect a person’s social roles because even marginalized individuals play vital roles in society.