Arthur Langer

Measuring self-esteem through reflective writing: Essential factors in workforce development

This paper analyzes the influence of self-esteem on the professional success of inner-city adults in the workplace. The study used processes of reflective learning, particularly mentoring and reflective writing or journaling, as the research method to assess levels of self-esteem in students attending a workforce certification program at Columbia University, USA. These narratives focus on how students balance their personal and professional lives in an intensive technology training program which leads to subsequent employment in large corporations. The model used to measure self-esteem was the Inner-City Workplace Literacy Arc, a rubric researchers use to chart program participants' progress through assessments of their journal narratives. Specifically, this paper addresses one participant's trajectory on the Arc over 16 months, demonstrating how it charts students' cognitive growth necessary for workforce success. Daniel, the male student discussed in this paper, started the workforce certification program at great socio-economic deficit and with very low self-esteem. During the course of the program he cultivated a positive self-concept through writing his thoughts and experiences, sharing them with mentors and receiving their consistent social support. He went on to achieve success in an information technology job at a large company. Daniel's experience is representative of that of other students in the program as well, who demonstrate that inner city adults who cultivate self-esteem through self-reflection and reliance on mentors are found to have high levels of workforce success, regardless of academic scores. The results of the study suggest that inner-city young adults' self-esteem should be monitored and fostered, through close mentoring relationships and through reflective writing, to improve their chances of professional success. The Inner-City Workplace Literacy Arc facilitates this process by tracking students' development in these areas.

Source: Journal of Reflective Practice
Exact Citation:
Langer, Arthur. "Measuring self-esteem through reflective writing: Essential factors in workforce development." Journal of Reflective Practice 10, no. 1 (2009): 45-48.
Volume: 10
Number: 1
Pages: 45-48
Date: 2009