Transition Time Self-Determination, Part 2: Curricular Components

by Dale Pennell, C.A.S.

"Self-determination is a combination of skills, knowledge, and beliefs that enable a person to engage in goal-directed, self-regulated, autonomous behavior" (Field, Martin, Miller, Ward, & Wehmeyer, 1998a, p. 2). A number of authors (e.g., St. Peter, Field, & Hoffman, 1992; St. Peter, Field, Hoffman & Keena, 1992; Wehmeyer, 1997) have identified specific curricular components associated with self-determination. These skills, knowledge, and beliefs include:

Self-awareness

understanding of one's personality and individuality

Self-knowledge

recognition of one's capabilities, character, feelings, and motivations

Self-concept

mental image of oneself

Self-esteem

confidence in and satisfaction with oneself

Self-efficacy

"belief that one can achieve goals and attain outcomes" (Field et al.,1998, p. 14)

Self-advocacy

the "ability to know rights, determine supports, and conduct own affairs" (Field et al., 1998, p. 14)

Assertiveness

willingness to compel recognition of one's rights

Choice making

ability to consider and select options carefully

Internal locus of control

ability to guide or manage one's own life

Problem solving

process by which one resolves a complex question or an unsettled matter

Decision making

"ability to set goals and standards, generate strategies, and complete a plan" (Field et al., 1998, p. 14)

Goal setting

establishment of an end toward which effort is directed

Goal attainment

achievement of an end toward which effort has been directed

Self-observation

the ability to recognize, note, and make inferences from what one has observed about one's actions

Self-evaluation

the "ability to compare performance to a standard and evaluate" the effectiveness of one's plan (Field et al., 1998, p.14)

Self-reinforcement

the ability to reward oneself for effective achievement of one's plan


Field and colleagues (1998b) report that students with disabilities do not learn the skills related to self-determination informally. These skills and attitudes must be structured into the school curriculum. "Reexamination and re-focusing of educational programs to address these important skills must occur so that more students will attain ... the postsecondary outcomes they desire" (Field et al., 1998b, p. 118).

References

Field, S., Martin, J., Miller, R., Ward, M., & Wehmeyer, M. (1998a). A practical guide for teaching self-determination. Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

Field, S., Martin, J., Miller, R., Ward, M., & Wehmeyer, M. (1998b). Self-determination for persons with disabilities: A position statement of the division on career development and transition. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 21(2), 118.

St. Peter, S., Field, S., & Hoffman, A. (1992). Self-determination: A literature review and synthesis. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University, The Developmental Disabilities Institute and The College of Education.

St. Peter, S., Field, S., Hoffman, A., & Keena, V. (1992). Self-determination: An annotated bibliography. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University, The Developmental Disabilities Institute and The College of Education.

Wehmeyer, M. (1997). Self-directed learning and self-determination. In M. Agran (Ed.), Student directed learning: Teaching self-determination skills (pp. 28-59). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Date: November/December 2004