The idea of personal development with special reference to personal, social and moral development (PSME) in education
The notion of Personal Development is situated in the domain of values, especially moral values. Moral values are concerned with what is right alongside what is good in its several aspects. For curriculum purposes, Personal Development finds its sense largely within the content provided by the terms 'moral' and 'social' in PSME. 'Personal' is not an independent category. But there is a certain overlap between Personal Development and Self-Development, where the latter term refers to an individual's generic human development. A person's individuality is not in a confluence of differently combined qualities and attributes. An individual is strongly a person in those values that he appropriates or endorses as his own. Values connect a person strongly with his unity and continuity as an individual over time. Our worth as persons attaches to our reciprocal relationships with each other and to ourselves for ourselves insofar as we maintain integrity in our own projects. To this extent values have an objective reference. I want to show the manner in which a person is attached to the values that confront him in a pluralist society. It is not just that values are realized in a person's life; it is the relation he has to those values. Those values are expressed in the constituents of Personal Development - namely, those personal qualities and attributes thought desirable - and will be 'strongly' or 'thinly' present in that person. In respect of these qualities and attributes he will be strongly or thinly attached to his human world. This is a question about the manner of our residence in our own being and about the relation that our being has to the 'ways of being persons' in the human world. A person is culturally emergent, although some versions of self-realization give the impression that the individual is prior to culture. There is a certain circularity in what we might call absolute or intrinsic values, especially moral ones. For example, we may want to say that we acquire virtues in order to flourish in life. But what constitutes flourishing will be captured in 'contested' value terms and will therefore shape what we take virtues to be.