Additionally, Frank may be deliberately acting out and acting lazy as a result of his resentment that he was not given the opportunities that his two high achieving siblings were given by living in a stimulating urban environment, as long as they did. Though Frank does not specifically intone resentment he is clear that he does not like the place they now live and that the people around him do not share his interests or intelligence. Addressing all these problems with Frank, by actually directly asking him if this is how he feels, and making sure to give him plenty of time to think about it would likely greatly help his predicament, as it would facilitate recognition for him of his uniqueness (something he desires) and would allow him to possibly overcome the hurdles of his current situation. The teachers in his school would also do better directly with Frank if they like Grobin, gave him a voice in his surroundings, as a respected equal with superior knowledge to his peers. Grobin and the other teachers should allow Frank to work independently, on subject matter which is engaging to him, there are simply some students who need to be singled out, rather than asked to conform completely to the surroundings they find themselves in. Peer connections might also need to be forced, in some manner, as Grobin pointed out after attending a dance Frank seemed more at ease and interactive. Frank should be encouraged to face his fears of the other students being entirely unlike him and seeking out connections outside of school that are better directed toward his own interests, teachers may facilitate this by finding peers among those they know who more closely exhibit Frank's interests and partnering them with Frank so he feels more at home. Not allowing Frank's strong statement about the Iraq war to be a teaching tool and a learning opportunity was a clear misstep, even though Frank may have been partly satisfied by receiving attention from Groban, that was respectful, class discussions may have seriously helped Frank open up to his peers and allow them to give their opinions as well. Groban was wrong to further separate Frank from his peers intellectually even though it may have strengthened his ego, there are likely many peers who have opinions and cares about current events that are different or even similar to Frank's and he needs connectivity rather than exclusivity. Rowe needs to modify her assignments for Frank, as they clearly are not what he finds interesting. Adding an option to discuss language arts material that is more interesting to Frank, or any other student will likely help him succeed in the subject matter. ("The Legacy of Learning" 25)
Erickson would assess Frank as beginning the aspects of stage 5 Identity vs. Role Confusion, as he negotiates his needs and desires to be independent and individual, while perceiving those around him as wholly unlike him and unable to understand his interests. "Speaking psychiatrically, without the development of a capacity for fidelity the individual will either have what we call a weak ego, or look for a deviant group to be faithful to." (Evans, and Erikson 30) Frank has clearly allowed the changes that took place when he moved to the country to allow him to identify as an outsider, and though this is in some ways good for his ego, it can also precipitate problems that develop when one is overly connected to social isolation. He must be involved in peer relationships that are more rewarding for him. To do this his parents and teachers may need to create opportunities that are more conducive to his peer involvement. His mother and teachers may need to expand the horizons of his world by stressing he return home to visit friends, broaden the goals of the learning environment so Frank and other students have more of an opportunity to express their beliefs, in a structured yet creative manner. Peer relationships strengthen one's ability to interact with others now and in the future, while social isolation can lead an individual to feel isolated and misunderstood, far more than they actually are. His family and his teachers might also encourage Frank to find connections, online, discussion groups about interests he has or connections with old or new friends that better allow Frank to interact in a world he is more used to, i.e. one that is more intellectually stimulating. They might also find literature that is more conducive to the development of identity and recommend it to him, as he clearly loves to read. (Kaplan 17)
According to any standard Kohlberg would agree that Frank is at a crossroads in moral development, he has cognition of morals and frequently acts within them but needs to be motivated by his surroundings to develop those skills in his own context. (Bergman 21) Teachers and his parents could help this development through seeking out additional peer related civic projects that better exemplify that he is not alone and that there are others who care about the same things he does. One example would be to help facilitate Frank, starting a service learning project that would motivate his heightened sense of moral cognition and build peer relationships. (Bergman 21) (CS 1-3) Moral development is situation specific and facilitating a service learning project would likely help Frank and many other students connect to their environment and learn from it.
Frank, is clearly not lazy, he is just not getting the stimulation he needs to connect to peers and to connect his history and individuality to those of others. The changes that Frank has encountered as a result of this stark move, at the pinochle of a serious transition in his life, adolescence, has left him feeling isolated and affecting disinterest in his surroundings. Seeking to create structured and yet creative connections between the life that he is leading now, his own interests and his identity and moral development could go far in making sure that he better meets his potential. Taking a stand such as that of Groban, assuming that he will grow out of this stage, (CS 13) may simply be in error, as Frank needs to be shown new ways in his new environment to create and develop lasting connections.
Bergman, Roger. "2 Identity as Motivation: Toward a Theory of the Moral Self." Moral Development, Self, and Identity. Ed. Daniel K. Lapsley and Darcia Narvaez. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. 21-43.
Bronfenbrenner, Urie. "Thoughts on Teaching." Human Ecology 33.3 (2005): 26.
Evans, Richard I., and Erik Erikson. Dialogue with Erik Erikson. 1st ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.
Kaplan, Jeffrey S., ed. Using Literature to Help Troubled Teenagers Cope with Identity Issues. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Karniol, Rachel, and Michael Ross. "The Motivational Impact of Temporal Focus: Thinking about the Future and the Past." Annual Review of Psychology (1996): 593.