Politics of Language Education by Charles Alderson

By Charles Alderson

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If we have an inferiority complex, we believe that we are less effective than those around us, and this belief can affect our whole life and how we relate to the world. Those with a superiority complex, on the other hand, assume, without sufficient evidence, that others are less able or are worth less than they are, and they fail to judge people on their merits. Sometimes a superiority complex hides insecurity, where the person concerned is unable to face the reality that he or she may not be as good as they believe themselves to be.

It is also generally accepted that one’s selfesteem can change over time. Self-esteem is an important component in Maslow’s (1968, 1987) wellknown definition of needs, which he divides into deficiency (maintenance) needs and being (growth) needs. He sees needs arranged in a hierarchy, represented as a pyramid with seven layers, where the bottom four layers (the deficiency needs) are subdivided into (from the bottom upwards) basic physiological needs, need for safety and security, need for interpersonal closeness and need for self-esteem.

Indd 26 2/6/2009 2:16:58 PM Setting the Scene 27 even within England, there are significant differences between Southern and Northern cultures. There are also class and educational distinctions, such that the middle and upper middle classes, especially if they have been to public school (private schools in the English system) are more likely to conform to the Southern culture than to the Northern one, even if they come from the North. Thus the matter of cultural differences is complex and never static.

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