What is Self Development?

SDA > About Us > What is Self Development?

What does
«Self Development» mean?

At our core, SDA is about full brain learning. We combine critical thinking and creative thinking so that students know how to analyze, critique, and create. Our research-based curriculum, intervention program, and instructional practices, help students to develop the bests of themselves. Here is how we live up to our name: we help students develop their selves. Simple.

It is also about
civic-minded individuals

 Through interdisciplinary projects and our social-emotional learning program students develop a sense of self, an identity, filled with passions, interests, aesthetics, and hobbies.

Our theory of “self development” is the combination of three foundational theories in psychology: Bandura’s theory on self-efficacy, Vygotsky’s theory on the zone of proximal development, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Briefly, Bandura believed that students who feel like they can do well, end up proving themselves right. What this means is that students who believe in their abilities are more dedicated and hard working. Importantly, they also are more willing to learn from their mistakes. These students possess what Bandura described as “self-efficacy,” the belief in our abilities and proficiency in meeting challenges.


Help them learn.
Help them achieve.

The link between a student’s self-efficacy and teachers is easily connected. Our role as educators is not only to help them learn but also to help them achieve “self-efficacy.” We help students see that their efforts lead to successful outcomes.

How exactly teachers show students that their efforts lead to success? It is an active process of finding and teaching inside what Vygotsky called, “the zone of proximal development.”

To teach inside this zone, teachers have to strike a precise balance: providing support and assistance when students cannot on their own master or learn concepts but also respecting every student’s need to discover and explore concepts on their own. Every teacher experiences this question, “if a student does not know the answer to a problem, do we tell them or do we let them figure it out?” That question is a question about where the zone of proximal development is.

Every human
has untapped potential.

Teaching students will lead to “self-efficacy.” Students that have achieved “self-efficacy” are then free to actualize the full pantheon of what it means to be human. This is the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, “self-actualization.”

Maslow believed once a person’s needs are met for safety, food, social and self esteem are met, they can finally pursue their unlimited potential. For Maslow, and us for that matter, every human has untapped potential.  The greatness of humanity is found in every human.

Providing support
and assistance

& enjoy.

Each one of us needs puzzles both grand and small to solve, to create and enjoy art, and to honor their duty to make sure their community is cared for. Each of one of needs meaning to challenge themselves, to make it worthwhile for themselves and the next generations.



+300 Graduated Students


+20 Years of Experience


4 Awards & Prizes


1 Succesful Model

★ ★ ★

Think deeply.
Create wildly.

We teach a grade higher than most Arizona schools, but our curriculum is much more than that. We focus on instilling an ability to learn but also to think deeply and create wildly.

(480) 641-2640

(602) 274-1910


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Self Development

Exceptional futures start here! We provide all the tools, resources and opportunities students need to achieve and succeed both in school and beyond. Challenging, nurturing and rewarding learning experiences that positively impact students, families and communities are all right here at Self Development Academy.
Enroll today!

Inspiring Exceptional Futures