ERIC Number: ED358973
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Aug
Self-Esteem and Narcissism: Implications for Practice. ERIC Digest.
Katz, Lilian G.
While the development of children's self-esteem is a worthwhile goal in early education, many practices designed to reach this goal may instead be encouraging narcissism. Such practices include those that direct children's attention to their own inner gratifications, or encourage children to believe their specialness is dependent on trivial skills. In order to motivate children by "starting where they are," teachers can provide children with topics that encourage curiosity about others and themselves, and reduce emphasis on consumer activities. Researchers have suggested that self-esteem is enhanced in children when their parents and teachers provide an optimum mixture of acceptance, affection, limits, and expectations; and have pointed out that construals of the self vary between Western cultures, which see the self as an independent entity, and Asian and African cultures, which see the self as interdependent within the social context. Self-esteem is most likely to be fostered when children are esteemed and receive meaningful feedback in the form of appreciation rather than empty praise and flattery. Healthy self-esteem is more likely to be developed when children are engaged in activities for which they can make real decisions and contributions than in frivolous activities. Teachers can capitalize on children's in-born disposition to learn by engaging children in project work, which provides them with opportunity for discussion, initiative, and cooperation. Children's self-esteem can also be strengthened when they have the opportunity to develop and apply criteria for evaluating their own work. Such practices are more likely than trivial practices which engender self-preoccupation to build in children a sense of self-worth that can provide a foundation for their future lives. (BC)
Descriptors: Child Development, Class Activities, Cultural Differences, Decision Making, Early Childhood Education, Educational Objectives, Educational Practices, Feedback, Self Concept, Self Esteem, Self Evaluation (Individuals), Theory Practice Relationship
ERIC CLearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, University of Illinois, 805 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Urbana, IL 61807-4897.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; Opinion Papers; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.