ERIC Number: EJ792948
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 0
Too Much of a Good Thing?
Instructor, v117 n2 p30-32, 34-35 Sep-Oct 2007
Children have been taught since birth to believe they can do anything they choose, from starring in the school play to mastering long division. All that self-confidence, however, has not produced more capable students. The Brookings Institution 2006 Brown Center Report on Education finds that countries in which families and schools emphasize self-esteem for students--America for example--lag behind the cultures that do not focus on how students feel about themselves. A growing contingent of experts agree that in the classroom, self-esteem should be an outcome, not a method. "Self-esteem," says Robert Brooks, Harvard Medical School faculty psychologist, "is based on real accomplishments." It is all about letting kids shine in a realistic way. There is a correlation between self-esteem and grades; studies have shown that high grades do lead to high self-esteem. But rather than praising children for every effort along the way, they should be encouraged to focus on achieving particular goals and applaud that achievement. The danger of too much praise is that children may turn their focus to how good they feel and how to get more praise, rather than on what they are learning. Teachers should make sure that their primary focus is on student performance and improvement, rather than how the students feel about themselves. They must emphasize effort and specific character traits, such as persistence, helpfulness, and consideration. Students need to see that achievement is related to the effort they exert.
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Positive Reinforcement, Self Esteem, Learning Motivation, Personality Traits, Misconceptions, Teacher Role, Student Attitudes, Interpersonal Relationship
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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