General Articles



If we were to look out for one single factor that distinguishes successful people from others, it is Self-Esteem. Research shows that teachers and students with positive attitudes to themselves perform better in their duties. In the classroom, students with high self-esteem participate more, achieve more, build friendships, complete assignments, score higher, stay in school and feel good about their future. Instead, results of low self-esteem are lower grades, fear of participation, damaging relationships, trouble making, and resignation to a dim future.

The most dramatic evidence to support this view is perhaps, that of Wattenberg and Clifford, who studied kindergarten youngsters in an attempt to see if self-concept was predictive of reading success two and a half years later. It was. In fact, it was a better predictor than IQ. Children with good I.Q. but low (poor) self-concept did not learn to read or did not read as well as similar children with high (good) self-concepts.


Self esteem has intellectual and emotional components. Intellectually it is a belief (self-concept) that one is capable of doing many useful things. Emotionally, it is a feeling of being worthy of others’ love (self-worth). The two together helps a person to see himself/herself as worth-while, lovable and useful. Such a positive estimation of oneself creates self-esteem and enables one to say, “I am capable and lovable”.


High Personal Integrity: Tell the truth always and tell it with compassion. Keep your word and complete commitments.
Responsibility: Speak the language of responsibility and be an example of personal accountability. This result in greater personal power and a sense of your own ability to make things happen.
Supporting Others: Be a success by supporting other successes. Back up others supportively, praise often.
Self –Discipline: Do the things that others are unwilling to do. Choose to do what you should, rather than what you like. Meticulously give good quality service.
Build Relationships: Care about others and on occasions tell them so. Stick your neck out for others. Remember birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions.
Know Yourself: Know your own unique qualities. Know who you are and what you are strong at. Know that you are one-of-a-kind and unique in all the universe.
Vision/Purpose: Know you life purpose and the steps on its path. Have a grand vision that inspires you and gets you up each morning. Share it with others.
Environment: Create a learning environment that reflects your highest thoughts about yourself and others. Keep it spotless, up-to-date and rich in meaning.
Health: Care for your emotional, mental, and physical health. Be proud of your body and do what it takes to keep it healthy and have it support your dreams.


Self-esteem refers primarily to an attitude that one can. If your students believe they can, the job is half done. Hence, we need to convey a sense of trust in their capability while teaching the daily lessons. Being concerned about the syllabus more than persons, draws a blank with respect to self-esteem needs and can give rise to manifold problems with regard to their motivation and performance.

Self-Esteem is cultivated by conveying appreciation, acknowledgment and affirmation (called strokes). Students consistently claim that when their efforts are appreciated, achievements acknowledged, and their inherent goodness affirmed, they feel disposed towards harder work.

However, research in America shows that 80% of children enter first grade with high self-esteem and only 5% graduate from high school with high self esteem. Something very damaging affects the well-being of most students between first and twelfth grade. One does not see enough evidence to suggest that the situation in India is any different.


As educators we may be led by certain myths when it comes to the self-esteem needs of students.

Myth 1: You already do enough

Teachers often claim they already do enough for student’s self-esteem. The important thing here is to look at the results and see whether the claim stands.

Myth 2: It’s not important

What they mean is, it’s not as important as the results. But the fact is that boosting self-esteem is a sure-fire way to improve results.

Myth 3: not every student deserves a boost to his self-esteem

This seems to assume that such boost to be administered in special situations only. But is it? And is it something to be earned? Is basic human dignity and self-respect something to be earned? We would say, these are things to be given freely, generously and without conditions.

Myth 4: Withholding strokes is not damaging

In fact teachers use the technique of withholding appreciation in order to gain control over the students. But that is a way of demonstrating that our skill at class control is limited. If we develop more skills for that, we can give appreciation and acknowledgement much more freely.

Myth 5: More Appreciating might cause problems

Teachers are at times worried about how the students will interpret appreciation. Students are eager, even hungry for strokes. You may have fears about what would happen if you actually appreciated everyone who deserved it. You might be wondering if you’d end up acknowledging all day or if your students would get inflated egos. What if they start feeling more powerful? Relax. When you acknowledge others, a special magic occurs, and students begin giving more and taking less.


Characteristics of effective teachers as distinguished from less effective ones, with respect to how they perceive others, as given by Jack Canfield and Harold C. Wells, have much to do with their ability to fulfill the self-esteem needs of their students. Accordingly, effective teachers,
* Have a generally more positive view of others, -students, colleagues, etc.
* Are not prone to view others as critical, attacking people with ulterior motives, but rather see them as potentially friendly and worthy in their own right;
* Have a more favorable view of democratic classroom procedure.
* Have the ability and capacity to see things from the other person’s point of view.
* See students as individuals capable of doing things for themselves once they feel trusted, respected, and valued.


Sanjay (13) was no credit to his class or school. The majority of his teachers were extremely disturbed with his rash behaviour and persistent lack of interest in studies. “The lad has to repeat the year” was the unanimous judgment.

When conveying the decision, the Assistant Principal, took pains to make him understand that this was an opportunity for him to improve, and that all his teachers were sure that he could take a lead in studies, provided he set his mind to it.

Sanjay liked these words and decide to follow its wisdom. After this a notable change was seen in his behaviour as well as the studies. Being no longer destructive and naughty he enjoys much affection.

Self-Esteem is very fragile especially when corrections or punishments are given. But it needs to be delicately preserved if they are to be effective. BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM IN THE CLASSROOM

Create a sense of purpose: Convey expectations, elicit student goals and assist them in setting realistic ones. Share your own goals. Build confidence and faith.

Create a Family Atmosphere: When appropriate, allow students to make choices and feel more powerful. Give freedom when possible and allow students to participate in decisions.

Create a Sense of Identity: Make sure that students know who they are, their strengths, their uniqueness and specialness. Aid them in assessing their qualities and provide unconditional acceptance and love.

AN OPEN, CARING ENVIRONMENT: The cradle for self-esteem

Students develop self-esteem when the school provides an open and caring environment. This happens when educators cultivate four attitudes towards pupils.

1. Accepting pupil contributions without judgment

Teachers can create it simply by interpreting the whole educative effort as a pleasant collaboration between educators and students, rather than as a clash of will, authority or dignity, where one could easily become judgmental towards them.

2. maintaining a ‘you can do it’ attitude

It gives confidence to the students even in the face of failures. When teachers believe that their students will succeed, in fact they do.

3. Listening, Listening, Listening

Affectionate listening makes the students feel great about themselves. Probably it is also the easiest door to such feelings.

4. Being a friend in all ways

To make them friends, love what they love. The healthy interests of young people shared sincerely, creates a unique level of relationship. The Great educator Don Bosco used to say, “Love what the students love, and they will love what you love.”


First graders proudly showed his mother the gold star he had eamed in school. “We get these for what we do best,” he explained. “And what do you do best?” she asked. I’m the best rester!” beamed the boy.

Everyone needs to feel she is good at something!!