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Should we raise pupils' self-esteem?

Maclellan, Effie (2005) Should we raise pupils' self-esteem? Education 3-13, 33 (1). pp. 7-12. ISSN 0300-4279

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How are the children in your class/school getting on? How satisfied are they with their own achievements? How interested are they in what school has to offer? How much independence do they have to determine their own learning goals? How are they getting along with each other and with you? How do they respond to challenging tasks or unexpected situations? These questions and others like them are important to us as teachers because they reflect aspects of self-functioning and the answers to them say something about how well the self is doing its job. Given that poor self-functioning has been suggested as adversely affecting one's achievement and life chances, and that it has been associated with eating disorders and delinquent behaviour, it is not surprising that improving self-functioning is a goal of education. It is highly desirable that we should want to promote people's psychological well-being and so evaluating oneself positively, having warm relationships with others, making genuine choices, managing one's environment and having a sense of moving forward are qualities that we wish to foster.