How to Raise Your Student’s Self Esteem
For the longest time, teachers have always understood that when students feel good about themselves, they are capable of accomplishing more in the classroom. Take yourself for instance, the more confident or optimistic you are about a task, the more capable you feel, regardless of the task before you. The same is applicable to any child. Children are more likely to attain their full potential and they are easily motivated whenever they feel confident and special.
Building a child’s confidence and nurturing a positive attitude by giving encouraging feedback and preparing them for success are the main responsibilities of both teachers and parents. To know how to build and maintain the self esteem of your students, read to the end.
Importance of Having Good Self Esteem
It is very important that every child has good self esteem. This is because it has a great impact on almost every area of their lives. Good self esteem will not only help to improve academic performance, but it will equally help children to build strong and lasting relationships and also improve communication and social skills.
When a child’s self esteem is high, it is noticed that relationships with friends and teachers become really valuable. Students with high self esteem have better chances of completing a difficult task, handling failures, mistakes and disappointments as well as setting goals and working towards them. Self esteem is a lifetime need that can be easily damaged or boosted by both teachers and parents.
Self Esteem and the Growth Mentality
The response children get, especially from their teachers, plays a major part in building their self esteem. Negative and unprofitable feedback can be very painful to students, and it will eventually result in low self esteem while positive feedbackwill lead to high self esteem. Children’s mentality and self worth is largely influenced by what they hear about themselves and their abilities.
The master of the growth mindset, Carol Dweck claims that responses to children should not be person-oriented but goal-oriented. According to her, goal-oriented praise is usually more productive, and it eventually helps to instill in students a growth mentality or the concept that people can change and grow with effort instead of having a fixed mindset or the belief that there is no room for growth and development of skills and abilities.
Try not to assign value to students with your response. Statements like “You are really the best in English” and “I am so proud of you” are unhealthy, and they can drive children to develop self-perception on the basis of praise. So, instead of praising the students, commend their achievements. Point out the particular action and technique applied to the success of any task. With this, students can view feedback as helpful and inspiring.
When giving feedback, concentrate on the work done and not the student or yourself. State your observations clearly, particularly their improvements. Some examples are;
•“I observed that you used paragraphs to organize your essay. That is a beautiful way to go about it.”
•“I know that when you take your time, you make fewer mistakes.”
•“I’ve noticed an improvement in your handwriting. It is obvious you have been working really hard on it.”
•“I observed that instead of giving up when you made a mistake, you went ahead to fix the problem. That is the attribute of great writers or scientists.”
A goal-oriented response will have a positive impact on a child’s self esteem and also help to motivate students to achieve their academic goals.
Tips for Building Self-Esteem
Apart from giving your students useful feedback, there are other things you could do to improve their self-esteem. Having good self-esteem both in and out of the classroom is very important. However, most students need assistance in developing a positive self-concept, and this is where mentors (teachers and parents) come in. Below are some of the things parents and teachers can do to build high self-esteem in children:
•Concentrate on the positive
•Teach students to learn from their errors
•Set practical expectations
•Provide constructive criticism only
•Help students to discover the things they love about themselves
Concentrating on the Positive
Have you ever observed that children and adults who have low self-esteem usually concentrate on the negative? They are always talking about their inadequacies, weaknesses and mistakes. This set of people need to be motivated not to be so difficult on themselves.
Guide your students by example and show them how to forgive themselves for mistakes made and teach them to acknowledge their strengths. Let them see that self-worth should not be based on flaws but on good attributes. Concentrating on the positive doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever give negative comments, but the positive remarks should be more than the negatives.
Learning from Past Errors
Mistakes should not be seen in a bad light at all times. Teach your students to concentrate on the lesson learned through a mistake rather than focusing on what is lost. Learning from past errors is a big opportunity for teachers to lead their students by example. Remind the children that everybody makes mistakes and allow them to see you failing and handling your mistakes with patience and positivity. This way, they will start to see mistakes as opportunities to learn something new.
Setting Practical Expectations
As a teacher or parent, setting practical expectations for your child or student goes a long way to preparing them for success. Distinguishing instructions for students is one way to ensure that they get all the help they need to complete a task. However, you won’t be able to separate instructions if you don’t know the strength and abilities of each student. It is only when you know what a child can or cannot do without assistance that you can now create tasks and activities for them. The tasks should not be so difficult that they can’t complete them, but they should be challenging enough for them to feel good about themselves upon completion.
Providing Constructive Criticism
Children who have low self-esteem cannot stand criticism, even though it is designed to help them. Always pay attention to this. Keep in mind that self-esteem is all about how much a child feels cherished, accepted, valued and respected. As a teacher, your job is to protect your student’s self-image and you should help them to see themselves through your eyes.
Know that as a teacher and parent, you have a major part to play in the development of your child or student’s self-esteem. You can easily build or damage a child’s self-esteem, so if you must criticize, do so with care and try to use your influence to create the greatest positive impact in the life of your child or student.
Discovering Positive Attributes
Some students are not willing to talk about the things they love and can do well or things they are comfortable with. You will be amazed at the number of students with low self-esteem who will find this task challenging. For some of them, you will have to provide some sort of incentive. This exercise can be helpful to all participants, both adults and children, and it is a nice way to begin a school year for students.