SELF-ESTEEM AND THE IMPLICATIONS
Learning is growth - intellectual, physical, psychological, social, spiritual and combinations of those. In every aspect of this learning process there is the potential to damage, maintain or increase self-esteem. Self-esteem in most students 'mirrors' the appraisals of others, in particular parents and teachers. Teachers views clearly affect learners achievements. Positive appraisals over an extended time tend to increase the level of learning. Prolonged or consistent negative appraisals tend to lower learning achievement. Students tend to perform in accordance with teacher expectations and treatment - self-fulfilling prophecy (Loomans & Loomans 1994).
Teachers find that students with low self-esteem exhibit some or all of the following characteristics:
The wide range of experiences a student has while going through school - scholastic, athletic, social, emotional - all constitute input to his or her self-esteem development. Every success and failure, together with the reactions of peers, parents and teachers to these experiences, will contribute significantly to the students self-worth, self-confidence, self-reliance and self-competence (Robb & Letts 1995).
As teachers we can be instrumental in creating a classroom environment which nurtures and supports students developing self-esteem. This can be achieved by modeling to students that mistakes are part of the learning process for both children and adults. It is important to empower and skill students to assess their achievements in a positive productive manner. This creates autonomous learners. Students need to be encouraged to develop support systems both within and outside of the classroom so that they feel confident to take risks in their learning.