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How Can I Increase Self-Esteem in the Classroom?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Feb 03, 2024
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As an educator, increasing self-esteem in the classroom is important to help your students succeed, feel good about themselves, and even cut down on behavioral issues. There are a number of different ways to do this, but every teacher can take steps to make this happen, even with the most troublesome students. When trying to increase self-esteem in the classroom, it is important to find specific instances to offer praise to students, making sure to be sincere in this praise. In addition, selecting pieces of work from each student to post publicly in the classroom will make them feel a sense of accomplishment.

Increasing self-esteem in the classroom really begins with praising students for their efforts and hard work. However, the type and method of the praise matters. In general, simply offering generic statements such as "You did a good job," are less effective than statements that mention a specific thing or praise a particular effort. For instance, rather than praising students for being smart, praise them for working hard, and be specific about it. A teacher might say, "Thank you for working so hard to complete those math problems," or "You did a great job remembering to raise your hand today."

There are a number of reasons this type of praise is preferable. First, it allows students who may be struggling with the material to feel good about themselves as well, since it is the effort that is praised rather than the end result. Second, it gives them a specific thing to remember that they did well, making them more likely to repeat it. Finally, this type of praise tends to sound more sincere than more generic statements. Of course, there are other ways to increase self-esteem in the classroom rather than just making statements; encouraging students to build up their own sense of self-worth by drawing a portrait or writing down something they are proud of on a regular basis is another way to get them to think positively.

Another way to build self-esteem in the classroom is to make sure every student's work is highlighted. Having a classroom bulletin board where students' best work is featured is a great way to do this. This helps students feel as if they are doing well, and as if their work deserves recognition, which can often encourage similar work in the future. In addition, making the classroom a safe place where teasing and bullying are not tolerated can help to increase feelings of self-esteem among kids as well.

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