Monday, October 18, 2010

Self-esteem -v- self-control

When we return to school after our October holiday Dr Aric Sigman is coming to talk to teachers and parents about his book, The Spoilt Generation.  I decided I would read this book beforehand so that I would be ready for his presentation.

The first 9 chapters concern Dr Sigman's views of parenting.  However it is Chapter 10 that I found interesting to read as a teacher.  This chapter is entitled Bigging Them Up and deals with self-esteem.  Dr Sigman quotes from the research of Professor Roy Baumeister who says that high self-esteem in schoolchildren does not produce better grades - actually it is the other way round - getting good grades leads to higher self-esteem.  Mediocre students who received frequent praise from their teachers ended up doing worse in their exams than students who were told to bite the bullet and try harder.  Baumeister's research also pointed to the fact that high-self esteem doesn't predict who will make a good leader, and that humility rather than self-esteem was the crucial trait in determining successful leadership.  In fact people with high self-esteem are more likely to respond aggressively when their view of themselves is criticized.  He also notes that high self-esteem has been linked to bullying.   His conclusion is that schools should "forget about self-esteem and concentrate more on self-control and self-discipline."

Photo Credit:  Espejo by Agustin Ruiz

1 comment:

  1. This rings true in my own life. I would much rather receive recognition or praise for something that I worked hard on than for something I just happened to do. It means more, it is authentic. The problem with self esteem is that it is like a drug, we always want more of it and are never satisfied. Perhaps that is why it can lead to aggressive responses to criticism and bullying.