Brainstorm pupils’ perceptions of what self-esteem is. It is always useful to have a short list of ideas prepared in case the session stalls.
The list below provides some common definitions of the term ‘self-esteem’ and can also be used with pupils.
- The way you see and think about yourself.
- Recognizing your positive attributes and strengths.
- Acknowledging that you are a worthy person.
- Maintaining a positive, realistic self-image.
- Respecting yourself – who you are, what you have to offer others.
Self-esteem is NOT:
- The way other people see or describe you.
The following list is a few ideas for you to use with your pupils at any time, whether in a formal teaching session or whenever you are in contact with them, such as during break-time, or when passing pupils in the corridor. Whatever the situation, these self-esteem builders are useful, powerful tools:
- Always try to use the pupils’ names.
- Have conversations with pupils at unplanned times.
- Show interest in pupils’ lives both within and outside school (in their families, hobbies and activities).
- Provide opportunities for pupils to display their work in the school environment.
- Openly celebrate pupils’ successes.
These pointers are drawn from Positively Me! a self-esteem programme for primary teachers and pupils. Self-esteem is a concept that many people struggle to understand, especially in relation to themselves – their sense of worth and well-being and how these influence their interactions and relationships with others.