Self-esteem and learning are closely connected because
if we have good self-esteem, we believe we are able
to learn and we learn more easily. So self-esteem helps
the learning process. At the same time, it is good
to be aware of our self-esteem, and learn how to improve
it, both are interlinked.
WHAT IS SELF-ESTEEM?
Self-concept is what you think you are. Self-esteem
is the feeling you have about your self-concept.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM
IN THE CLASSROOM
Mark Fletcher (2000), students learn if they have
high confidence and good self-esteem,
if they are strongly motivated to learn and if they
are in an environment characterized by “high
challenge” coupled with “low threat”.
are very important but textbooks don’t
develop the kind of skills young people need to be
able to succeed in the future.
As teachers, we have great influence upon our students,
so our responsibility is to do more than just feed
students with knowledge and content.
Most adults can recall teachers who destroyed their
sense of worth and self-confidence and who taught in
ways that were not motivating.
The teacher can relate to his students in ways that
build confidence, develop motivation and a sense of
If the students build their self-esteem with the help
of teachers they will learn more easily and efficiently.
HOW CAN WE, TEACHERS, FOSTER SELF-ESTEEM
IN OUR STUDENTS?
an atmosphere of security, showing our students
their rights, defining the rules, trusting
and supporting them.
– Accepting our students as they are, bearing
in mind that the value of the individual is constant,
however, his behavior can change. Many times we don’t
agree with the attitudes of our students, but respecting
them as human beings, we try to find the positive
intention in their actions.
opportunities for our students to give their
opinions, to show their emotions, and to
work together in order to acquire social skills.
students to identify their goals and expressing
confidence in their abilities to succeed.
students and showing recognition of their progress
In order to
improve our self-esteem and help our students,
it is important to know how the circuit of self-esteem
works. Suppose we want to change an undesirable
If our internal dialogue is a limiting one, we
change and we remain in the comfort zone, doing
nothing. We feel frustrated and our self-esteem goes
Example: I want to start using computers in my classes.
Computers are very
They are difficult to operate.
They are a waste of time.
I am too old; they are for young people.
Result: I don’t
use computers in my classes. My self-image is not
good because I failed.
In the comfort
zone I say: No Problem! I am a good teacher and a
responsible professional and I’ve
never used computers in my classes.
is low because I couldn’t do
what I really wanted to.
Challenging our limiting internal dialogue and creating
one full of possibilities is the best way to improve
mind receives all the information available and stores
it in our brain; it doesn’t
judge. So if we put wrong information in our mind the
result is going to be undesirable behavior.
Example: Everybody in my family has difficulty in
Result: I have difficulty too.
REAL AND IMAGINARY
mind doesn’t know the difference
between the real experience and the imaginary one.
So we don’t need a real experience to get the
abilities we want to have in our life.
If we program our brain well, we will improve our
self-image and we will be able to do what we want to.
If the image
of “oneself” is created,
it can be modified whenever necessary.
WHAT EVERY TEACHER SHOULD KNOW
The understanding of what the brain is, and how we
learn, will provide teachers with new insights and
help them teach more efficiently.
Our brain is divided in two hemispheres: the left
hemisphere, which favors analytical, logical processing.
The right hemisphere which seems to be more holistic,
intuitive involved with sensory perception. They are
both in constant interaction.
Questions and answers, grammar rules and exercises,
structured practice are activities related to the left
side of the brain.
Colors, music, stories, mind maps, drawings are more
related to the right side of the brain.
So teachers should vary the teaching activities, in
order to reach students who learn faster either through
the right or left hemisphere of the brain and also
to make the connection easier between both parts.
As we noticed,
learners don’t all learn in the
same way. The VISUAL learners need to see something
written or in pictures, before they learn. The AUDITIVE
learners need to hear a voice, sounds or music in order
to learn. The KINAESTHETIC learners need to move physically
to learn. Usually a student is not only visual, auditive,
or kinaesthetic, but they have a favorite learning
style. Having this in mind teachers will be able to
prepare their classes with resources that will help
the different kinds of learners.
“ According to Joseph O’Connor (1989),
there are four stages of learning:
Incompetence: not only do you not know how to do
something, but you also don’t know
you don’t know.
2.Conscious Incompetence: when we start to learn something
but we are not competent yet.
3. Conscious Competence: when we have learned the
skill, but we need a lot of attention because we have
not mastered it yet.
Competence: when we learn to do something well,
we do it automatically.”
Whenever we want to improve something that we do unconsciously,
we have to go back to the conscious competence stage.
As the purpose of teaching is learning, we teachers,
will be able to fulfill our aims and feel positive
about our mission in life, if we are fully aware of
how to develop self-esteem in our students, if we know
how their brains work and the different ways in which
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Fletcher, M. (2000). Teaching for Success. The Brain-friendly
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O’Connor, J.; Seymour, J. (1990). Introducing
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