The model for self-esteem grew out of an effort to increase human by 4qZ843


									                               Self-evaluation is a learning process

                               BRDO conference 24 – 28 September 2003

Workshop 2.2: Thursday afternoon

Self-evaluation and building teacher’s and students’ self esteem

                                                                         Greta Bratovš and Nataša Privošnik
                                                                       Institute for Developing Personal Quality


                                   ROBERT W. REASONER

Michael was an elementary student who always complained in school that the work was too hard. He had few
friends, often criticized others and blamed others when things went wrong.. Academically he was two years
behind the other students in his class. His teacher felt that he was bright enough but seemed to suffer from low
self-esteem. Almost every teacher can identify students with characteristics similar to those of Michael.

Today, approximately one-third of the students who enter school fail academically or compensate for their low
self-esteem by becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol, drop out of school, become pregnant as teenagers, suffer
from depression or eating disorders, or engage in crime and violence. Thus, a large percentage of our youth fail
to become productive citizens or reach their full potential. For this reason developing self-esteem is considered
to be a critical element in any successful prevention or remediation program.

There is general agreement that our society is undergoing tremendous change. Today’s youth face a far
different and far more competitive world than their parents and grandparents. With unlimited information at
their fingertips and extraordinary opportunities waiting to be tapped, they must possess a body of knowledge
that is both broad and deep. They must know how to think critically, to solve complex problems, to work in
teams and adapt to rapidly changing technology. They must be lifelong learners to keep up with the body of
knowledge which now doubles every two or three years. This requires individuals who possess healthy, high
Society has always valued the qualities of self-esteem including initiative, self-motivation, self-confidence,
self-worth, and feelings of competence, qualities essential to effective human functioning, so this is not new.
What is new is that we now know that individuals are not born with those qualities—they are developed when
certain conditions are established at home and at school. Using this research the Building Self-Esteem program
was created to develop these particular qualities and better prepare young people for this changing world. The
program has now gone through 25 years of research, modification and implementation.

What we have learned is that it is not possible to “give” others healthy self-esteem. We can make them feel
good, but authentic, healthy self-esteem is more than just having happy feelings. This kind of self-esteem can
only be developed when young people gain in their understanding of themselves, learn how to relate effectively
with others, clarify the values they wish to live by, determine what they wish to achieve, and have opportunities
to grow in effective decision making.

The Building Self-Esteem program provides the means for accomplishing this. It is a flexible program that can
be integrated into any subject at any level. Materials for students are in the form of a loose leaf binder that
teachers can use in a variety of ways. Information is also available for school administrators in how to apply the
model to the development of staff self-esteem and similar material is available for parents to implement the
model at home. The program is designed to foster five concepts: a sense of security, a sense of identity, a sense
of belonging, a sense of purpose, and a sense of personal competence.

The sense of security is fostered by treating young people with respect and establishing environments where
individuals know what is expected of them and where they feel safe and protected. This means having clear
rules, regulations and expectations and enforcing them in a consistent manner without intimidating or
degrading students. Activities are provided as vehicles for discussion regarding rules and why they are
important. Worksheets help students evaluate the degree to which they assume responsibility in different areas
and enable them to see that they have the personal power to deal with their circumstances, and that they are not
just victims. They are led to understand the consequences for their actions to encourage them to take
responsibility for the decisions they make. Students also identify those situations that cause them to feel fearful
or insecure and brainstorm ways of dealing with those situations.

The sense of identity is important for we behave in ways that are consistent with how we see ourselves. This is
sometimes referred to as the pygmalian concept or the self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, individuals who
see themselves as frequently being in trouble actually feel more comfortable acting out that role. Those who
see themselves as not lovable tend to reject others before they themselves are rejected. Efforts to develop a
positive identity require that students feel secure and accepted or loved by those adults with whom they work.
Individuals have a basic need to feel a sense of personal worth. Having a teacher, a parent or grandparent, or
someone that really cares is important in developing that sense of personal significance and worth. When
individuals feel secure and begin to develop the sense of personal worth they are more open to accept the reality
of their unique strengths and weaknesses, and value their uniqueness. This is a first step to valuing the
uniqueness of others.
Thus, in the identity component students engage in self-evaluation to identify their strengths and weaknesses
and consider how they might capitalize on their strengths. It is important that the feedback they receive be
based on reality to avoid inflated egos. Positive recognition or praise is important, but it needs to be earned and
not given out lavishly without reason. Major emphasis is given in this component to the development of
communication skills by sharing personal feelings, learning how to listen, and expressing oneself effectively.

The sense of belonging or connectness is the third element. It is of great significance since feeling rejected by
others is perhaps the greatest detriment toed self-esteem. We all want to feel that we belong, to feel accepted
and supported by others. We need to feel that we are part of an organization or a group that is larger than
ourselves. Being a member of a winning team or a special organization is one way of providing this feeling.
Studies of adolescents who commit violence to their classmates indicate that one common factor is that all of
these individuals felt alienated from their peers. Hence, schools need to provide opportunities for students to
connect or bond with others and learn the social skills that enable them to work cooperatively and in harmony
with others.

The Building Self-Esteem program provides multiple experiences for students to become better acquainted
with one another and to engage in projects that benefit others. One of the keys to self-esteem is feeling valued
by others. Students are thus encouraged to be of service to others for this is a great way to feel valued and
appreciated. Activities are also designed to help students understand when it is important to act as an
individual and make a personal decision versus when it is important to see oneself as a member of a group.
Students are given multiple opportunities to talk about situations when it is important to say “No” as an
individual and take a personal stand to avoid engaging in activities such as smoking, teen sex, or drugs.

The fourth step in fostering self-esteem is building a sense of purpose. We need to feel that the work we do and
the life we lead has meaning and purpose. This can only come about when we are clear about our values and
what is most important to us. Personal effectiveness and satisfaction come about when effort is directed to what
is significant, so young people need to see the relevance of what they are studying and direct their efforts to
achieve specific goals. Parents and teachers can contribute to this sense of purpose by helping young people
create visions of what they want to achieve or what kind of person they wish to become. A sense of integrity
develops when individuals are clear about their values and see the value of behaving in ways that are consistent
with those values. Hence, there are multiple activities to encourage students to identify those characteristics
they admire most in others and those values they want to live by.

The fifth step is designed to develop the sense of personal competence. This comes about as individuals make
progress toward their goals. Teachers and those in supervisory positions can assist in this step by pointing out
options and possible ways of achieving the goals that have been set and by providing encouragement, support
and feedback. As individuals learn how to use the resources available to them to achieve their goals, they grow
in the sense of personal competence. As they begin to make decisions for themselves and successfully
accomplish what they set out to do, it fosters feelings of competence. The final step in this process is
celebrating success and giving recognition to what individuals have accomplished, thus reinforcing those
feelings of competence.
As these steps are recycled, individuals grow in personal effectiveness and self-esteem. They become internally
motivated, see multiple ways of solving problems, and become less dependent upon others to solve problems
for them. They become more open to challenges and the stimulation of worthwhile goals and demonstrate more
initiative in taking command and control of their lives. Research has proven that with high self-esteem
individuals are also less anxious and less threatened by those who appear different from them. This enables
them to work more effectively with others and enjoy working in harmony with others. This is a critical skill for
the future if we ever hope to achieve global peace.

The Building Self-Esteem program has proven to be highly successful in enabling both students and adults to
achieve at remarkably high levels of functioning. For example, as a result of this program Michael went on to
graduate from the university with honors and became a highly successful petroleum engineer. Research studies
have documented that schools using the program have increased attendance and academic achievement, and
have reduced teenage pregnancies, drug abuse, motivated students to become lifelong learners, and reduced
discipline problems by 30-50%. The program has been translated into six different languages and is now being
widely used not only in the United States but also in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Australia, Canada,
Finland, Argentina, Canada as well as Slovenia.

The Institute for Developing Personal Quality is a non-profit, non-governmental organization. It’s goal is to
increase the awareness of the importance of self-esteem & personal responsibility as well as help people to
increase their self-esteem and develop their potential in general.

SCHOOLS PROGRAM in the year 1999. To implement the program, the Institute has since than trained over
280 mentors. The program produced impressive results in increasing personal responsibility and motivation for
learning, improving interpersonal skills and decreasing antisocial behaviour and violence in schools. The
program is presently being implemented by mentors throughout the country.

In the year 2002 we designed a project Building Self-Esteem on a Schoolwide Basis. The purpose of the project
is to increase the level of self-esteem among slovenian students by implementing the Building Self-Esteem
program in selected schools on a schoolwide basis. This program, developed by Robert Reasoner, with over 25
years of research behind it, provides manuals and teaching materials for elementary and secondary school
students, with supplementary materials for administrator’s and parents. A student Self-Esteem Inventory for
assessment accompanies the program. The results of it's implementation (after 3 years) showed improvement in
all aspects of school activities: student interest in school and after school activities raised, less discipline and
social problems were registered and the number of students at risk dropped for 50%; the school climate in
general improved which was also followed by the improvement of staff/teachers self-esteem. One of the
included schools was elected for the best of the Year.

The purpose of this project is to increase the level of self-esteem and sense of personal responsibility among
slovenian students, as well as among their parents and teachers. Increasing the awareness of the broather
community and general public is also part of the project.
With the above stated purpose a series of workshops for students – which are the central part of the project –
being conducted by specially qualified mentors. Beforehand, training for mentors is organized. Simultaneously
with the implementation of a series of workshops for students, workshops for school-staff and workshops for
parents, as well as presentations for the local communities are organized.

The program focuses on three target groups simultaneously.
¨    The primary target group are students in 6 primary and 1 secondary school, 12 to 19 years old.
¨    The second target group are all the staff members on these schools, with special emphasis on teachers that
     will be mentors for implementation of the program.
¨    The third target group are parents of the mentioned students.
¨    Beside that, the project aims also at increasing the awareness of the local community members as well as
     of neighbouring schools and their communities.
The program includes a series of workshop materials to be implemented in classes or other groups of school
children, consisting of using worksheets, discussions and sharing experience. All the schools have already
attended a two days training aimed at increasing the school staff awareness on self-esteem and its components.
One third of the teachers are going to be trained as mentors. Presentations and workshops are going to be
organized for parents and school staff, with the aim of supporting and developing their own self-esteem. So
students, school staff and parents are going to be actively involved in the process of building their own self-
esteem & personal responsibility. Members of local comunities as well as representatives of neighboring
schools and communities are going to be invited to a presentation of the project.

Organizing the awareness seminar for school staff
Organizing the mentor training for teachers
Assessment of Staff Self-esteem
Issuing information leaflets and information booklet
Organizing a presentation on the importance of self-esteem & personal responsibility for local communities and
general public
Conducting series of workshops for students
Organising workshops for school staff
Organising workshops for parents

In terms of social change the project will contribute to decrease antisocial and deviant behaviour, increase self-
esteem, motivation, personal responsibility, social skills and relations especially by students, but also by school
staff and parents.

The follow up is going to be the overall evaluation of the project and the presentation of the possibility of
extending this project to other schools and regions. Beside that, the project generates mentors and instructors of
the Building Self-Esteem program, which are bound to implement the program at least two years after the end
of the project. Mentors are using the program materials in their daily work with students. From their feed-back
we know that the program has very positive influence on students, the teaching process and teacher-student
relationship. So the continuation of the program is assured. In co-operation with the author, Robert Reasoner
and the experts from the slovenian university, the Institute is developing new methods, trying to improve and
adapt the program to our culture. One of the results of the program is also the information/research of the level
of self-esteem in the school environment, among slovenian youth. This will help to persuade state officials in a
necessity of the implementation of such program on the national level.

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