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Self Esteem A New Framework Staff INSET Day 28 th April 2014.

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1 Self Esteem A New Framework Staff INSET Day 28 th April 2014

2 The traditional view; “We need to praise children on all occasions, shielding them from failure wherever possible so as they will not feel bad about themselves. This will have a long term impact on their self esteem” Self Esteem: What is it?

3 “Self Esteem is not about success, it might prop up the embarrassment of failure but that is not self esteem” Freedom from Failure

4 Quote from Guy Claxton “If you are not in a fog you are not learning” Guy Claxton

5 However some of the robust feedback given to children challenged my traditional “Candy Floss” view of Self-Esteem Yet… The children seemed to have good self esteem Views of Year 6 : General Views

6 When I receive robust feedback… “I am happy with it because it means you can improve your work and it will make you better. I feel impressed with myself because I feel I can do more” Quotes from Year 6 Children

7 When I receive robust feedback… “If he tells you that you can do better then he believes you can and he expects you to achieve even more than you have and that makes me feel good about myself. If teachers always tell you your work is good then you feel like you can’t do better but you can always do more. You could become the best in the class” Quotes from Year 6 Children

8 When I receive robust feedback… “If he tells you then it means that he thinks you can do better, he has faith in you and believes you can work to a high standard and that makes me feel good about myself” Quotes from Year 6 Children

9 It makes us work harder the next time because we know what the expectations are and if we don’t want to have to do it again we know what to avoid” Quotes from Year 6 Children

10 “Sometimes teachers say that work is good when it isn’t and that makes me feel weird. Also if they say it is good then you wouldn’t try harder next time because you have reached the standard. In fact when they say it is good and I know it isn’t it makes me feel like they have not read it properly and that they don’t care much” Quotes from Year 6 Children

11 When I receive robust feedback… “Being criticised feels OK because I know he thought I could do better. It puts on pressure because he is expecting you to do better” Quotes from Year 6 Children

12 When I receive robust feedback… “If the teacher says your work is good all the time it stops you trying harder” Quotes from Year 6 Children

13 When I receive robust feedback… “When he criticises my work I think it is because he believes in me and knows me. If I tried really hard then I would be cross if he said it could be better and I would feel let down. If I tried hard I would get angry if I was told it was wrong and I might not change it” Quotes from Year 6 Children

14  In a straw poll 17 out of 20 “enjoyed” the criticism given and had no problem with it  All agreed that criticism about a piece of work where 100% effort had been put in was a no go area and would not be appreciated  Underlying all their views was the relationship between teacher and child that was key Views of Year 6 : General Views

15 The children were feeding back to me the antithesis of what I had believed. They felt that “criticism” boosted their self esteem because contrary to what I had always thought they saw this as an expression of the adult’s faith in them. My own thoughts

16 Self theories: Their role in motivation, personality and development Carol S. Dweck

17  High ability children less likely to suffer from low self esteem  Success at school fosters good self esteem  Praise, especially praising intelligence, promotes good self esteem  Children’s confidence in their intelligence relates to good self esteem (Pages 1-2) Challenges to perceived norm

18  Self esteem is not an internal quality fed by easy success and diminished by failures.  It is not something we give to people by telling them about their intelligence. It is something we equip them to get themselves by engaging in learning. (Page 4) A different view of self esteem

19 A Bit of Theory… Self Esteem: The Facts  Choice of easy or hard tasks. Why?  Self esteem is not related to intelligence  Self esteem is not related to confidence Self Esteem: The Future  Is it possible to change a child’s self esteem?  How do we use praise and criticism constructively?  What impact should this have on our teaching and learning? Structure of the Presentation

20 A Bit of Theory

21  Entity Theory – Intelligence is a fixed commodity  Incremental Theory – Intelligence is cultivated through learning (Pages 2-3) A bit of theory! The major divide between those with high and low self esteem is their view of intelligence

22  Helpless: Where children’s confidence drops when undertaking a task perceived as difficult.  Mastery: Where children rise to the challenge of perceived difficulty and develop learning strategies and perseverance. (Dweck uses the terms interchangeably with low/high self esteem) Glossary

23 Performance Goals  Focus on child’s perception of their own intelligence, thus a need to avoid failure  Leads to strategies that involve avoiding any chance of making a mistake  Emphasis on measuring ability Performance Goals v Learning Goals

24 Learning Goals  A goal to increase competence  A desire to get smarter whatever the perceived failures along the way  Emphasis on finding new strategies Performance Goals v Learning Goals

25 “Often children see these two goals pitted against each other and will therefore often have to make a choice of which path to follow The child’s perception of the goal will determine and fashion a “helpless” (low self esteem) or “mastery” (high self esteem) response” Performance Goals v Learning Goals

26 To what extent do you agree or disagree with these statements: Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Thinking About How We Think 1Intelligence is something people are born with that can’t be changed. 2No matter how intelligent you are, you can always be more intelligent. 3You can always substantially change how intelligent you are. 4You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that. 5You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are. 6Musical talent can be learned by anyone 7Only a few people will be truly good at sports – you have to be “born with it.” 8 Math is much easier to learn if you are male or maybe come from a culture who values math. 9The harder you work at something, the better you will be at it. 10No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially. 11Trying new things is stressful for me and I avoid it. 12 Some people are good and kind, and some are not – it’s not often that people change. 13 I appreciate when people, parents, coaches, teachers give me feedback about my performance. 14I often get angry when I get negative feedback about my performance. 15All human beings are capable of learning. 16You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how intelligent you are. 17 You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed. 18Human beings are basically good, but sometimes make terrible decisions. 19An important reason why I do my school work is that I like to learn new things. 20Truly smart people do not need to try hard.

27 Answer Key

28 Final Score

29 Choice of Easy or Hard Tasks

30 Study 1: 12 Problems All children were given 12 problems 8 easy to solve 4 relatively unsolvable They were then categorised into those with an entity view of intelligence and those with an incremental view (p 6-10)

31 Low Self Esteem  Quickly denigrated their abilities “I guess I am not very smart” – but they had just answered 8 questions easily High Self Esteem  When difficulty arose they did not blame themselves in fact they blamed nothing Study 1: 12 Problems

32 Low Self Esteem  1/3 of the children did not think they would be able to answer the easy questions if asked again High Self Esteem  They remained confident. 2/3 expressed confidence that they would succeed, none of the low self esteem group did Study 1: 12 Problems

33 Low Self Esteem  They remembered 5 successes – in fact they had scored 8 High Self Esteem  The high esteem group tended to embrace failure with relish “I love a challenge” Study 1: 12 Problems

34 Low Self Esteem  Their strategies in the easy questions were as good as the other group but in the latter questions they resorted to things like guessing High Self Esteem  80% of this group showed improved strategies when working on the harder questions. In fact some children actually solved them. Study 1: 12 Problems

35 Low Self Esteem  Children gave up work on the problems very quickly High Self Esteem  They did not consider themselves to be failing they simply dug deeper “I should slow down if I am to figure this one out” Study 1: 12 Problems

36 Low Self Esteem  In other studies the children could not do identical “easy” questions after they had failed on the more difficult questions High Self Esteem  By definition the implication from the study is that this made no difference to the high self esteem group Study 1: 12 Problems

37 Conclusion The low self esteem group saw both their intelligence and their self worth as being on the line The high self esteem group were not seeing failure as an indictment of themselves so the risk was not great Study 1: 12 Problems

38 The children had undertaken the question that neither Jon or I could get right. They had spent a whole lesson (seemingly) achieving nothing. I interviewed them individually after the lesson to catch their views of the challenge and their own self esteem Views of Year 6 : Maths 2006

39  There was not one child who felt discouraged by the experience  They had all thoroughly enjoyed it, even though they were unable to solve the task  When quizzed as to whether they felt this was frustrating a few said they would have liked to have solved it but for most it did not seem to matter Views of Year 6 : Maths 2006

40 From what I could discern there was little that led me to believe the children had found this a negative experience for their self esteem. In fact when questioned their response was a sort of “What’s that got to do with it” approach Views of Year 6 : Maths 2006

41 Children were given the option of choosing from a selection of 3 tasks: 1.Easy; Easy enough to not make mistakes 2.Hard; Hard but possible for children to achieve 3.Hard, New and different; You will make mistakes but you will learn something Study 2: Choose a task

42 Entity 80% chose the two Performance based tasks 50% choosing the easier of the two Incremental 60% chose the challenging task Study 2: Choose a task

43 If I had to choose between getting a good grade in class or being challenged I would choose… Incremental: 68% chose the challenge Entity: 65% chose good grade Study 2: Choose a task

44 Isn’t Self Esteem related to Intelligence

45 There is a general notion that the more intelligent you are by definition shielded from issues of self esteem and it is therefore the less able that need support Research does not bear this out, indeed the most vulnerable group discerned by Dweck were higher ability girls Study 3: Isn’t Self Esteem to do with Intelligence?

46 All children given Science material to learn. All scored well and there was no discernable difference between the abilities of any of the children within the group They were then asked to apply their learned knowledge in a fresh test Study 3: Isn’t Self Esteem to do with Intelligence?

47 The incremental children:  Scored higher than the children with performance related goals  They produced, on average, 50% more written work  They more readily applied original material to new tasks Study 3: Isn’t Self Esteem to do with Intelligence?

48 “ The key to self esteem does not relate to how confident one feels about oneself tackling a given task” But… Rather your view of intelligence and whether it is fixed (therefore every task measures one’s ability) or malleable (therefore every task has the ability to increase intelligence)” Study 3: Isn’t Self Esteem to do with Intelligence?

49 Self Esteem and Confidence

50 “As a society we have come to believe that this (praise) will raise student’s confidence. And confidence we believe is the panacea. Self Esteem and Confidence

51 “We believe that if students have confidence in their ability all else will follow. They will feel undaunted by difficult, never doubting themselves when they meet obstacles. But our research shows that, somewhat unexpectedly that confidence doesn’t help them when they meet with difficulty” (page 51) Self Esteem and Confidence

52 Dweck took two groups of bright girls 1.One were given successes and few failures to seemingly boost self esteem 2.The second group were given challenging tasks alongside “attribution training” Self Esteem and Confidence

53 The success group made no improvement indeed they seemed to be worse in perceiving every failure as a reflection of their ability The retrained group improved to the extent that they were showing better performance even after failures. They also articulated new strategies they had developed in scenarios where they faced potential failure Self Esteem and Confidence

54 “What was perhaps more fascinating was that the teachers (who didn’t know which students were in which group) told me that some of the students who had often been given less work so they wouldn’t feel overwhelmed, were now requesting more work. They also stated that the pupil’s were persisting in tasks.” (page 57) Self Esteem and Confidence

55 “In our research we have found that the students with the most striking history of success are often the most, rather than the least vulnerable. These are the bright girls.” They held a more entity approach to intelligence than bright boys, who in turn were far happier in a risk taking environment Self Esteem and Confidence

56 The girls saw the need to apply effort as a sign that they lacked intelligence The boys saw effort as a necessary pre-requisite to fuller understanding This can lead to “self handicapping” where children don’t apply themselves to protect themselves against their own theory that to work and fail is a measure of one’s own intelligence. Self Esteem and Confidence

57 “Primary schools typically provide a low-key environment in which the work tends to be carefully paced and teachers try to keep failure to a minimum. If vulnerable children do not encounter difficulty they will not be hampered in their achievement” (page 29) Self Esteem and Confidence

58 Is it possible to change a child’s self esteem?

59 Evidence suggests that children’s views about intelligence can be changed quite radically and quite quickly through a shift in classroom/school ethos and culture. Studies with children as young as Reception age show a clear correlation between a change of class ethos and a change in children’s views. Potential to Change

60 Children were given two passages on Helen Keller and Albert Einstein. One of them suggested that they both achieved through natural ability whilst the other inferred that they had succeeded in life through application and effort In follow up work “Students who read the entity theory passage were significantly more likely to select a performance based task” (page 23) Potential to Change

61 Aronson taught incremental theory to his Black American underachieving undergraduates. Those taught it showed gains in: 1.Their attainment scores 2.Their enjoyment of school 3.Their perception of themselves as academically orientated Potential to Change

62 How do we use praise and criticism constructively?

63 “85% of parents believing praising a child’s ability when they do well is something necessary for a child’s self esteem” “However this seems only to instil in children a sense of “contingent self worth” i.e. they feel worthy only when they succeed and feel worthless when they fail” Shallow Praise

64  If we tell children “they are smart” then this only seems to place a greater degree of pressure upon them to fulfil expectations  If we tell them they are not intelligent then they will undoubtedly be discouraged  But to praise their effort, to talk around their particular successes not only shows more concern and value for their work but instils in them a sense that they can achieve further. Shallow Praise

65 There is a strong correlation between children who have a “contingent self worth” and those who have an entity view of intelligence. In a test where children had to tell others their scores 100% of the incremental based children told the truth whilst 40% of the entity children exaggerated their own scores. Shallow Praise

66 Is there no place for “Person” or “Trait” praise? Yes the same as there is a place for “Great Story” at the end of a piece of writing sometimes but it is not the norm nor something that will improve writing. Where a true incremental ethos is set then one off statements lack the impact to be totally destructive. Shallow Praise

67 What impact should this have on our teaching and learning?

68 “These beliefs lead us as adults to lie to children – to exaggerate positives, to sugar coat negatives, or to hide negative information entirely. We fear that negative information and or criticism will damage self esteem” (Page127) Dangers of False Views on Self Esteem

69 “How can we as adults facilitate this kind of self esteem? By emphasising learning, challenges, effort and strategies. We can show children how we relish a challenge by waxing eloquent when something is hard; we can talk about how good an effortful task feels; we can model the exciting search for new strategies and when children work on their own tasks we can encourage these attributes in them” (page 129) Teaching and Learning

70 This form of teaching has two obvious repercussions for classroom practice: 1.Telling the truth: There is a need to be transparent with children. The issue of self worth is no longer whether you are top or bottom of the class but “How can I achieve of my best?” Teaching and Learning

71 Points of note:  I have long believed that if you gave each child the register and told them to grade the children in order of intelligence they would do it as well if not better than us. The Duplicity of this approach

72 2.The collegiate approach to learning: With an entity framework the children match their performance and gain their self worth from evaluating themselves against their peers. Research shows that a failure in a peer is often used to enhance a child’s own self esteem by comparison With an incremental view there is no conflict with your own esteem and the performance of others. Teaching and Learning

73 The “emergent” teaching style delivers all children needs in this regard  It hands learning back to children  The self esteem is derived from their own success  There is no need to compare with others as the key is based on creating their own understanding  Peers can easily become team members in the process of discovery Teaching and Learning

74 The “didactic” teaching style delivers nothing children need in this regard  It sets up a body of knowledge that children can/cannot attain thereby creating a can/can’t do culture.  Children anxiously compare with their peers to see whether they have “got it yet”  There is only one level of success; understand or not understand  To criticise is detrimental because it implies the teaching is clear therefore the fault lies with the child’s intelligence Teaching and Learning

75 A Final Quote “Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one’s levels of aspiration and expectation.” Jack Nicklaus


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