Home > Feel Good about Failure: The Dark Side of Self-Esteem Classes
The self-esteem movement in U.S. classrooms is based on the premise that teaching self-esteem will lead to success. Study after study shows it to be ineffective.
Kids feel good about themselves, but aren't learning, and schools keep putting time and money into self-esteem. Highly-paid consultants preach the merits of loving yourself. Kids like the message.
Competition is seen as bad for kids. Grade inflation is rampant. In some sports leagues, everyone gets an award and score-keeping is not allowed. Some coaches say winning and losing are part of real life.
A study suggests that praising kids for being smart discourages them from working hard. Kids need honest feedback in order to learn that excellence comes from effort--or do they?
Contrary to conventional wisdom, violence may be the result of artificially high self-esteem. Studies show people with inflated views of themselves are more aggressive. Stossel gives students and criminals the self-esteem test.
More critics are speaking out against inflating children's self-esteem. Meanwhile, 90% of school districts claim to be performing above average and they say self-esteem programs help students.
Credits: Feel Good about Failure: The Dark Side of Self-Esteem Classes
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In a highly competitive society, what harm could possibly come from providing self-esteem classes at school? In this program, ABC News anchors Diane Sawyer and Sam Donaldson and correspondent John Stossel find out as they probe the downside of the self-esteem movement. In an absence of statistics confirming any salutary effects from such classes, research indicates that intensive praise can undercut students desire to accept greater scholastic challenges. In fact, the American Psychological Association believes that artificially inflated self-esteem can actually set the stage for school violence. Are children inadvertently being taught that there is no connection between effort and excellence? (13 minutes)
Length: 13 minutes
Copyright date: ©1998
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