Self-esteem is defined as an individual's subjective evaluation of their self-worth. It is a set of beliefs about oneself like having feelings of worthlessness or capabilities. For example, "I am worthless", "I am capable" etc. It is an emotional state of triumph or despair and pride or shame.
Smart school solutions recommend a few activities for teachers and parents to do in the classroom to help improve your students’ self-esteem. These self-esteem activities are not only for middle school students but can also be included in the primary school curriculum in India.
One of the most popular self-esteem building activities which utilize the affirmation technique that is effective and positive. Students are encouraged to think positively about what makes them who they are. The idea is that by writing down as many positive attributes and qualities about him or herself as he or she can think, positive thoughts are reinforced in the students’ minds, and by thinking about themselves and their attributes positively, their self-esteem is heightened. For example, “I am a hard worker.” and “I am good at basketball.”
2. “I am afraid but”
Fear is a typical feeling for children. In order to overcome fear, they have to face it. Make the students list out the things she/he is afraid to do and why. For example, she/he could be afraid to go swimming. The sentences should be something like this, I am afraid to enroll in the swimming team because I am afraid of being drowned. Here they list out what they are afraid of and why. Also, ask them to write about the possible outcomes if they tried it. Next to every negative outcome, get them to write a possible positive outcome.
3. Embracing the mistakes
Listing out the mistakes they made and embracing them helps in correcting themselves. This will keep them away from blame games and bullying. Students are to make a list of their mistakes, failures, and obstacles in life. The idea is to allow students the opportunity to self-evaluate, identify the problem, solve them, and improve themselves. For example, a student might list “I failed in the math exam.” The solution should be, “I will practice more math problems and get trained to pass the next exam”
4. A letter to yourself
In fact, the most underrated activity that every smart school solutions recommend that each student should each write a letter to his or her future self, detailing whatever they wish to become or achieve, what they would like to change about themselves, and what good hobby they would like to hold on to, their passion, their role model, etc so that when the students read the letter back again in the future, they will be able to compare and contrast themselves of what their actual goal was, how far they have achieved, and what is the gap they need to fill in if any in achieving the goal. In short, it is a reminder to self.
Promoting self-esteem in the primary school curriculum in India help to form a lasting connection among students improving team performance and heightening students’ empathy levels. It also decreases stranger anxiety through “exposure”. Self-perceptions may foster the skill of self-reflection enabling them to evaluate their own actions and paves way for improvement.