high self-esteem and aggression

SL Forsburg susan_forsburg at qm.salk.edu
Tue Feb 27 22:20:56 EST 1996

> The reason I have given this much thought is that I am a 
> teacher, and have been firmly opposed to self-esteem courses which 
> offer baseless self-esteem as a good thing, often while taking
> students away from one of the very things that can help them 
> achieve real self-esteem: learning academic subjects.

I think Ed is on target here.  I read a study of the comparison
of American children's math scores compared with those of kids in
other countries.  US kids didnt do that well, but when they were 
asked how good they were in math, they thought they were terrific.
They'd been given all these self-esteem classes, you see....

Point being, kids, whether boys or girls, should be taught to 
aspire to excellence, and encouraged to value their effort and
accomplishment at *real* challenges. That is healthy self esteem,
as Ed points out.

Where this thread got started a while ago is
that girls often don't get that positive reinforcement, for 
whatever reason.  They have a lot more doubt, a "yes but" response
to positive comments.  I see it frequently in women college and
grad students, I see it in myself. Quiet competence too often
is ignored.  And any of us who teach, at any level, know that 
missing the quiet ones is too easy to do.  

(Actually I think women are always looking ahead to the next
challenge and saying, oh look at that, rather than behind at 
the last one and saying, wow, look what I did!  ;-)

S L Forsburg                             
susan_forsburg at qm.salk.edu        
 "I don't speak for the Institute,         
 and the Institute doesnt speak for me."

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