Fostering Self-Esteem to Encourage Productivity

H1 – Honor student diversity and development. To me, this standard means teachers should be doing everything in their power to ensure that each student, regardless of background or level, feels comfortable, safe, and capable of tasks they are given. This includes using teaching models designed for increasing student self-confidence. As we learned last quarter from Marzano (2007), expectations, especially toward low-expectancy students, result in differential behavior of the teacher. Additionally, in a study by Rogers (no date), the researchers determined that “for students identified as having learning difficulties, the teacher’s level of interpersonal facilitation was the single most important contributor to the amount of gain on all outcome measures.” Because of the sensitivity students have to the expectations and beliefs of those around them, including teachers, their self-esteem could go either way based on an adult’s behavior. Teachers should foster warm and nurturing environments that encourage collaboration among teacher and students in order to boost self-esteem and create a productive classroom. According to Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun (2015), “strong self-concepts are accompanied by ‘self-actualizing’ behavior, a reaching out toward the environment with confidence that the interaction will be productive.” By showing students acceptance and empathy, and being genuine, teachers can begin to create a place where all students feel welcome. Rogers (no date) found that teachers who displayed this behavior were more likely to have quality conversations with students, have students who missed school fewer times, and made greater academic gains. He described methods of teachers relating to students in a person-to-person manner, regarding them as worthwhile human beings capable of self-direction (Rogers, no date). Empathic behaviors in teachers, like allowing students to make choices regarding their learning, more discussion with students, smiling, and using student ideas in instruction can go a long way toward increasing self-esteem in students. In one of the math classes I tutor, the teacher has the students come up with subjects or ideas for many of their practice problems, and often asks them to write the problems themselves. He has a mailbox for them to submit their story problems (with solutions on the back) and their teacher changes the numbers and gives them a bunch of these student-created problems for practice. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), the students love having practice math problems, and are more confident, excited, and productive when they work on these.

Joyce, B., Weil, M., Calhoun, E. (2015). Models of teaching. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching. Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Rogers, C. (no date). Teacher effects research on student self-concept. Retrieved from: