Self Esteem

A person's self esteem is said to be the gap between our ideal and our perceived self. The closer these two are together, the higher our self esteem.

Our self esteem is developed from our perceptions of the responses of others towards us - eg. family, friends and teachers. Research shows that, in school-age pupils, the responses of peers become increasingly important as the child progresses through school.

Characteristics of Pupils with Low Self Esteem

  • They may appear to lack confidence.
  • They may be afraid of making mistakes.
  • They may refuse to attempt tasks, particularly new ones.
  • They may seem fazed when presented with new or unfamiliar materials.
  • They give up easily and lack confidence in their ability to succeed.
  • They may view themselves as useless or incompetent.
  • They may seem over-confident or controlling.
  • They are unable to admit mistakes.
  • They may by the first to laugh at others' mistakes.
  • They may behave aggressively and have difficulty accepting teasing, reprimands or even the mildest criticism.
  • They may be over-demanding of teacher support.
  • They may be withdrawn.
  • They may exhibit outbursts of temper.


  • Circle time.
  • Look for opportunities for praise and positive affirmation. Catch them being good!
  • Break the work down into shorter, more manageable tasks.
  • Use affirmations such as letters home, whole school recognition, being sent to the head, head of year etc.
  • Monitoring charts with rewards.
  • Curriculum opportunities to discuss self-worth, friendships etc. - eg. RE, PSE, English.
  • Home/school book.
  • Self-monitoring.