Excellence and Self Esteem

I have been conflicted for years on the proper balance (should there be?) between helping students feel good about themselves….and encouraging achievement by encouraging and expecting excellence.

In a scholarly paper entitled, “Self-Esteem and Excellence: The Choice and the Paradox“, Barbara Lemer compares the strategies of creating intellectual stimulation with a climate of high self-esteem vs the argument that a child’s self-esteem can withstand criticism of shortcomings in the quest of excellence against a set of standards.

On his “School for Champions” site, Ron Kurtus writes to students about The Importance of Striving for Excellence.

At the Cornwel West Academy of Excellence, they use a curriculum that teaches “Self-Esteem Through Culture Leads to Academic Excellence (SETCLAE)”.

I came through a lot of “Old School” education, including techniques that could get a teacher in trouble today. But, for me….it worked. And so…the conflict.

Read more…


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