How can I help the primary school children I teach to develop their self-esteem?
Sally McGinley's M.A. Thesis (University of the West of England, Bristol)
This dissertation tells the story of a study I carried out in my primary classroom in answer to the research question, how do I help the primary school children I teach to develop their self-esteem? Through the process of doing this research. I learned that focussing on care in relationships and care in the learning process can impact positively on the children’s self-esteem.
In undertaking this study I had two aims:
- To understand the ways that self-esteem develops and the impact of the classroom experience on that self-esteem and,
- To reflect on and improve my own practice with a view to creating an atmosphere where the children could be enabled to view themselves in a more positive light.
I used an action research methodology, because my intention was to improve my own practice and to involve and learn from the participants in order to enhance the learning experience for all. Through the process of doing the research I learned to reflect on my values, attitudes and relationships with the children as they impacted on my practice and on the children’s view of themselves.
In doing the research I developed an enhanced awareness of the emotional needs of the children in my class and a greater understanding of their individuality. I came to understand the impact of self-esteem on learning and I developed a respect for the children’s capacity to make decisions about their own learning and for the level of trust they place in me as their class teacher.
In the course of the research I developed an awareness of the need to create a caring practice centred on values of gentleness, respect, kindness and awareness of individual needs. This has implications for the ways I organise learning, attend to individual needs and help the children to manage their relationships with each other and most importantly for the way I as teacher show respect for each child.
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