Exploring Issues of Self-esteem: Teachers' and Students' Views

PhD Thesis

Li Hong, Nga 2003. Exploring Issues of Self-esteem: Teachers' and Students' Views. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsLi Hong, Nga
TypePhD Thesis

The term "self-esteem" which is a popular concept in schools and the wider society, has
troubled educators and the researchers since the 1990s. In both the USA and the UK, there are
very few actual studies on self-esteem that are based on classroom research. There are also few
studies that seek the views of teachers and students.
This study consisted of two phases in research. In phase 1, teachers' views regarding student
self-esteem and teacher and student strategies relating to raising self-esteem were explored
through semi-structured interviews with teachers and students. Eight primary and secondary
students and seven of their teachers were interviewed. The interviews found that there was
similar "enthusiasm" about the concept of self-esteem from teachers in multicultural London, as
was found in America. However, the desire to promote self-esteem was tempered by the
constraints of a busy classroom. The use of grounded theory demonstrated that although
teachers adopted a multiple criteria with regard to self-esteem, there was variability in teacher
constructions. The criterion of ability appears to dominate the multiple criteria of self-esteem.
Various teacher strategies and student strategies were also identified. Year 6 and 10 student
participants had a good understanding of the purpose of teacher strategies going on in the
classroom. Students interviewed appear to have a good understanding of the reasons why they
did not feel good about themselves and the process they went through to feel good about
In phase 2, a concourse (statement pool) regarding teacher strategies of promoting self-esteem
was created from the semi-structured interviews to enable a Q methodological study . Six
distinct narratives emerged on the effectiveness of teacher strategies. The narratives suggest that
perceptions of the effectiveness of a range of teacher strategies are varied and mediated by
factors such as the type of participant, students' abilities and the need for approval from others.
The findings of the Q sort also suggest that praise and positive feedback methods are not
perceived by all to be effective and there appears to be a link between the favouring of positive
feedback methods and the need for social acceptance.
The implications of both phases of investigation are discussed in terms of the implications for
assessment and teaching strategies. Recommendations for further research are highlighted.

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Deposited06 Jun 2014
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