Jump to content
OtakuBoards

Self Esteem: Pointless.



Recommended Posts

[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]It's occurred to me lately that in America, there's an enormous push to raise the self esteem of our current generation of children. Somehow people believe that if children feel "better" about themselves then somehow they'll do better in classes. Now this might be true for some people, but compare international math test scores between America and South Korea. American children foolishly believed they had done well and South Korean children thought they'd utterly failed. Of course the reverse was true because South Koreans typically spend more time studying and less time watching Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

He was lying when he said you're special just for being you. Am I wrong? Did you do well in classes when you thought you were the latest boy genius? Or did you think you were failing all the time but in reality doing well? I had a harsh Chinese mother that kicked my butt repeatedly for getting Bs instead of As. So I thought I was a bad student until I looked around and realized I was the only one who cared that I was doing well.

How tragic.

Here's the link for the study. [URL="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/17/AR2006101701298.html"]Be Enlightened.[/URL][/FONT][/COLOR]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[font=trebuchet ms]My default test MO for most of my life was:

1. Notice there is a test the next day.
2: Panic.
3. Study until my eyes bleed.
4. Take the test, utterly convinced that I've failed.
5. Get an A!

Works like a charm.

That being said, I'd say self-esteem is important for success in other areas of life (personal grooming, relationships, general interaction with other humans)... But it doesn't matter how good you feel about yourself in math class if you don't know the material.

Granted, breaking down crying every night when you do your homework because you don't understand it is probably not the best way to operate, either.[/font]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Sara'][font=trebuchet ms]Granted, breaking down crying every night when you do your homework because you don't understand it is probably not the best way to operate, either.[/font][/QUOTE]

[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]Oh bah, it got me through high school somehow. Of course the irony is that one day when I realized my mother had suddenly stopped bugging me about studying I actually did better. *twilight zone music*

I suppose my gripe about self esteem is when people use it as a way to coddle children into thinking they can just think well of themselves and be great people. I believe, like so few people these days, that true self esteem can come from real achievement. Like scoring high on an exam or getting a job because your resume was actually not comprised of lies.[/FONT][/COLOR]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]The problem isn't really just self-esteem here. The thing is, parents indulge their children way too much in the interest of "self-esteem" over here. Kids end up getting egos bigger than Jupiter, getting all full of themselves and never learning a thing because they think they already know everything. Meanwhile, their parents end up letting them do whatever they want without any consequences, which leads to all kinds of trouble. So too much self-esteem with no justification is useless.

I can't say that self-esteem itself is useless. After all, low self-esteem makes emos. Nobody wants the planet to be overrun with emos.[/FONT]
Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't tell whether or not I have a high or low self esteem anymore. It comes with moments, I guess. Umm...pretty much the only subject I need to study for is math. Oh, how I loathe math! GRR!!!:animeangr

Anyway, I have this wonderful little 'gift' of mine. A magic memory! I'll be daydreaming in class while the teacher is talking and when the test comes, I simply remember what I was daydreaming about in class (this is quite easy for me to do) and it also brings back memories of what the teacher said. Honestly, I usually do better than some of the kids in my class that study up to the last remaining second before the test with this 'study tecnique'.

But , for me, this is almost impossible to do with math! Yes, math is my acursed kryptonite! And social studies (history) is the absolute easiest!:animesmil
Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Raiha'][COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]Oh bah, it got me through high school somehow. Of course the irony is that one day when I realized my mother had suddenly stopped bugging me about studying I actually did better. *twilight zone music*[/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE][font=trebuchet ms]It got me through high school, too, haha. It's actually kind of funny: the point in college when I realised "I'd rather be happy than get straight A's" was exactly the point when my GPA started to falter. And the trade-off wasn't even that bad... I lost about a third of a point, and suddenly, I enjoyed life again! It was pretty sweet.

[quote name='Raiha'][COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]I suppose my gripe about self esteem is when people use it as a way to coddle children into thinking they can just think well of themselves and be great people. I believe, like so few people these days, that true self esteem can come from real achievement. Like scoring high on an exam or getting a job because your resume was actually not comprised of lies.[/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE]The worst is when people think well of themselves and treat everyone else like crap. "MOMMY TOLD ME I'M SPECIAL, SO YOU HAVE TO CATER TO MY EVERY WHIM! I WILL THROW A TANTRUM IF YOU DON'T!" I guess I can't say that [i]all[/i] baseless entitlement stems from coddled "self-esteem," but I've got my suspicions.

The thing is, I know genuinely intelligent, kind, funny people who have [i]zero[/i] self-confidence or self-esteem, and it drives me nuts. I sometimes want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them: "You are a great person! Why don't you believe meeeeeeeeee?" (Of course, that would only make things worse.)

Conclusion: Some people are using up [i]more than their fair share[/i] of self-esteem, and stealing it from others. It's okay, though. They're special.[/font]
Link to post
Share on other sites
Forget maths, you won't need most of it unless you become an accountant or something. There are many more important things school can teach you, in my opinion. ;P

Anyway, I think good self-esteem plays a big part both in school and life in general; to me it means not being afraid to face challenges, speak up your mind or meet new people - all important to the social status you create in your community.

I was bullied in school and smacked around at home, and I used to think very low about myself. Then I took interest in amateur theater, and performing really boosted my self-esteem and self-image. Not because I was good at it or anything, but because I challenged myself to speak in front of hundreds of people, goof off publicly and do silly things with the theater group without any mocking or putting down.

It has helped me cope at higher levels of education as well. In my current school (University of Applied Sciences), I often initiate discussions and am very active during lessons. Of course my line of study doesn't require very much precise knowledge such as mathematics or grammar, but it's still great to realize how much I've learned through discussing and questioning only.

So to kids and grown-ups suffering from low self-esteem, I'd definitely recommend participating in amateur theater or taking acting/performing classes with a closed group. With that, you can gradually boost your own self-image without a fear of becoming a spoiled primadonna, because the security comes more from your inner self and not other people.

Honestly, I believe many "popular" people who have flocks of followers fawning around them don't really have as high self-esteem as they look, since they need other people's support and approval to feel good about themselves. So that facade is fake, in my opinion.
Link to post
Share on other sites
[COLOR="Indigo"]Ignoring the replies so far since I'm too lazy to quote and would rather just give my own opinion... the point of good self esteem isn't that it makes you smarter somehow, it's more that instead of crawling up in a corner and quitting when you fail, you get back in there and work harder to do what you can.

So on a purely technical level, being happy won't make you smarter. But on a mental level, it means you won't give up and not scoring higher won't really matter. Or rather it won't stop you from finishing school, getting a job, etc. [/COLOR]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='chibi-master']Anyway, I have this wonderful little 'gift' of mine. A magic memory! I'll be daydreaming in class while the teacher is talking and when the test comes, I simply remember what I was daydreaming about in class (this is quite easy for me to do) and it also brings back memories of what the teacher said. [/QUOTE][font=trebuchet ms]I do almost the same thing: I doodle in my notebooks while taking notes. When a question on a test comes up that I have trouble with, my brain fills in the blanks: "Okay! This information was on the page with the big orange dragon, right next to the flower-owl!" It helps me visualise/remember information that would otherwise fall into The Abyss of Forgotten Facts.

Regarding self-esteem vs. academic success, I think the point raised by the article is this: [b]If higher self-esteem [i]doesn't raise the scores[/i], why focus on it in school?[/b]

It becomes a question of what the purpose of school is, and whether or not American (or East Asian) schools are fulfilling that purpose (whatever it may be).[/font]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[font=trebuchet ms] I thought most people knew that being smart or studying, or any combination of the two, were the greatest reasons people did well at a math test.

I can see how self-esteem, or at least confidence at BS, would help someone at an essay-based literature exam, or debate team or Model UN. And being sure of yourself when taking a math exam helps, but it won't make up for not knowing the material.

Although self-esteem without justification is sort of more prevalent in the US than in, let's say, South Korea. Call me an elitist *****, but I see American parents fawn over the fact that their son passed their math exam without even studying (because he chooses to play video games all day) and it makes me just blergh.
[/font]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[SIZE=1]Self-esteem is important, but only in certain areas of life and only to certain degree. I have friends who have practically zero self-esteem, and the lack of it only seems to succeed in making them miserable quite a lot of the time. Conversely, I also know people who are so cocky and full of the stuff that they end up being really irritating to know.

Self-esteem doesn't magically make you smarter, as Indi said it is simply the quality that spurs you on to try harder after you've failed. However, there have been numerous psychological tests which have shown that good self-esteem can lead to a healthier life. If you feel good about yourself, whether it's your mind or your body, your relationships or work that you feel good about, that good feeling tends to spill over into other aspects of your life.

Hence the reason why people in a really happy relationship tend to be a lot more confident than some shrinking violet singleton.

So yes, I think self-esteem is important, but it shouldn't be dictated by other people - I think parents bigging their kids up to some ridiculous degree whereupon they start acting out is pretty obscene, if I'm honest. I think people should make themselves feel good with what they've achieved, and not need anyone else to tell them how they should feel.

Of course, I'm not saying that parents shouldn't congratulate their kids for doing well on a test, but you've got to keep it to a sensible level - don't encourage kids to ascend their own ivory tower.

(Wow, that was rambling...)
[/SIZE]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Sandy']Forget maths, you won't need most of it unless you become an accountant or something. There are many more important things school can teach you, in my opinion. ;P[/QUOTE]

Would you mind it terribly if I kissed the cyber-ground you (I guess) 'float' over?:o

And I doodle in my notes too, Sara!:animesmil Soon, we doodlers will gain world domination!:smirk:
Link to post
Share on other sites
[FONT="Franklin Gothic Medium"]I'm gonna go ahead and just ignore the comment about self esteem and self confidence being linked to bad test scores and such.

Here's my view on self-esteem. No matter what it is, you hold some worth for yourself, even if the worth is that you're worthless...saying you're worth nothing. I find that people with low self-esteem or no self-esteem generally are not good at social activitites, but often excel at academics because of the solitary nature that it provides. To say that people without confidence in themselves don't do well in school is a farce, it's just how they apply themselves. I've felt horrible about myself one day, walked in to take a test and nailed it. It more relies on how you accept information and how you assimilate it, no so much how you're feeling at the time.

As far as encouragement goes, I've always went by the mantra of "You shouldn't go looking for praise when it's the right thing to do in the first place." I've accomplished a lot of things in my academic career, but I don't go looking for praise because of it. I just do what I am supposed to do and that's a reward to my hard work. My parents did congratulate me on my academic prowess and on my extracurricular activies, but I always preferred to remain humble, because overinflating my own ego did me no good.

I think that your self esteem should be dictated by [B][I]you[/I][/B]. Thus, [B][I][U]self [/U][/I][/B]esteem? OMG, what a noble concept. [/FONT]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Korey][FONT="Franklin Gothic Medium"]I think that your self esteem should be dictated by [B][I]you[/I][/B]. Thus, [B][I][U]self [/U][/I][/B']esteem? OMG, what a noble concept. [/FONT][/quote]
[FONT=Arial][I]Novel[/I] concept. But yeah, sentiment echoed.

[quote name='CrimsonKNight][COLOR="Red"']but, self-esteem isn't pointless simply because confidence in yourself makes you succeed. [/COLOR][/quote]
I could have all the confidence in the world that I could fly, and I'll still break every bone in my body when I jump off the Sears Tower.

Confidence [I]assists[/I] success. It does not ensure it. Conversely, lack of confidence ensures failure, so really, what's your better option here?

[quote name='Sandy']Forget maths, you won't need most of it unless you become an accountant or something. There are many more important things school can teach you, in my opinion. ;P[/quote]
Math(s?) better equip you to manage your finances and pay your bills. Higher math exercises the abstract portion of the brain, which allows one to better control abstract thought.

I mean, look at me. Cal II was a breeze for me, and I can reference anything I've ever heard at the drop of a hat and generally be a first-class smart-aleck. Can you? :p


To the topic, self-esteem should not be 'focused on' in schools directly because self-esteem is accrued through repeated success. If teachers in elementary schools would drive their students to exceed instead of focusing on keeping their feelings from being hurt by 'bad grades'—which is a foreign concept until someone tells a kid that not being able to instantly regurgitate information is somehow indicative of failure—then self-esteem might not be an issue, at least not in this sense.

I don't recommend callousness by any means. I just get sickened by psychosocial crap caused by people afraid to put their necks on the line and push their students, or administrations who plead for mediocrity in the name of balanced education.

Then again, programmed learning ain't exactly perfect either. I mean, an aircraft mechanic probably doesn't need to know trig. And electrical engineers don't need to know social customs. [I]*shot*[/I][/FONT]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[COLOR=#503F86]I think it's been said that self-esteem isn't an academic qualification in its own right, like SATs. It isn't a stepping stone to higher grades.

I think it's wrong to try and make someone believe they can do something if they aren't being given the proper skills to actually support their learning. Likewise, it's equally wrong to convince someone they're going to fail if they're actually doing pretty well. Self-esteem is a completely organic... thing, so it can either affect or not affect people in different ways. If I'm confident then I may be more willing or able to take on information than if I'm worried I'll fail. But considering how it's more related to personality and emotion it's hard to prove exactly what, if anything, it actually does to academic study.[/COLOR]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[font=Arial]It is my understanding that while Korea and Japan have superior math/science scores in comparison to that of US children, their schools fail to adequately teach things like exposition, critical analysis, and argument in writing. You can always force more rote memorization and number-crunching onto a kid's plate without regard for the [i]person[/i], but I believe that tasks requiring more creativity are more contingent upon the person's internal condition. Generally I see this debate as a manifestation of an East/West cultural dichotomy, with the West focusing on the individual, and the East focusing on the group.

Also, I'm not sure if math/science scores are an accurate way to measure the worth of self-esteem in classrooms. I'd say the number of bullies, fights, and amount of class camaraderie (however you'd quantify that) would be a more adequate way of measuring the worth of self-esteem.[/font]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Retribution'][font=Arial]It is my understanding that while Korea and Japan have superior math/science scores in comparison to that of US children, their schools fail to adequately teach things like exposition, critical analysis, and argument in writing. You can always force more rote memorization and number-crunching onto a kid's plate without regard for the [i]person[/i], but I believe that tasks requiring more creativity are more contingent upon the person's internal condition. Generally I see this debate as a manifestation of an East/West cultural dichotomy, with the West focusing on the individual, and the East focusing on the group.
[/font][/QUOTE]

[font=trebuchet ms] Well, one has to wonder why kids from India and China who are going into engineering and the sciences are, in the end, better suited to compete in the global world. In the end, both are important, but being an engineer will, probably more often than not, get you further ahead than someone whose focus lies solely in the liberal arts. Students who are good at humanities are almost a dime a dozen, whereas students who really go into science are more "valuable", for lack of a better word.

Not to say that writing and critical analysis and etc. aren't important- it's best to be well rounded and good in all of these areas, but I think the eastern hemisphere has got it right when they're encouraging students to explore math and science. [/font]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]In America today, when blind school bureaucracies punish both the person who starts a fight and participates in one out of self defense, I'm relatively sure children and teenagers are being taught that they will be victimized by everyone around them if they attempt to defend themselves.

It teaches the child that defended himself that to the school administration, he is no better than his attacker. I fail to see how this would have much to do with good self esteem. There are bullies everywhere but in most other countries some common sense has prevailed in the sense of knowing who to punish.[/FONT][/COLOR]
Link to post
Share on other sites
A bit of history trivia that may provide some perspective on the discussion.

So far as I can tell, the first historical figure to talk about self-esteem ([I]Acquiescentia in se ipso[/I]) was the 17th century writer Benedict Spinoza (someone I happen to be interested in). In his Definitions of the Affects Spinoza writes:

[quote]Self-esteem is a joy born of the fact that a man considers himself and his own power of acting.[/quote]In other words: it's a state of being happy with who we are and what we are capable of doing. What's interesting here, aside from the historical fact, is that Spinoza thinks of self-esteem as opposed not only to humility, but also to [I]pride[/I]. He writes:

[quote]Pride is thinking more highly of oneself than is just, out of love of oneself.[/quote]And elsewhere:

[quote][Pride] is a species of madness, because the man dreams, with open eyes, that he can do all those things which he achieves only in his imagination, and which he therefore regards as real and triumphs in.[/quote]Now, so far as I can tell Spinoza has no problem with self-esteem. Self-esteem, if it's "just," amounts to a kind of [I]realistic[/I] understanding of oneself and what one is capable of. He has a problem with pride because at base it's something imaginary - it has no basis in clear and distinct knowledge, and basically leads to blind desires and actions.

It's an interesting question: when did this term, which for Spinoza meant a joy grounded in a solid and realistic self-understanding, change to mean a kind of boundless personal optimism (as it does now) - in other words, a type of pride? We reason: such and such a child may not be able to do everything, but if we [I]convince[/I] him/her that they can - and generally encourage expectations of success and interpretations of successfulness ("I got a C, but it's better than that D I made last time!") every step of the way - then maybe they'll do better than they would otherwise. But of course, the reverse might also be the case; a student who thinks they're doing badly may work harder to catch up, and thus do even better than before. Spinoza, perhaps, would like us to consider the child who knows very well who she is and what she can do, but does not step beyond that.

I don't really know how I feel about all this. When Spinoza talks about unwarranted pride and humility as "species of madness" which are likely to lead to trouble he may be right, but then maybe this isn't such a problem for the modern educational system. What this system wants is [I]results[/I] - on tests and in classrooms - and realistic self-appraisals may not be as desirable for those results as the imaginations of the unrealistic. I see no reason, after all, why madmen might not test better. Of course, another question is whether we think society ought to be populated by such people, or whether we should take a moment to reconsider despite their (supposedly) better results. The final problem we end up in, I think, is whether, why, and what it means that one lives (or ought to live) in a society where everything is completely determined by results. It thus isn't a question of whether self-esteem is useful or not, but rather why it is that usefulness (meaning: utility for a set of results) now completely determines the worth of self-esteem and, perhaps, all other kind of affections.

I guess I'm leaving you many problems without solutions here, but I thought it might be nice to widen this thing out a bit.
Link to post
Share on other sites
[color=deeppink]I've gone into plenty of situations with high self-esteem only to fail. At the same time, I've gone into plenty of situations with absolutely no self-esteem and done wonderfully.

Basically, the only difference was how nervous I was.[/color]
Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with Indi on this one actually, it's not about making you smarter but more about not giving up when you don't do well.[quote name='Sara'][font=trebuchet ms]Regarding self-esteem vs. academic success, I think the point raised by the article is this: [b]If higher self-esteem [i]doesn't raise the scores[/i], why focus on it in school?[/b] [/font][/QUOTE]I think another equally important question would be, if they didn't focus on it or at least try to keep kids from quitting, would the scores go down? So perhaps they're looking at the wrong angle to this whole deal. Not that it makes them any smarter, but that they learn more because they don't quit and drop out.
Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Sara][font=trebuchet ms]Regarding self-esteem vs. academic success, I think the point raised by the article is this: [b]If higher self-esteem [i]doesn't raise the scores[/i], why focus on it in school?[/b'] [/font][/quote]

[quote name='Rachmaninoff']I think another equally important question would be, if they didn't focus on it or at least try to keep kids from quitting, would the scores go down? So perhaps they're looking at the wrong angle to this whole deal.[/QUOTE][font=trebuchet ms]It also begs the question of whether test scores accurately reflect learning.[/font]
Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote]I agree with Indi on this one actually, it's not about making you smarter but more about not giving up when you don't do well.[/quote]

[font=franklin gothic medium]This is a really good point, I think.

It's one thing to do poorly at a test or a piece of classwork, but it's another thing when you actually keep trying and change your learning/work habits.

I think that even if someone is not terribly good with academia, persistence and determination go a long way.

I have often thought that scores and numbers have been considered more important than the actual idea of developing a work ethic.

After all, no matter how intelligent you are, you generally won't be financially successful/stable in life unless you put in that hard work. And I do think that recovering from mistakes and developing strategies to overcome hurdles is probably even more important than simply "knowing the answers".

Sometimes a person achieves success simply because they kept pushing and never gave up. I think it takes self-esteem to be able to do that, but it's also a very practical thing too.[/font]
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...