The lingering obsession with boosting children’s self esteem has been given the thumbs down by a Scottish psychologist, who says the idea has gone too far. “We are wrong in thinking we have to get the ‘I’ bigger,” said Dr Carol Craig, speaking at a British school and college leaders conference. “If we say to people the most important thing is how you feel about yourself, then if a child fails maths and feels bad, it is very tempting for them to blame it on others like teachers and parents. Parents no longer want to hear if their children have done anything wrong. This is the downside of the self esteem agenda.”

Dr Craig said the obsession with self esteem was breeding narcissism, and narcissists “make terrible relationship partners, parents and employees.” She urged teachers to reclaim their role as educators, not psychologists. They would be kidding themselves if they thought restricting criticism would not undermine learning.

Since 2007 there has been a statutory responsibility on all schools in England to improve pupils’ wellbeing. This includes teaching social and emotional skills such as how to make friends and not hurt others. One of the performance indicators is teenage pregnancy. ~ Daily Telegraph, Mar 15

 

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet