Tips for Helping Students Build Self-esteem by Amanda Winstead

Self Esteem
Tips for Helping Students Build Self-esteem by Amanda Winstead should convince teachers that they need to intentionally focus on this trait and explains how to do so. This should help all teachers and parents do a better job of preparing children for success in the real world. Thanks, Amanda.

Your students need a range of personal, practical, and academic skills to thrive. As a teacher or parent, your approach to a student’s learning can be instrumental in aiding their development. One area that requires some specific focus is students’ self-esteem.

A healthy sense of self-worth has a range of benefits in students’ lives. It’s important to recognize that, in learning spaces, it is not just academic success that contributes to the development of this trait. The environment, feedback, and relationships they experience all feed into how effectively students’ self-esteem flourishes.

Let’s review a few components of helping students to build self-esteem in a healthy and impactful way.

Recognize the Benefits

Self-esteem is often an undervalued focus for development in schools and home learning environments. This usually isn’t because it is necessarily considered a negative personality component. Rather, it tends to get pushed to the wayside in favor of other educational, administrative, or practical priorities. Nevertheless, by gaining an understanding of why building self-esteem in students is important, you may be more mindful of how your approach to curriculum and relationships can support it.

Primarily, a strong sense of self-esteem encourages students to engage more readily with the world around them and the people that populate it. Indeed, psychological studies show that there are clear links between self-esteem and the ability to engage in meaningful social relationships and interactions. This means that students gain vital skills needed to get the most out of the classroom and their lives beyond.

Self-esteem also tends to make for happier students. This does more than just help them to be more confident. The simple act of smiling has an impact on both physical and psychological health. It lowers stress levels, has a strengthening effect on the immune system, and can even bolster productivity. Therefore, building self-esteem contributes to the holistic wellness that empowers students to thrive.

Create a Safe Space

One of the most important ways to help build students’ self-esteem is to make the classroom a safe space for them to engage. The wider world is often a soup of hyper-criticism, ridicule, and stress. If these are present in the learning environment, they may prevent students from taking the necessary risks that spur their growth. A protective and nurturing learning space can help them to step out from self-imposed restrictions to gain a positive sense of themselves and their abilities.

Make it clear from the outset that mistakes in the classroom are encouraged. Everyone in this space is there to learn, and people often learn best from errors. It’s also wise to frame the willingness to make mistakes as courageous. After all, these students are stepping out of their comfort zones to explore even though they may be uncertain. It’s important push the idea that such expeditions are something you undertake as a class. They learn from one another’s mistakes and provide mutual support in finding solutions.

Use Encouragement

Use Encouragement

Relentless criticism doesn’t tend to have a positive impact on self-esteem. This doesn’t mean that students shouldn’t be accountable for their actions or pulled up on areas for improvement. These elements are necessary components of growth, after all. Nevertheless, it’s important to ensure that your teaching approach includes consistent application of encouragement and praise.

This isn’t the same as simply issuing general or vague forms of commendation. Students are usually savvy enough to pick up on how empty or insincere such praise feels. The result is that it doesn’t positively impact their self-esteem at all.

Instead, it’s important to be specific about why you’re praising them. Pinpoint what it was about their actions that resulted in effective outcomes for their assignments, activities, or their relationships with their peers. Talk about what aspects of their character or personality contributes to their success. Indeed, it can be wise to ask your students for their own opinions on what they’re being praised for. This helps them to be able to recognize which of their characteristics have a positive impact. This not only contributes to the growth of their self-esteem but also encourages the repeated application of these traits in the future.

Provide Coping Mechanisms

Students shouldn’t feel as though they’re going through their educational experience without any challenges. Neither should they be entirely shielded from the stresses and pressures of the world, particularly as they get older. However, it is important to the development of their self-esteem to ensure they have the psychological and practical tools to cope with adversity in their lives.

One effective approach to this is encouraging them to build a strong set of self-care habits that bolsters their mental and physical health. These should be accessible activities, such as getting regular outdoor exercise and maintaining a nutritionally balanced diet. Having hobbies can also ensure they have a focus for their energies during difficult times. This is most effective when you don’t just suggest activities but provide them with reasons why these will help your students. Understanding how actions directly result in coping better encourages habit formation that enables mechanisms to be an impactful part of their lives.

It’s also important to teach students that communicating their struggles rather than internalizing them is an effective coping mechanism. Run exercises on how to vocalize concerns. Introduce them to the best venues to share feelings and worries, from their close friends to school counselors. Knowing that these resources are available to them can help themdevelop their emotional intelligence and empower them to feel more in control and capable.


Self-esteem impacts students’ lives in a variety of ways, from giving them the confidence to engage meaningfully with the world to bolster their wellness. It’s important to support their development of this trait by creating a safe classroom environment, providing specific forms of praise, and helping them identify coping mechanisms. When you make the classroom a positive influence on students’ self-worth, you are giving them tools to thrive.

Amanda Winstead

Amanda is a freelance writer out of Portland, focusing on many topics, including educational technology. Along with writing, she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey or even just say hi, you can find her on Twitter.

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