tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
Has anyone written anything analyzing what I'll call, for the sake of argument, the self-esteem myth -- that is, the meme that's been going around for a decade or two that the breakdown of society can be blamed on efforts by some nebulous cabal of educators and others who try to promote self-esteem at all costs while undermining quality?

I mean, almost certainly "yes", but I don't know what it is, because I don't know what to search for, so would appreciate any pointers.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-16 07:51 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] blue_sky_and_jam
I can only really find articles criticising the ‘positive thinking movement’, but this one looks like quite a good one: http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/09-04-15/

There’s also some extracts from a book here that seem to cite specific examples of misguided self-esteem training: http://ceep.crc.uiuc.edu/eecearchive/books/selfe/goal.html

Another source:
http://www.faqs.org/childhood/Re-So/Self-Esteem.html

It’s hard to find any statistics about the use of these techniques. Christian sites and Fox News seem to think that everyone’s doing it all of the time at the expense of ‘real’ education, at least in the US, but I find that slightly implausible. Some sources suggest that it is most common in California.

I have to say, I was at primary school in the UK for most of the 90s, and while there was a bit of attention paid to reminding us that everyone has equal rights and equal responsibilities, and that all people are ‘special’, I don’t remember any intensive self-esteem education or avoidance of constructive criticism. I think that the teachers largely understood the benefits of framing ‘bad news’ with ‘good news’ and remembering to praise effort and improvement as well as raw achievement, but this all seems very reasonable and nothing at all like the alleged ‘trophy for everyone’ culture that conservative commentators are so fond of bemoaning.

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Tim Chevalier

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