Teaching Guide:
Enhancing Self-Esteem

for grades 5-9

This material is from the teaching guide
for the video
"Enhancing Self-Esteem"
in the 12-part DVD series Big Changes, Big Choices.


The way we feel about ourselves has a huge affect on the way we treat ourselves and others, and on the kinds of choices we make. Here are some things you can do to protect, raise, or reinforce your self-esteem.
Spend time with people who like you and care about you.

Ignore (and stay away from) people who put you down or treat you badly.

Do things that you enjoy or that make you feel good.

Do things you are good at.

Reward yourself for your successes.

Develop your talents.

Be your own best friend - treat yourself well and do things that are good for you.

Make good choices for yourself, and don't let others make your choices for you.

Take responsibility for yourself, your choices, and your actions.

Always do what you believe is right.

Be true to yourself and your values.

Respect other people and treat them right.

Set goals and work to achieve them.


"Enhancing Self-Esteem"
The Video

This video helps young adolescents:

 Become aware of how their level of self-esteem affects their lives.

 See the relationship between their self-esteem and the kinds of choices they make.

 Become aware of many of the things that they and other people do that either enhance or undermine their self-esteem.

 Learn some ways to enhance their self-esteem.

 Become sensitized to the ways they affect the self-esteem of others.


see story synopsis . . .



"Big Changes, Big Choices"
the 12-part series
In Big Changes, Big Choices comedian/teen counselor Michael Pritchard helps young adolescents discover that they have the power and the responsibility to make the right choices for themselves.  more. . .

For more information about individual videos in this 12-part series, click on the title below.
•  The Three Rs of Growing Up
•  You and Your Values
•  Enhancing Self-Esteem
•  Setting & Achieving Goals
•  Dealing With Pressures
•  Handling Emotions
•  Preventing Conflicts & Violence
•  Saying No to Alcohol & Other Drugs
•  Speaking of Sex
•  Friendship
•  Getting Along With Parents
•  Respecting Others

If your school or organization does not have these videos, you can purchase them from Live Wire Media, or request them from your local library.




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To find additional teaching guides on this and related topics for K-12, click here.


If you are using the video, ask the first three questions before viewing.

1. We hear a lot of talk these days about self-esteem. Who can tell me what self-esteem is?

2. Is there a difference between self-esteem and smugness or conceit?

3. When we say someone has high self-esteem, what does that mean?

4. The kids in this video said they think everybody is entitled to have high self-esteem. Do you agree? Why (or why not)?

5. Do you think you have to "prove yourself" in some way in order to deserve high self-esteem?
- Do you have to be great at something?
- Do you have to be super-popular or part of the "in-crowd?"
- Do you have to be terrifically good-looking?
- Is there any reason why someone should not be entitled to have good self-esteem?

6. Where does high self-esteem come from?
- Why do you think some people have high self esteem and others have low self-esteem?

7. What causes low self-esteem?

8. When you make really good choices for yourself, how does that make you feel? (ask for examples)
- Does that raise your self-esteem?
- Do you think that making good choices for yourself could be one way to help raise your self-esteem?

9. When you make really bad choices for yourself, how does that make you feel? (ask for examples)
- Does that lower your self-esteem?

10. Have you ever made yourself feel bad by comparing yourself with others?
- Is it good to compare yourself with others? Why not?
- What can happen when you compare yourself with others?

11. Can we sometimes be too critical of ourselves?
- What happens when we do that? (ask for examples)
- Can self criticism sometimes be good for us? How? (ask for examples)
- How do we know when we've crossed the line and are being too hard on ourselves?

12. One girl in the video said that if people put you down enough you can start to believe it. Has that ever happened to you? How does it affect your self-esteem when people say insulting or unkind things to you? (ask for examples) What can you do about it when that happens?

13. Is our self-esteem permanent, or does it change?
- Is it ever too late to change the way we feel about ourselves?

14. What was most meaningful to you in this video? Why?

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  Other teaching guides in this series:  

  •  The Three Rs of Growing Up
•  You and Your Values
•  Enhancing Self-Esteem
•  Setting & Achieving Goals
•  Dealing With Pressures
•  Handling Emotions
•  Preventing Conflicts & Violence
•  Saying No to Alcohol & Other Drugs
•  Speaking of Sex
•  Friendship
•  Getting Along With Parents
•  Respecting Others


1. Self-esteem has been compared to a bucket of water. It starts out full when we're born, but whenever we develop negative beliefs about ourselves, it's like poking little holes in that bucket and our self-esteem drips out.* Have the group brainstorm a list of things we do or say to ourselves or to others that pokes holes in the self-esteem bucket. Put this list on the wall to serve as a constant reminder.

2. At the top of this column is a list of things we can do to protect, raise, or reinforce our self-esteem. Go through this list with the group and discuss each point. How might each of these things contribute to a higher self-esteem? Can they think of any additional suggestions of their own?

3. Eleanor Roosevelt said "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission." Have a group discussion about this quote. What does it mean? How true is it? Can you think of cases where it might not be true? In what kinds of situations would this quote be most useful to remember?

4. Have everybody in the class bring in one or two advertisements aimed at teenagers. These can be cut out of magazines or taped off of TV. Have a class discussion to evaluate the ads by asking the following questions: How is this ad attempting to appeal to me? What assumptions does this ad make about me? How is this ad intended to make me feel about myself? Is there anything about this ad that's intended to make me feel is ad intended to make me feel better about myself, or bad about myself? In what way is this ad attempting to appeal to me? Would I be most vulnerable to this ad if I had high self esteem, or low self-esteem?

*Water bucket metaphor borrowed from Beverly Boz.

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1. Imagine that some day you will have a child. Write a letter for that child to open when he or she reaches the age you are right now. Tell the child how you felt about yourself at this age and how those feelings changed from elementary school through middle school. Tell this child about the kinds of things you experienced that made you feel bad about yourself and about the things that made you feel good about yourself. Finally, offer some advice that will help your child have good self esteem at this age and throughout life.

2. Watch a television program and write about one of the characters. Did this character exhibit high or low self-esteem? How can you tell? Give some examples of how this character's self esteem showed up in his/her personal choices and behavior.

3. Having high self-esteem means that you value yourself. What are the things you value most about yourself? What are some of the things you do that show that you value yourself? Are there things you do that indicate you don't value yourself?

4. Is there something about yourself (or perhaps something you have done) that you feel very good about? Why do you feel good about it? How has it (or how does it) affected your self esteem? What does it tell you about yourself?

5. What we believe about ourselves is usually reflected in our self-esteem. Positive beliefs make us feel good about ourselves and raise our self-esteem. Negative beliefs make us feel bad about ourselves and lower our self-esteem. Make a list of positive beliefs you have about yourself and a list of negative beliefs you have about yourself. Would your friends agree with your lists? Where do your negative beliefs come from? How accurate are they? How important are they? What can you do to get rid of them?


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