A guide to learner self-esteem and how to use Bob Burden's Myself As a Learner Scale. For more resources related to this guide:
A guide to learner self-esteem and how to use Bob Burden's Myself As a Learner Scale. For more resources related to this guide: www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Learner-Self-Esteem-Quick-Guide-to-MALS-6328365/
3A. IN ORDER FOR THE ADMISSIONS STAFF OF OUR COLLEGE TO GET TO KNOW YOU, THE APPLICANT, BETTER,WE ASK THAT YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:ARE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD, OR ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU HAVE REALIZED,THAT HAVE HELPED TO DEFINE YOU AS A PERSON?I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks,making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winningoperas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and Icook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde offerocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When Imbored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electricalappliances free of charge.I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroyevening wear. I dont perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won theweekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat 400. My deft floralarrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and DavidCopperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every fooditem in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep ina chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The lawsof physics do not apply to me.I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami.Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only amouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, andspelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.But I have not yet gone to college. Low Self-Esteem or High Self-Esteem?
2 What is self-esteem? Self-esteem, fully realized, is the experience that we are appropriate to life and to the requirements of life. More specifically, self-esteem is:There is a long history of 1. confidence in our ability to think, confidence in debate over the exact our ability to cope with the basic challenges of life; meaning of the term and ‘self-esteem’ – and in turn, what we mean by 2. confidence in our right to be successful and ‘low self-esteem’ and ‘high self-esteem’. happy, the feeling of being worthy, deserving, entitled to assert our needs and wants, achieve Nathaniel Branden’s broad definition has our values, and enjoy the fruits of our efforts. good standing… Self-esteem is not a gift to be claimed. On the contrary, it’s possession over time represents an achievement. (Adapted from Nathaniel Branden, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem)
What is self-esteem?‘Global Self-Esteem’ ‘Specific Domains of Self-Esteem’ ‘Situational Self-Esteem’ ‘Learner Self-Esteem’ is one of the specific domains of self-esteem. (Derived from work of Seymour Epstein)
What is learner self-esteem?Learner self-esteem relates specifically to theperception we have of ourselves in relation to:1. what types of teaching & learning activities we thinkwe are strong at2. what types of teaching & learning activities we thinkwe are weak at3. how we feel when faced with an unfamiliar type ofteaching & learning activity4. how well we are regarded by our teachers5. how we compare to fellow learners6. how well we are regarded by fellow learnersAnother way of describing it would be to use the term‘self-image as a student’. 3
Why do we need to considerlearner self-esteem in schools?The assembly line has long since ceased to be the appropriate symbol of theworkplace, as we have made our transition from a manufacturing to an informationsociety and mind work has largely replaced muscle work.What is needed and demanded today, in the age of the knowledge worker, is notrobotic obedience but persons who can think; who can innovate, originate, andfunction self-responsibly; who are capable of self-management; who can remainindividuals while working effectively as members of teams; who are confident oftheir powers and their ability to contribute.What the workplace needs today is self-esteem. And what the workplace needssooner or later of necessity becomes theagenda of schools.(Adapted from Nathaniel Branden, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem) 4
To what extent are we preparing students for thebig wide world? GCSEs BTEC 3 A-Levels Self-Esteem? Derived from ‘My School Improvement Doodle Book’ by Ben Keeling
How can we spot low learner self-esteem? Makes disparaging remarks Seeks to disrupt and Routinely declares about other students then blames others work to be ‘boring’ Avoids situations that could Appears quiet and Often screws be stressful by making excuses withdrawn, always on up their own such as feigning illness the fringes of groups work Sometimes point-blank Routinely declares they refuses to complete work don’t know what to do Asks for help Is snappy and irritable, Adopts an apathetic before even often escalating into ‘don’t care’ attitude attempting a task ‘fight or flight’ responses to their work Boasts a lot, sometimes even Continuously seeks reassurance, tells grossly exaggerated or even with simple tasks such as made-up stories spelling common words Appears ‘socially driven’ rather than Is timid, sometimes becoming ‘learning driven’ in lessons – more interested hostile if pushed, when asked in being liked than achieving grades to show work Engages in truanting, Has a history of literacy issues particularly when there is a and is placed in ‘lower ability’ change in timetable or staffing sets for a number of subjects5
How can we measure learner self-esteem? Robert Burden, recognising the importance of self-esteem in schools, created the MALS as a means of enabling teachers to gain a snapshot of students’ views of their competency in learning. Schools generally rely on two types of tests to understand learners. An attainment test can be used to measure what knowledge and skills have been acquired so far through learning. An ability test can be used to build a picture of student’s underlying capabilities. The MALS is a social competence test which looks instead into self-perception. There are others, such as the Self Image Profiles, but these are generally reserved for specialist assessors.
How the MALS is administered: •The MALS is basically a standardised questionnaire, known technically as a ‘Likert scale’. •It gives students 20 descriptive statements which they have to rate themselves on in terms of how much they feel this applies or doesn’t apply to them. •It can be delivered on a 1-1 basis, to small groups or to larger class sizes. •For those students where there are reading issues, it can be talked through with the student.
How the MALS is scored:•Scoring is allocated on a scale of 1(most negative) to 5 (most positive),thereby producing a possible rangeof scores between 20 – 100.•In most cases this means a slidingscale of (a) = 5 points to (e) = 1 point.•With negatively worded items – 6, 8,12, 16, 20 – the scoring is reversed.The pack includes a ‘Scoring Key’sheet which fails to recognise thisaspect and should not be used.•Once all items are scored, these areadded up to form a total score.•The average range for total scores,based on standardisation of Y7 andY8 sample groups, is 60 – 82.
How the MALS isinterpreted:•A score enables staffto gain an indication oflearner self-esteem, andin turn prioritise studentsin terms of intervention.•However, if it is to beused constructively,then areas fordevelopment needidentifying for eachstudent.•This is can beachieved simply byhighlighting low-scoringitems.
How the MALS can be used for wholegroup intervention:The scores and identified areas for development can be collated on a spreadsheet. Thisallows for commonalities to be identified across a cohort and progress to be tracked.
So what can we do about low learner self-esteem?"Attempts by pro-esteem advocates to encourage self-pride in students solely by reason oftheir uniqueness as human beings will fail if feelings of well-being are not accompanied bywell-doing. It is only when students engage in personally meaningful endeavours for whichthey can be justifiably proud that self-confidence grows, and it is this growing self-assurance that in turn triggers further achievement.“(Robert W. Reasoner, 2011) “If a teacher treats students with respect, avoids ridicule and other belittling remarks, deals with everyone fairly and justly, and projects a strong, benevolent conviction about every student’s potential, then that teacher is supporting both self-esteem and the process of learning and mastering challenges. For such a teacher, self-esteem is tied to reality, not to faking reality. In contrast, however, if a teacher tries to nurture self-esteem by empty praise that bears no relationship to the students’ actual accomplishments-dropping all objective standards-allowing young people to believe that the only passport to self-esteem they need is the recognition that they are “unique”- then self-esteem is undermined and so is academic achievement. We help people to grow by holding rational expectations up to them, not by expecting nothing of them; the latter is a message of contempt.” (Nathaniel Branden, 2008)
How is self-esteem shaped – and how can it be re-shaped? 6 Self-Esteem is shaped by our internal processes. 7Self-Esteem is shaped by our external environment.
Planning mentoring… Look at real-life Introduce new Rehearse several Tie it back to the examples (good mantra, routine, times away from classroom with and bad) skill etc. the classroom. ‘mentor-teachers’.
Double-checking with teachers…These can be handed out as paper forms or copy & pasted into an email.
A few words of caution…• The MALS is not a one-size-fits-all assessment, it is for students who have carefully pre-identified as possibly experiencing low learner self-esteem.• Before going ahead with a MALS, check one hasn’t already been completed within the previous six months.• To maintain test-retest reliability, it is important students are assessed again no less than 3 months after the previous assessment.• The MALS is standardised amongst a Y7 and Y8 sample population. Therefore, the accuracy of the 60 – 82 average range becomes progressively less reliable with Y9, Y10 and Y11 students.
Case StudiesLook at the following examples of completed Myself As a Learner Scale forms. Practise identifyingthe areas for development and thinking through what action could be taken. It is also important toconsider the reliability of the answers given.• Case Study 1 – Keenan: This is a Y9 student with a Statement of SEN for speech and languagedifficulties. Keenan identifies as ‘dyslexic’. He is a chatty, friendly student but is quietly self-consciousand parents report bouts of anxiety and frustration at home. Keenan has good attendance andappears to enjoy school. (54)•Case Study 2 – Adam: This is a Y8 student with a Statement of SEN for ADHD, speech andlanguage and dyspraxia. He tends to be compliant but is very quiet in lessons. He has a goodrelationship with support staff but can become over-reliant on one, struggling to cope if they areredeployed elsewhere or absent. Adam is also an attendance concern due to truanting. (49)•Case Study 3 – Ahmed: This Y7 student had teaching assistant support in primary school due to asevere fit which impaired movement in his left leg and left arm. Movement has increased butsecondary school have continued to provide a TA as a precautionary measure. He is generally ona par with peers in all subjects in terms of attainment. Ahmed speaks Urdu and Arabic at home. (62)•Case Study 4 – Shauna: This Y7 student presents with specific learning difficulties in spelling. She ispolite but shy in lessons and can sometimes rush work being more focused on ‘getting it done’ thanbeing thorough, thoughtful in his approach. (76)•Case Study 5 – Davey: This Y8 student is in lower sets for all subjects. He completes a bare minimumof work. He receives literacy intervention but is described by support staff as ‘passive’ and ‘notinterested’, particularly with written tasks. (89)
FAQ -What do Ofsted and the DfE say?It is hard to find specific comment on assessment and intervention tools such as the Myself As aLearner Scale. However:►“Inspectors will continue to take account of test and examination results. They will alsoconsider evidence of pupils’ rates of progress since they joined the school and the findings ofdirectly observing the standard of their work and how well they are learning. The judgementabout achievement will continue to be a critical factor in determining a school’s overalleffectiveness.Good teaching is also characterised by careful attention to the learning needs of individualpupils, high expectations and challenge for pupils, and opportunities for them to develop andextend their learning.”Source: Proposals for inspection arrangements, Ofsted 2012►“High expectations followed by effective assessment and well-targeted interventions (suchas use of one-to-one tuition) which are then tracked, can maximise the progress of childrenwith SEN.”Source: Breaking the link between special educational needs and low attainment, DfE 2010
Alternative assessments…There are other assessments that can provide similar insights. The Myself As aLearner Scale is a good starting point that could be built upon over time. Self-Image Profiles – a broader assessment with a longstanding P.A.S.S – a more detailed reputation but requires a assessment with increasing specialist qualification to national recognition but more administer. expensive.
8And finally… “Sometimes it can be difficult to go on believing in another person when that person seems not to believe in him or herself. Yet one of the greatest gifts a teacher can offer a student is the refusal to accept the student’s poor self-concept at face value, seeing through it to the deeper, strong self that exists within if only as a potential.” (pg.211, Nathaniel Branden, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem)
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