Children's self-esteem, teachers' evaluation, and teacher-pupil interactions in ESN(M) classrooms : an observational study.
The main purposes of this study were to examine the effect of children's self-esteem on their classroom interactions with teachers, to study the effect of teachers' evaluation of students’ self-esteem upon their contacts with students, and to find out whether or not children's self-esteem or teachers' evaluation of students' self -esteem may change over a period of time.The study was mainly conducted in two stages. In the pilot study, instruments which could be utilized in the main study were tried out to check their suitability for applying to the mentally-handicapped children. Also, an observational system was developed for recording teacher-pupil interactions in special classrooms. In the main study, the revised self-esteem inventory, the anxiety scale and the group reading test were administered to two hundred and fifty ten- to twelve-year-old ESN(M) children In six special schools within a county. Simultaneously, teachers of these children were asked to assess their students' self-esteem with the same self-esteem inventory and to complete a behaviour questionnaire for each child. Then, twenty-nine children and four teachers were selected from four classrooms in two special schools as the sample f or more detailed observations from October 1981 to April 1982. Both re-measuring and re-assessing of these children's self-esteem were carried out in the middle and at the end of the study.Six null hypotheses and seven research questions were formulated to investigate the self-esteem of mentally-handicapped children and teacher-pupil interactions in special classrooms. Both parametric and nonparametric statistics were used for data analysis.The results indicated that children with different levels of self-esteem did not differ significantly in the types and frequencies of their interactions with teachers. Similarly, teachers showed no difference in their total initiated contacts with different teacher-evaluated groups except they gave more positive responses to the low teacher-evaluated group. Analysis of children's self-rating self-esteem scores and teacher-evaluated self-esteem scores in three testing sessions illustrated a significant negative change in children's self-esteem scores but failed to show a significant change in teacher-evaluated self-esteem scores. Further analysis revealed that no significant relationships existed between the frequencies of teachers' interactions and children's final self-rating self-esteem scores, between the frequencies of children's interactions and the final teacher-evaluated self-esteem scores, and between children's initial self-rating self-esteem scores and the frequencies of their classroom behaviour. The initial teacher-evaluated self-esteem scores, however, were positively related to their instructional contacts with students but negatively related to the frequencies of their positive responses to students' contacts.In summary, this study failed to support the theoretical assumption that an individual's behaviour was directed by one's self-esteem. To a certain extent, it illustrated that teachers' evaluations of students' self-esteem did affect their interactions with students. It also confirmed the belief that once a student had been identified in a certain way teachers seldom changed their perception of a student. Finally, this study showed a negative change of children's self-esteem in special classrooms.