Information Home Page

Self-Esteem: How to Promote Positive Self-Worth in Our Students

Key words:Information, Deafness Related Issues, Deaf Education

Submitted by: Kedra Billker

I. Self-esteem: A definition
a. Belief in oneself

II. Implications for Those Who are Deaf
a. 90% of parents of Deaf children are hearing
b. Parents do not know how to communicate with the children
c. Parents do not know where to find role models for the child

III. Strategies/Activities that Can Be Used to Help Students View Themselves in a More Positive Way
a. Activities that indicate something special about the child
b. Visitors from the Deaf Community
c. Pen Pals from other schools
d. Thematic Unit on Deaf Culture

IV. Resources:

Afzali-Nomani, E. (1995). Educational conditions related to successful full inclusion programs involving deaf/hard of hearing children. American Annals of the Deaf 5, (140), 396-401,

Bruce, L., Buonocore, G., Champion, J., Coble, L., Crump, I., Miller, S., & Wolf, K. (Eds.). Big collection of teacher tips. Greensboro, NC: The Education Center Incorporated.

Glover, S., & Grewe, G. (1990). Motivational units for spring. Carthage, IL: Good Apple, Inc.

Luetke-Stahlman, B. (1995). Social interaction: Assessment and intervention with regard to students who are deaf. American Annals of the Deaf 3 (14), 295-299.

Mahie, S. (1995). Educating children bilingually. p.1-56. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.

Mannix, D. (1992). Life skills activities for special children. West Nyack, New York.

V. Insights:

I found that self-esteeem, as related to D/HH individuals, is limited for several reasons. One of the primary reasons is that the deaf child for the most part is raised by hearing parents who are unaware of the child's need to identify with a larger group. Ninety percent of children who are deaf are raised by hearing parents. The parents see the child as having a disability and grieve over that fact. What many of them fail to realize is that in today's society Deafness is viewed as a way of life and not as a disadvantage. Deaf individuals are proud of being Deaf and it is the responsibility of the parents and educators to make sure that the child is proud of his or her deafness as well. These children can be afforded every opportunity in life so long as we show them that they are good enough to strive for the higher goals. Parents and educators need to take advantage of the many ways to build self-esteem and pride in these children.

As teachers, there are several things we can do to encourage the development of positive self-esteems in our classroom. A few of these things might be: all about me books, my Deafness and me books in which the child talks about what it is like to be deaf, inviting Deaf individuals to help in the classroom, Deaf Awareness Week in the school in which the students present about themselves and their deafness, allow deaf students to interact with other deaf students in the school and community settings outside of their own classroom. These are just a few of the suggestions. I think that if the children are taught very early on that their deafness is not to be seen as something holding them back from the larger community then they will feel better about themselves and their abilities. We need to shift the focus of the students from the fact that they are deaf to one in which they strive to be the best person they can be at all cost. We as teachers need to encourage our students to take risks and try new things outside of the safety net of their classroom. We need to show them how important it is for them to believe in themselves and their dreams. We as teachers owe it to our students to afford them every opportunity to achieve in whatever ways that allow for the child to shine to his or her fullest potential.

VI. Questions:

1. How can we get more Deaf individuals involved in the school system?

2. Is it possible to get funding to hire a Deaf community member to act as a counselor to the deaf students in the system?

3. Is it possible to have a class period devoted to building positive self-esteem in deaf students? Could it be written into curriculum under life skills?

Uploaded by: Melissa Close/ Kent State University/Deaf Education Major