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Course Syllabus

Title :Building Students’ Self Esteem and Communication Skills

Credits: 3
Instructor:Mary Martha Whitworth
Meeting dates and times July 13 – 17, 2009 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Location: UVM

Course Description:
This interactive course will stress the critical importance of self esteem in the learning process, look at the many
ways self esteem is unintentionally destroyed through everyday interactions, and present numerous activities for
enhancing self esteem at all educational levels. In addition, participants will learn classroom techniques for
improving students’ communication skills.

- To emphasize to participants the critical importance of self esteem in the learning process and its effect on
achievement, behavior, and test scores.
-To make participants aware of ways self esteem can be unintentionally destroyed.
- To model numerous activities to use with students to increase self esteem

- To demonstrate various activities designed to increase students’ communication skills.

- To model and discuss how to create a caring classroom community where students’ self esteem can thrive.

Learning Outcomes:
- Participants will be able to show the importance of self esteem and its relationship to learning, behavior, and

-Participants will be able to demonstrate numerous activities to use with their students to improve their self
- Participants will understand the ways self esteem can be unintentionally destroyed and how to avoid them.

-Participants will be able to create a caring classroom community of learners which allows self esteem to grow.
-Participants will be able to demonstrate several activities designed to improve students’ communication skills.
-Participants will know how to use “active-listening” and “I-messages” with students and how to teach students
to use them.
Participants will be able to demonstrate the Focus Game and describe ways to use it with their students to
improve communication skills.
-Participants will use the techniques and activities presented with their students and adapt them to their
students’ levels and interests.

General Course Information

Course Policies/Expectations:
Participants are expected to participate in class discussions and activities, complete assigned readings and
other assignments in a timely manner, and develop a plan to implement some of the course theories and
activities in their classrooms.

Attendance Expectations:
Because most of the learning in this course takes place in class through lectures, discussions, activities, and
processing, 100% attendance is required. In case of emergency, participant should consult with instructor about
making up work missed.

The official policy for excused absences for religious holidays: Students have the right to practice the religion of
their choice. Each semester students should submit in writing to their instructors by the end of the second full
week of classes their documented religious holiday schedule for the semester. Faculty must permit students
who miss work for the purpose of religious observance to make up this work.

Contributions in Class:
All participants are expected to contribute to class discussions and to participate in all class activities.

Academic Honesty & Professionalism:

All students are required to be familiar with and adhere to the “Academic Honesty Policy Procedures” delineated
in the most recent edition of “The Cat’s Tale”. (

Accommodations will be provided to eligible students with disabilities. Please obtain an accommodation letter
from the ACCESS office and see one of the instructors early in the course to discuss what accommodations will
be necessary. If you are unfamiliar with ACCESS, visit their website at to learn
more about the services they provide. ACESS: A-170 Living Learning Center, University of Vermont,
Burlington, VT 05405. PH: 802-656-7753, TTY: call 711 (relay), Fax: 802-656-0739, Email:, Instant Messenger: UVMaccess. General office hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm Monday through
Friday. Call to make an appointment.

Required and/or recommended readings:

Required text:
Canfield, Jack and Wells, Harold, 1992. 100 Ways to Enhance Self Concept in the Classroom. Prentice Hall

Required readings:
Handouts from:
Borba, Michele, 1990. Esteem Builders. Jalmar Press
Purkey, William Watson and Novak, John M, 1996. Inviting School Success Wadsworth Publishing

Recommended readings:
Borba, Michele, 2003. Esteem Builders: A K-8 Self Esteem Curriculum for Improving Student Achievement,
Behavior and School Climate Second Edition. Jalmar Press.
Blanco, Jodee, 2003. Please Stop Laughing at Me. Adams Media.
Cohen, Jonathan, 1999. Educating Minds and Hearts: Social Emotional Learning and the Passage into
Adolescence. Teachers College Press
Lalli, Judy and Whitworth, Mary Martha, 2002. Leader’s Guide to I Like Being Me . Free Spirit Press
Lawrence, Denis, 2006. Enhancing Self Esteem in the Classroom. Paul Chapman Educational Publishing
Faber, Adele and Mazlish, Elaine, 1999. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.
HarperCollins Publishing

Electronic Submissions/Internet Use: - N/A

Student Evaluation/Assessment


Final Paper 40%

Class Participation and Attendance 30%

Class participation includes contributions to class discussions, presentation

of an activity, and participation in the numerous group activities in class. The instructor
will observe and evaluate this participation.

Readings and Assignments 30%

Description of Class Assignments:

Class readings – participants will be assigned readings to be discussed in class. For each reading, they will
complete a written assignment to be handed in.
Research assignment – participants will locate online and read four current (within the last five years) articles
related to self esteem and education. For each article, they will write a one page summary and reaction paper.
This assignment will be due two weeks after the end of class.
Sharing of ideas – each participant will share with the class an activity they use to build self esteem in their
Final paper – The final paper will be a six to eight page action plan. Based on class material and experiences,
participants will develop a detailed plan for the next school year to implement in their advisories and other
classes some of the theories and activities learned. The first page of the paper will be a rationale for this plan.
The paper will be due two weeks after the end of class.

Scoring Rubrics:

Percentage Contribution of Each Assignment

See Grading.

Supplemental Readings

Canfield, Jack and Switzer, 2006.The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want
to Be. Collins
Canfield, Jack, and Healy, Kent, 2008. The Success Principles for Teens: How to Get from Where You Are to
Where You Want To Be. HCI Publishers
Gordon, Thomas, 2003. Teacher Effectiveness Training: The Program Proven to Help Teachers Bring Out the
Best in Students of All Ages, Three Rivers Press
Jones, Alanna, 1998. 104 Activities That Build Self Esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management,
Self-Discovery, Coping Skills. Rec Room Publishing
Kreidler, William, 1996. Creative Conflict Resolution. Good Year Books
Loomans, Diane, Canfield, Jack, and Loomans, Julia, 2003. 100 Ways to Build Self Esteem and Teach Values.
HJ Kramer
Plummer, Deborah, 2006. Self Esteem Games for Children.Jessica Kingsley Publishing
Purkey, William Watson and Novak, John M, 1996. Inviting School Success. Wadsworth Publishing
Purkey, William Watson, 1970. Self Concept and School Achievement. Prentice-Hall
Rosenberg, Marshall B, 2003. Life-Enriching Education: Nonviolent Communication Helps Schools Improve
Performance, Reduce Conflict, and Enhance Relationships. Puddledancer Press
Siccone, Frank and Canfield, Jack, 1993.101 Ways to Develop Student Self-Esteem and Responsibility. Allyn
and Bacon.
Wiseman, Rosalind, 2003. Queenbees and Wannabes. Three Rivers Press.

Instructional Sequence: - List the course topics for each scheduled class meeting date including
readings and assignment due dates.

Session 1 (Monday)

1. Introduction to course/logistics/requirements/expectations
2. Warm-up and get-acquainted activities
3. Research on importance of self esteem
4. How self esteem is formed.
5. Relationship of self esteem to learning
6. Creating a trusting, caring atmosphere for self esteem development
7. Basic activities for improving self esteem.
8. Small group activities for self esteem.
9. Dangers of teasing

Assignment (due next class): . Read Introduction and Chapter One of text. Write three “I Learned Statements”
and choose two activities which you think would be effective with your students. Read handouts from Michele
Borba’s Esteem Builders.

Session 2 (Tuesday)

1. IALAC Story
2. Practice writing IALAC story for different grade levels
3. Wear IALAC signs for several different activities
4. Discussion of results of IALAC activity
5. Develop plan for presenting IALAC story in participants’ classroom
6. Jack Canfield’s E + R = O Theory
7. Individual self esteem activities
8. Using children’s books to build self esteem and help communication skills.
9. Participant shares
9. Twenty One Day Theory and its use for discipline issues
10. Helping students build each other’s self esteem
11. Discussion of reading assignment

Assignments (due next class): Read Chapters Two and Three of text and write three new ideas you plan on
Read handouts from Purkey. Write two examples from your experience based on the reading.

Session 3 (Wednesday)

1. Communicating and disciplining without destroying self-concept

2. Looking at your own communication skills
3. Non-listening and how to avoid it
4. Active listening
5. Role playing active listening
6. Small group self esteem activities
7. Participant shares
8. Discussion of reading

Assignment (due next class): Read Chapter Four from text. Write a one page paper on how this chapter relates
to the self esteem of young girls today. Try active listening and report on the results.

Session 4 (Thursday)

1. Communication building activities

2. Discussion of reading.
3. .Borba’s Building Blocks of Self Esteem
4. The power of "I messages" – directing behavior without destroying self esteem
5. Teach “I messages”
6, Practice writing “I messages” in small groups.
7. Participant shares
8. Integrating self esteem into curriculum- finding time
9. Grade-alike groups to discuss implementation of activities

Assignment (due next class): . Read Chapter Five from text. Write a one page paper on how this chapter can
help students with goal setting. Develop an outline of activities you plan to use with your classes next year.

Session 5 (Friday)

1. Community building
2. Teach Focus Game
3. Practice Focus Game - evaluating communication skills through it
4. Adapting Focus Game to your classroom
5. Small group self esteem activities
6. Participant sharing
7. How we have built a caring community
8. Labeling
9. Helping students handle put-downs, teasing, and negative feedback.
10. Discussion of reading assignment
11. Grade-alike groups to discuss implementation of activities
12. Culminating activity
13. Evaluations