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Articles by Cheri Yecke

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The Doctor Says, "We Were Wrong"

Psychologist William Coulson helped found the movement to emphasize "self-esteem" as a path to school success. Today, he travels the country confessing, "I take responsibility. I was part of this approach which has taken over our education system. We were wrong." Coulson now encourages teachers to "stand up for a return to academics. That is really what is needed."

What explains this turnabout? Partly, new research debunking the notion that boosting a child's image of himself brings greater competence. For instance, a recent, exhaustive review of different classroom techniques known as "Project Follow-Through" tracked 7,000 children at 139 sites across the country and discovered that the educational models focusing on self-esteem "resulted in lower academic scores than any other model evaluated." On the other hand, the instructional methods that produced the best student performance stressed effective teaching of academics and made ...