This paper is a brief examination of the role of self-esteem and self-image in academic success. Individual self-evaluation and perception can play an important role in an individual's ability to do well in the classroom, to evaluate and interpret information, and the accomplish the work outside class necessary to support effective classroom learning. While teachers and parents can help build a child's self-esteem, it must become internalized to play a significant role in academic success.
The way in which an individual views himself or herself can have a powerful impact on what that person is able to achieve. Karen Owens (1995) writes, "Self-esteem refers to the extent to which we admire or value ourselves. Self-esteem derives from our attitudes, feelings, judgments, or evaluations of how capable, significant, successful, and worthy we are" (p. 1). Such evaluations can be highly subjective and can fluctuate with varying outcomes. Yet some individuals manage to maintain a stronger sense of self-worth and a greater ability to value themselves than do others, and this self-image influences individual ability to accomplish goals and succeed in the world.
High self-esteem can allow an individual to take on significant challenges and responsibility, including the challenge of doing well in the classroom. It can also influence how the individual interprets academic achievement: a student who expects to succeed because he or she has a positive self-image is more likely