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Woe from Wit: Weaknesses of Strengths

It turned out that studying among very talented classmates is quite dangerous. Constantly comparing your achievements with others hurts self-esteem and negatively affects interest in the subject and its development.

Teaching in a classroom with very gifted children can reduce a student's self-esteem and success - this conclusion was made by experts from the Center for Monitoring the Quality of Education of the Institute of Education. The spirit of competition influences a child's self-confidence and plans for the future, the researchers studied the use of and attitudes to mathematics: the student's real achievements and their own assessment of these achievements.

Demotivation of the student against the background of more successful peers and reduced self-confidence are also associated with his further success and plans to enter the university. It turned out that children in strong classes have lower "academic self-esteem" than their peers who study in regular classes.

Constantly comparing his achievements with others, a child who compares himself with successful fellow practitioners, loses less self-confidence. Whereas in the "regular class" the student, using the and receiving a good grade, understands that it is advantageous to compare with his classmates, and, conversely, increases his self-confidence. This is called the "big frog effect in a small pond."


"Academic self-esteem" is the student's perception of their abilities and skills in the subject, and, as scientists say, it is this self-esteem that largely predetermines further educational achievements and interest in the subject. Students who are more confident in their abilities subsequently achieve better results: the higher the children assess their abilities in the subject, the more they are carried away by it.

“Academic self-esteem is made up of internal and external comparisons. The student correlates his abilities and achievements in different subjects and understands which discipline he is more predisposed to (internal comparison). The student also compares his results in the subject with those of his classmates (external comparison). Against the background of weak students, he feels more capable. At the same time, with exactly the same achievements, but in a stronger class, he can be considered a "middle peasant". Education in a strong school can undoubtedly raise a child's self-esteem. A “glory effect” arises: the consciousness of the “elitism” of the school inspires. But even with this positive effect, the frog in the pond effect outweighs the positive consequences, ”the researcher emphasizes.

But if the student has results that are close to the average in the class or higher than them, then learning in such a team can be useful.

“The positive effect of 'up-comparison', that is, comparison with those who are better than you, occurs when a child compares himself to children with a similar level of ability, but with only slightly better results. In this case, the achievement gap is not perceived as insurmountable. The student tries to raise his own bar, achieve more, and confidence in his own capabilities grows.

Read more:

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Profile Details
Full Location: 4015 Masonic Drive Powell, MT 82435
Full Name: Viola Rose
Language: English
Occupation: Writer
Title: Freelance Writer
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