Teaching Self-Esteem in Schools

Christine Hanwick

A secondary school that has a course focused on body image and self-esteem? Pretty cool. I recently stumbled across this in an article from the Boston Globe. The class is part of the curriculum at Notre Dame Academy, in Hingham, Massachusetts.

One class period they viewed the Dove videos–where a handful of women were sketched by an artist through their own descriptions while sitting behind a curtain, and then sketched again by the same artist when they emerged from behind the curtain. Poor body image and low self-esteem were revealed in an emotional moment when the women were presented with both images, “and that was a revelation, students said.”

In another class period, girls were asked not to look in the mirror for a full day. They even covered up the mirrors in the school bathrooms. This exercise helped the girls realize how “habitual looking in the mirror [had] become” (source), and how much throughout the day they worried about what they looked like.

As I read about this school and their commitment to such a unique and beneficial health curriculum, I had an upwelling of positivity about the future of our youth. I believe that awareness of eating disorders is critical. But this school is not only talking about eating disorders, they are getting to the root by building their students up–making them more resilient to the constant barrage of media images and fat talk. There aren’t many schools that include body image and self-esteem within the curriculum. As parents, educators, student, friends…we must engage with schools in our community and ask them to include classes that “educate young women in the areas [that impact] women” (source).

It’s our responsibility.

Source: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/south/2013/10/09/notre-dame-hingham-confronts-issue-body-image/A75JVD56eKuEPh5hGIfSrO/story.html