South Korea released the results of self-improvement experiment.

Participants with problematic behaviors took part in the program with the children who did not have such concerns, with none of the children being aware of the fact that they were mixed together. Aside from the program activities, each child was provided 10-20 minutes of counseling at the school health office by the school nurse. The counseling was related to participation in the program, school life and friendship. Before the program began, the students had to take the Child Problem-Behavior Screening Questionnaire to determine their level of problematic behavior. Tests were also given to measure a student’s self-esteem and peer attachment.

When it came to participant characteristics, the data between the experimental and control groups showed things about the children like their age, gender, grade point average, and family life. It also displayed how many of them felt a high level of stress at school, a high father or mother attachment, and had less than one hour per day of conversation time with a parent. When it came to the issues of problematic behaviors, self-esteem, and peer attachments, there were no differences between the experimental and the control groups.

Before the program started, the testers had developed two hypotheses.

Hypotheses 1 stated that students who participated in the self-esteem improvement program (experimental group) would show a higher level of self-esteem than those who did not (control group).

 

Hypotheses 2 stated the students who were in the experimental group would show a higher level of peer attachment when compared to the students from the control group.

At the end of the program, the students were scored again on these two issues. It was determined that the children in the experimental group had higher self-esteem scores than those in the control group. The students in the experimental group also had higher levels of peer attachment. In other words, both hypotheses were supported by the results. In order to be certain of these results, the testers also gave both groups an extra follow-up test at the end of the program, with results being the same: the experimental group scored higher than the control group.

One area where this particular program fell short was in the introduction phase. This “icebreaker” phase was two weeks long, and it was reported that the students were shy. Also, it was not easy for them to follow the sessions. For future studies, there must be more time to accommodate this “warming up” period because if the children do not feel comfortable opening up, then that immediately defeats the entire purpose of the program.

Many students also expressed wanting to have a consistent time and place for counseling at the completion of the program. The teachers and school nurses did not have enough space available to them. With that in mind, it may be necessary to set up counseling in locations other than the school health rooms to address this need.

Despite these two flaws, this self-esteem improvement program did help students in the experimental

group achieve higher self-esteem by the time it had run its course. The contents of this self-esteem program were as follows:

Session 1: I Am Special

Understand the purpose of the program.

Formation of intimacy and confidence

Session 2: All About Me

Understanding his/her own personality

Session 3: Overcome Complex

Clarify his/her strengths/weaknesses

Convert weaknesses to strengths

Session 4: Challenge Stereotype

Understand his/her own thinking

Change his/her distorted thinking and body image

Session 5: Traffic Light on My Mind

Understanding his/her own feelings

Express different emotions

Session 6: Apple Tree in My Life

Find meaningful persons

Session 7: “Style” is Saying About Me

Understand interpersonal relationships

Session 8: Magic Bingo Game

Review his/her communication type

Session 9: What I Really Want

Understand and express the meaning of “want”

Session 10: Get My Heart

“Want” blue marble game

Session 11: Dream Come True

Find dream for the future

Session 12: Conclusion

Wrap up the program

One of the key features in this program (which set it apart from previous ones) was the focus on self-understanding and personal relationships. In previous studies, the programs focused on improving self-esteem and body image.

There was one drawback to the study : some of the participants were sensitive to questions that asked about their family composure, so they declined to answer them. Many families in South Korea have become single-parent, divorced parent, and grandparent-grandchildren homes. While there is still no doubt that this program did in fact improve the self-esteem of the experimental group, it is suggested that a better picture of the student’s home environment and school life will be needed to make the program even more effective.

Aside from improving self-esteem, the program also helped participants learn to express what they want, and it increased their connection to peers. While there are still some wrinkles to be worked out, it would be a good program to adopt on a consistent basis.

Adapting a successful model for America’s troubled children could prove successful

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