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Building pupils’ self-esteem: have you downloaded your free PSHE workshop sessions?

These body confidence workshops from the Dove Self-Esteem Project are aimed at 11-14-year-olds and have demonstrated proven benefits in raising pupils’ self-esteem. Each of the sessions takes around 45 minutes to one hour. If you don’t have time to carry out all five of the free workshop sessions with your pupils, then you can download the Confident Me single session workshop. This hour-long session covers the key points from each session. 

 Here’s what to expect in each of the sessions:

Session one — Appearance ideals

In this session, students explore and challenge the concept of appearance ideals. They can see where they came from, what pressure these ideals put on them and how these ideals have changed over time. Students can also look at how they can celebrate other qualities aside from focusing on the way someone looks and dresses.

Example activity: What action could you take to make appearance less important and to prevent yourself and others from focusing on appearance ideals?

Session two — Media messages

In the second session, students explore how images and messages from advertising to cinema and social media are often manipulations of the truth. They will look at how it can be unhealthy and unrealistic to compare themselves to images that have been heavily edited and promote a certain, often unattainable, appearance ideal.

Example activity: You watch the latest video from your favourite artist: What message is this trying to get across? It’s not fair to compare to this because...

Session three — Confront comparisons

In the third workshop session, students will identify ways in which the process of comparing looks, although a normal part of human nature, can have negative consequences for themselves and their friends. They look at new ways they can respond to comparison situations that can have a more positive outcome for themselves and the people around them.

Example activity: Constantly comparing yourself to other people can cause problems. How many problems can you think of? 

Session four — Banish body talk

In session four, students look at what is meant by ‘body talk’ and explore the problems that too much body talk can have on self-esteem and body confidence, even when it is positive comments about appearances. They look at strategies to reduce and avoid body talk, shifting the focus to other qualities and achievements, reducing the emphasis on appearance as being important.

Example activity: In what ways could you take action to challenge the use of body talk by yourself and others? (Say what you can do yourself and what you can help others to do).

Session five — Be the change

The final workshop brings together everything students have explored and learned so far with the chance to review and reflect. Students will prepare to lead by example as they take the body confident message out into their school life.

Example activity: What makes us unique? Write the following about a classmate:

  1. 1.    One thing I like about…… is……  
  2. 2.    A really individual thing about……. is……

The free Uniquely Me parent guide is packed with much more advice and some practical activities to help support you with boosting children’s body confidence and self-esteem.

This downloadable pdf contains expert advice from Dove Self-Esteem Project global experts from the fields of psychology, body image, self-esteem, eating disorders and media representation to create a resource for parents that is focused on advice and action.

Read, download or print the free Uniquely Me parent guide