Although the importance of self-esteem in educational achievement is contested, it remains a significant touchstone of multicultural religious education. This study set out to establish differences in demographics and attitudes between high self-esteem and low self-esteem Buddhist teenagers who are a small religious minority in Britain. Low self-esteem teens expressed less well-being, more worry in relationships with their family and friends, low motivation in school, more supernatural beliefs, more introversion, felt Buddhism irrelevant and used the internet more. Self-esteem was not linked to religious values or environmental concern. Narrow focus on self-esteem as an educational aim risks the known weaknesses of multiculturalism that have since been overcome in pluralist education. The limited usefulness of the self-esteem concept does however reveal ways forward for teachers of minority education, introverts and sustainability.
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