Teaching Strategies to Instil Self-Confidence in Students
Some kids are more self-confident than others. Whether this is because they have been raised to be more confident, or they are simply born that way, is not always apparent. Either way, these are the kids who happily speak up in class, answer questions, and are comfortable giving presentations to their peers.
Kids like this are rarely knocked by a poor exam grade or criticism in class. They shake it off and continue on their way, comfortable in their self-belief. Kids lacking in self-confidence represent more of a challenge. It’s a lot harder to engage these kids in class discussions. They are afraid of speaking up and dislike being in the spotlight. They also take criticism very hard, so an overly critical teacher will leave their confidence in shreds.
Teachers should never underestimate the importance of confidence. Confident students are more receptive to classroom learning because they are not afraid to speak up and ask questions if they don’t understand a topic. It’s very difficult to gauge whether a student lacking in confidence understands the lesson because they don’t engage with you.
It’s part of your job as a teacher to build up your students and help them feel more confident. You can read a confidence white paper for ideas, but in general, the more secure you make students feel, the easier it will be for them to learn. Here are some strategies for working with less confident students.
Carrot Not Stick
Less confident students need more encouragement in the classroom. The more critical you are of their work, the less confidence they will have. It’s very important that you offer plenty of encouragement. Praise them when they produce a good piece of work, and if they have done something wrong, make sure all criticism is constructive and preceded by some positive feedback.
Set Attainable Goals
Most classrooms are mixed ability. There will always be some students who are more capable than others. The important thing is to set targets that are achievable for the student. Nothing damages self-confidence more than being given an assignment that is well beyond the abilities of the student. By giving your students work that stretches them but is not impossible, you will boost their confidence and encourage their desire to learn.
Offer Gentle Encouragement
Encourage your students to aspire to do better. When they achieve a good grade on an assignment, praise them but tell them you know they can do better next time. Less confident students need more encouragement. Let them know you believe in them and they might just start to believe in themselves, too.
It’s easy to be impatient with students who don’t engage in class discussions or who refuse to answer questions. Try to be empathetic and don’t tell them off for not taking part. By putting them in the spotlight, all you are doing is damaging their confidence even further. Instead, create opportunities for them to contribute, perhaps on a topic you know they are knowledgeable about.
Pay close attention to less confident students, as they may need extra help in the classroom.