Building confidence in students I believe that building confidence in


I believe that building confidence in students and in the classroom is the most important aspect of being a teacher. In recent studies, most young students pinpointed that the teacher either greatly helped their confidence level or damaged it. (www.education- world.com/a_curr267.html)

In my essay I will discuss how acting the part of a model teacher, can considerably make a difference in student’s confidence levels. I will also discuss techniques that can help teachers to achieve this.

Studies have recently shown that shy or unconfident students are usually pigeon holed as being slow or incompetent. Although there are no known relations between shyness and intelligence, Professor Lynne Kelly, from the University of Hartford, believes that being shy can greatly affect the education experience in a negative way for a child. Having a good positive role model, such as a teacher, who can help build confidence and effective communication skills, can change this. (www.educationworld.com )

Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Columbia University, also agrees with Professor Lynne Kelly, that there is no link between mastery-oriented (eagerly look for challenges) students or shy students and their intelligence levels. But she believes that building confidence can give students the tools to become mastery- oriented, seeking challenges and overcome difficult tasks.

She suggests the most important thing is to focus on the efforts of the students, not the abilities and level of intelligence. In her interview with Education World, online education journals, she suggests that teachers can easily build confidence through earned praise. Praising efforts and accomplishments can go far; giving positive reinforcement for things like sharing and the ability to cooperate with others are important. . (www.education- world.com/a_curr267.html

Focusing on specific details in drawings or work can a lot more than you think, says Rennee Rosenblaum-Lowden, in her book “You Have to go School, You’re the Teacher!” She also points out that it is very important not to over-praise, because it can become meaningless, and like exaggeration, can usually be seen through by the child. It can also cause the child to feel pressured, if they are constantly expected to be hitting same level of achievement. Other important factors mentioned were to always acknowledge even the smallest of improvements, and to let them build faith in themselves through positive reinforcement. (www.educationworld.com/rosenblaum.html )

Students need to be shown that they are smart, are able to tackle a task, and communicate effectively. They have to see it for themselves repeatedly in order to change the self image they have of themselves. New techniques, such as cognitive therapy by the teacher in the classroom have recently started and have shown significant results. (John Bradford- www.classroomassistant.net/confidence.html)

Therefore, it seems logical to try to make students see for themselves that they clearly have more things that they are bale to do rather than focusing on things they can’t do. They need to see that the weaknesses they have are not always their fault, and can usually be turned into something to use to their advantage. (J. Dennis Huston, Rice University- www.teaching.uchicago.edu/pod/huston.html )

However, children need to be shown how to develop these skills. Shy students do not need to be singled out to be made an example of, rather all students can benefit from confidence building activities. Students of any age can be shown demonstrations or videos of effective communication. The teacher can always point out in class when “good communication behaviors have occurred, and why they are good behaviors” says Professor Lynne Kelly. She also says it’s important to show students how to stand up and give a speech, teach them how to format and properly produce a written or oral assignment. Teachers can also ask students to start with smaller goals so the task at hand, doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Get students to write down their strengths and weaknesses, but not to share with the class. Let them use this to see what they are good at, and improve on to discuss privately with the teacher.

Building rapport with your students is also something that will help them come out of their shell. Creating a classroom environment that supports all students to make them feel comfortable and at ease will help to boost their confidence levels over time. In her advice to Education World Online, Professor Lynne Kelly gave some extra tips on building confidence in the classroom. “Don’t put students on the spot and keep them there while everyone watches them squirm. Have individual conferences with students to get to know them.” (www.education-world.com/a_curr267.html)

But the bottom line is if you are prepared professionally as a teacher you will be able to see clearly the students that need your extra attention and how you can help them. Dressing your role as a teacher; distancing yourself as an authority figure, but maintaining rapport and closeness with your students; enjoying what you do and letting your students see that you enjoy being with them; and always use positive reinforcement through earned praise even for the smallest of efforts, will help you build a better and more positive relationship with your students, become a role model and help them to have confidence in themselves.

www.education-world.com/a_curr267.html- Diane Weaver-Dunne, Professor Lynne Kelly

www.teaching.uchicago.edu/pod/huston.html (J. Dennis Huston)

www.classroomassistant.net/confidence.html John Bradford

www.educationworld.com -Rennee Rosenblaum- Lowden, Gary Hopkins, Professor Carol Dweck