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Helping Students to Become Confident

Helping Students to Become Confident | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Being an educator means more than just simply teaching your students their daily lessons. To a large extent, children develop self-confidence in their abilities through their academic environment and that is developed on a daily basis since it does not happen overnight. When students acquire healthy levels of self-confidence, they are better equipped to face the stress of school and college education. Students with self-confidence pay more attention in class, get along better with their peers and generally have a more focused and inquisitive attitude. As a teacher, one can use a variety of activities and techniques to promote self-confidence in your students.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Albright M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.


The first method a teacher can use is of Providing positive feedback to your students when appropriate. The teacher can tell them when they have done a good job on an exam, report or even class participation. Children thrive on praise and will push themselves to do well if they know the teacher will be proud of them for their achievements. According to some scholars, validating your students by smiling at them or letting them know you are happy to see them will also help them to feel worthwhile and appreciated. However, the teacher can give only genuine praise. If you provide empty praise, they will not feel as motivated to push themselves harder.

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Moreover, the teacher can set realistic goals for each student. Teachers should recognize that every child is different and has different learning capabilities, therefore, making goals realistically achievable so that children will feel a sense of accomplishment when the goal is completed. The teacher should not make tasks too easy or too challenging. Secondly, the teacher can use teaching strategies that provide an opportunity for equal participation. For example, in an acting class, make sure all students get equal playing time, resources and materials. In the classroom, arrange chairs in a circle so that all students have the opportunity to make eye contact with each other. According to Barbara Gross Davis in her book "Tools for Teaching," when teachers invite each student to participate, this conveys the message that the teacher values them as individuals with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Students learn confidence from trying to answer questions and solve problems on their own.


Furthermore, the teacher should create an open, positive environment for learning. The teacher should get to know your students on an individual level and call them by name when you ask them a question. The teachers should give them credit for trying even when they give the wrong answer. According to some scholars, a learning environment where children feel safe to express themselves stimulates curiosity and the desire to learn which, in turn, develops confidence. It is very important for teachers to always show enthusiasm for the subject they are teaching and for your students' success. Students will become bored and apathetic if they sense that you are bored or distracted. If you are enthusiastic about your students' success, your students will also be more motivated to achieve their goals.

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More still, the teacher should create opportunities for students to succeed by building on their strengths. If a student knows a lot of information about something, ask them to tell you about it. “I am unfamiliar with how the new gaming system works, can you please explain it to me?” Asking students for their help is a great confidence boost to their ego. They are some activities that can be also done to boost kid’s confidence at certain levels, for example for elementary students. The teacher can have students draw or paste a picture of themselves in the middle of a piece of paper. Ask students to write or draw all of the things that they like about themselves around their picture. Encourage them to add to the picture every time they think of something new they like about themselves. The teacher can also challenge students to keep track of all of the things that they can do and add to the list throughout the school year (i.e. How high you can count? How far can you jump?) etc. For middle school students, the teacher can challenge students to choose one thing that they would like to get better at and give them a timeframe to accomplish this task. (i.e. one week to get an A on a math quiz, two weeks to be able to do learn a magic trick, etc.) Remind students that they are in competition with themselves, not their peers.

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By this one can clearly see that building a student’s confidence is not a one day task but a long term process that requires great patience in the development of the students.

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