Reasons to Build Confidence in Your ESL Students
Today we live in a rapidly developing world and one of the most important parts of our lives is communication. It is not a secret that the most commonly used language is English, which is the reason why people all over the world are learning it here and now. While studying a language, we might struggle with plenty of obstacles, so teachers aim to encourage their learners to continue developing their skills even if they make errors.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Valeriia S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
What is Self-Confidence?
Self-confidence is the basis of human well-being: without it, we are not capable to use our potential fully. It improves school performance more than IQ because confident students are willing to try new things and do not consider failure as a reason to stop. Confident learners have a mindset of growth and an internal motto "don't stop trying", which pushes them to experience themselves. Such people are prone to be optimistic and have a character helping them to consider any goal attainable. Confidence also gives youth a social advantage because they believe that they can contribute to common prosperity. It is an integral part of learning a new language; it pushes the student to try and practice speaking. Students lacking confidence would be so afraid of making a mistake, that they won’t even give it a shot, because failing will be much scarier for them than anything else. Furthermore, sometimes learners who know English very well cannot speak in front of others because they are too obsessed with their fear to be incorrect. Losing self-confidence may affect students’ plans and dreams and they may simply give up on learning English.
A professional teacher should provide a healthy environment for his students to learn a language without losing motivation. A teacher must explain and show students that making errors is not bad, rather it is the best way to learn the language by practicing it and experiencing their mistakes. At times, students already lack confidence when they enter the class for the first time. In this case, a teacher should try to make them feel more comfortable by giving them to answer the question he is sure students know the answer.
However, a supervisor should also be cautious when pointing out students’ mistakes. He should not correct every single mistake a student make but at the same time, he should not let them get away with their mistakes. It depends on the environment or a phase of the class. For example, if it is an engaging phase, it is better not to point out students’ mistakes to make them speak and participate in the discussion. However, if he/she or a class continuously repeats the same error it is important to explain it in-depth in a study phase to avoid further errors.
What is the best way for a teacher to build confidence in students?
Do not pick favorite students and judge and teach them equally. Let students correct their mistakes themselves and, only if they do not understand, explain why they are mistaken. Before talking about what students did wrong, point out what they did right and compliment them – focus on their achievements. Build a respective relationship between a teacher and students, and do not scold them. Shouting does not bring any positive effects and only leads to estrangement. Always encourage students to ask questions if they do need more explanation.
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Confidence is a major determiner in the acquisition of the language. It is an engine that will encourage students to practice the language after they learn basics, and practice as all of us know is the only way to improve language skills. Self-confidence and trust in students’ abilities and knowledge are the basis of courage and self-determination. Those traits influence every aspect of our lives: from the mood to motivation, that’s why it is crucial to build and grow confidence in students.
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