Teaching Strategies to Enhance Self-Confidence in Students for Speaking
Speaking is the most frequently used language skill. Moreover, English has attained an important status on the international level and become a lingua franca among speakers of languages. This encourages EFL students to learn it. They want to become proficient speakers. However, some psychological factors prevent them from achieving their goal, among them is a lack of self-confidence.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Joseph K. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
According to Whitaker (1995), “every learner requires first and foremost: to be noticed, to be attended to, to be valued, and to be affirmed. Out of that attention and affirmation grow the confidence and, yes, the courage to learn: if the teacher dares to teach, that is, to attend to and care for the learners, then the learners in their turn can dare to learn.” Self-confidence provides learners with motivation and energy to become positive about their learning. It also creates the drive in them to acquire the target language, enjoy the learning process, and experience real communication. Researches in language teaching have revealed that foreign language learners’ often seem passive and silent in the language classroom. This, therefore, calls for an urgent need for EFL teachers to enhance their students’ confidence to help them take part more actively in classroom oral activities. Some of the strategies to achieve this is as follows;
Teachers should create a comfortable and flexible atmosphere.
In a friendly environment, students feel free to speak up; they are not scared of making mistakes and sounding silly. “they can make certain that even if they make a mistake or run into difficulty, others will respond in a friendly and encouraging manner” (Javad, 2014, p.118). It is therefore very necessary to provide learners with such an environment where they will have the opportunity to use English at ease and which are supportive to develop self-confidence. They will speak and participate more because the teacher and the classmates are helpful.
Creating self-confidence in students requires building a better rapport with them.
Brown (2001, p.202) claims that “ Rapport is the relationship or connection you establish with your students, a relationship built on trust and respect that leads to students feeling capable, competent and creative”. Teachers can again build this rapport by praising their students' efforts, this helps them to trust their abilities and give them the energy to work more. Teachers should care for their students, listen to them, give them the same chance to participate, and use humor from time to time to establish a positive relationship with them to increase their self-confidence and make them less anxious in speaking English.
Teachers should be confident to foster their students' self-confidence.
According to (Brown, 2001) “ the development of students’ self-confidence is related to the teachers’ behavior. The mannHowesent themselves to the students and how they act in the classroom can affect the students”. Self-self-confidence feels comfortable in the classroom and can convey their messages to students without disturbing them. Their calm and confident nature, and actions can promote students’ self-confidence. It is therefore very crucial for teachers to trust their abilities and love what they do to be a good model for their students and inspire them to become confident and successful speakers.
Another way to increase students’ self-confidence is to put them into groups and pairs.
Group and pair work increases cooperation among students, encourages them to become autonomous learners, helps in creating a friendly and comfortable atmosphere in which they feel less afraid, and offers them more opportunities to speak, share ideas and learn from each other. An important thing to note when putting students into groups and pairs is that; teachers should not put the more talkative students with students who are less talkative or shy together because it will allow the talkative students to dominate the group, which will not give the shy students chance to speak and express their opinions which will affect their self-confidence because they will prefer to keep silent. As a result of that, dominant students should be put in one group so that the other students can feel comfortable and participate without being afraid because their English is not better than the dominant students. Teachers should again change members of the group from time to time because this will allow them to learn from each other, establish a good relationship between them, and improve self-confidence.
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As EFL teachers we may have come across situations where some of our students keep silent all the time in class. They do not want to speak English even when they know the answer to a simple question, they hesitate to open their mouths. Encouraging students to talk in a language classroom is therefore a problem that most language teachers face. There is a direct relationship between students’ confidence and their speaking behavior in the second language (L2). Self-confidence contributes to the learner's willingness to communicate in a foreign language. This, therefore, calls for EFL teachers to devise techniques to motivate their students to become confident and successful speakers.
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