Working on Student’s Self-Confidence
When it comes to an ESL (English Second Language) class, the first thing we should remember is that non-native speakers are normally deprived of the level of confidence they need to fulfill their learning potential in its entirety. This is why it’s important for a teacher to provide them with an appropriate background at a stretch of a lesson, favorable atmosphere and an opportunity to move at their own pace.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Valentina V. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Psychological Aspects of Teaching
It goes without saying that not only students, who learn a second language, can be rather short of confidence but they may also feel especially vulnerable when trying to put their knowledge into practice. The task of a teacher is to defuse tension being moderate and consistent. We should bear in mind that it’s ok to make the necessary corrections during targeted practice, but we don’t have to interrupt or correct as much during free-speaking activities. It’s better for students to just let go of their fears and try to speak. Clear, yet illuminating instructions and guided help when needed are enough. This, we believe, will enhance students’ engagement and efficiency of learning.
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Another cornerstone of success lies in offering constant praise and acknowledging students’ accomplishments, both in private and in front of their classmates. Confidence can tumble on the ground for various reasons. However, it’s in a teacher’s power to support learners by taking the focus away from their weakness and placing it on their strengths. The best strategy to praise students looks like this: always start with a positive statement, and then you may proceed by referring to what they need to work on. Even though we are telling them what they did wrong, they get a more positive message by hearing what they did right first. Besides, showing students that we are on their side and that they are worth our attention seems to embrace a sense of just-rightness.
On the other hand, it’s also of great significance to give our learners opportunities to succeed. They always know something we don’t, and the chances they’ll do a great job explaining their experience are rather high. This is an incredible confidence boost to their ego. The topics where students can make a go of it vary a lot. It depends on the age, social and cultural background, hobbies, occupation, etc. Those who have special talents or skills can teach their classmates arranging different workshops or preparing oral presentations. In other words, students won’t be taken aback as they are taught and teach at the same time.
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To draw the conclusion, while teaching students in an ESL class we should pay attention to building students’ confidence, encourage them and inspire to experiment with the language. Confident students feel they can accomplish what they are set out to do in the classroom and beyond when they have to use their language skills in the real world. Moreover, learners become ready to set goals by themselves and use English more deliberately. It means they start developing their own inner motivation and built language confidence.
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