Building confidence It is important to build confidence of the students, to encourage them to participate in the class, and to help them acquire proficiency in a language effectively. When the students start or choose
to learn a foreign language, just as a baby look for his mother when he is hungry, the esl students look for a good ESL instructor through whom they can master the second language in which they are so interested to learn (Anuradha). When the teaching process begins, the ESL instructor?s first task should be to build the trust and confidence in his students by understanding their abilities and levels and keeping a progressive approach in his teaching.
Building confidence in students is essential in order to help them perform effectively. As a teacher, it is important to recognize students? accomplishments and provide positive reinforcement (Neerja). Positive reinforcement increases the likelihood that the student will repeat the desired behavior and encourages the students to try something more challenging. The teacher should express a positive attitude toward students so they see that they are worth the teacher?s time and attention. Encouraging students to do better than they did before, not better than someone else, when they are performing a task or getting involved in an activity is important. The teacher needs to praise the slightest and every improvement and make the fault seem easy to correct. A small word of appreciation or a clap of applause may motivate students to perform with double the energy. It also engenders a positive and constructive kind of competition among the others to perform better. students feel proud of their achievements and really happy, if their work is appreciated in the class. In addition, they show interest in the lessons and start participating more actively in the class. Hence, students? confidence level increases. They will start feeling competent enough to use the language. Therefore, they can use the language correctly out of that newfound confidence that they can interact in a different language (Neerja).
Another method to build students? confidence and strengthen their knowledge of the new language is allowing students to be independent so that they can feel their strengths and abilities grow. It is crucial that teacher does not answer questions for students and force them to find their own solutions. Many teachers are too afraid to let students now know. They think they must fill every gap with their own expertise. It is important that students learn to fill the gap by their own hard work, responsibility, and good attitude. This is showing confidence in their ability to find their own solutions. If the teacher always answers the question, then the students will not develop the ability to search for themselves. Although it may appear at first that this method decreases confidence, the teacher?s confidence in their ability to find out the truth really makes them study hard and therefore they succeed most of the time (Anuradha).
Once the students? confidence and trust along with their interest start to build up, the teacher or instructor should try to adopt new methods by keeping a variety in his teaching process so that the student?s interests keep on increasing instead of losing. A good esl teacher
can arouse interests, confidence and trust of his students by keeping himself well informed with the current trends and modern and new methods of teaching by reading books, magazines, and newspapers. Moreover, visiting different educational institutions, meeting famous and good teaching instructors and having intellectual discussions with them, attending seminars and carrying out different research projects will help broaden knowledge and add variety to the teaching (Ling).
In conclusion, a confident student definitely performs better, concentrates more, and acts as a model or motivator for others (Neerja). Therefore, it is essential that teacher work on building confidence by keeping up with new methods of teaching and appreciating and applauding students work.
Anuradha Mishra, Techniques for Building Trust and Understanding with esl students.
Ling Yiwen, How can I improve the student?s Self-Confidence in Classroom
Activities in Order to Enhance their Learning? china?s Experimental Centre for Educational Action Research in Foreign Languages Teaching, Guyuan Teachers College, Guyuan, 756000, Ningxia Province, P.R. china. June 2004.
Neerja Sharma, Building Confidence in students.