How to improve a student's confidence

How to improve a student's confidence
13 April, 2013

An extract from our free teaching resource Ebook - 'The Tutor's Guidebook'.

Some people believe themselves to be naturally unconfident doing certain tasks.  Confidence however, is a skill that can be learned like any other, through practice.  People who consider themselves to be confident in a certain situation, have at one point, embraced their uncertainty.  Through practice and taking action, it is possible for someone to change their perception of how they perform and to achieve their goals.


Feeling in Control

If a student feels they are in control of their learning, they feel more confident in their ability to succeed in their studies.  One way of improving a student’s confidence is to create an agreed structure to future lessons.  Familiarity and repetition can help a student adopt a resourceful mindset and aid their learning.  The structure of lessons will vary according to the subject and the level being studied.


Positive Language

During your lessons, try to use positive language as much as possible, even when correcting a student’s errors.  Try reframing the idea of ‘mistakes’ into something more encouraging.  If you highlight an error, give a constructive explanation that leaves the student feeling enlightened rather than deflated.  By the same account, it’s important not to be overly-positive and to praise mediocrity.  By using positive language honestly and effectively your student will know when they have genuinely achieved in a task and will respect your feedback.


Replacing Limiting Beliefs

As an educator, it’s important not to accept the word ‘can’t’ as a reason for a student’s shortcomings.  If your student is struggling with a particular concept or process, break it down into small, manageable chunks and take the time to explain the minor details.  It is often the minor details that make all the difference.  Ask your student to explain exactly what they don’t understand about what they are studying and give a clear, concise explanation of the practice.


Self Expression

Encourage your student to express their opinions on everything relating to their studies including your suggestions.  After a day of classroom learning and being taught mostly through a one-way system, encourage your student to ask questions that they may not otherwise get the chance to ask in the classroom for risk of embarrassment or due to time constraints.  By letting a student know that their opinions are just as relevant as yours or their teacher’s, they will develop a stronger sense of self-worth, knowing that their thoughts are valued.


The Confidence Effect

When a student starts to see an improvement in their learning, their confidence grows and often they find that the techniques they have learned from one subject can be transferred to another.  This can have a knock-on effect and students often see their grades improve in other subjects too.


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