Self confidence is a trait that we as teachers know can make or break a kid. Kids that believe in themselves are more likely to speak out, achieve better academically and go further in schooling. Building a “can-do” attitude for our student’s will help set them up for further success and motivate them to become academically proficient. Here are some strategies to build a child’s self confidence!
~Offer the child praise and acknowledgment for their accomplishments. Make sure it is not an empty compliment but meaningful. Tell them that you like how they used a fluent voice to read that page, how they really slowed down on their writing and how nice their penmanship looks.
~Don’t over correct a child or continually interrupt them, this will only harm their self confidence not encourage its growth. It is tempting to stop a reader and point out that they forgot to read a word or that they mispronounced a word. If it does not affect their understanding of the story, then maybe think twice. You could always go back once they are done and tell them how they should pronounce that word. If they are constantly stopped, they will begin to doubt their ability and their reading will struggle more.
~When setting goals for the school year in reading or in math, make sure that they are attainable goals. It is always best to have the student be a part of the goal setting as it will lead to more of a buy in on their part. Through progress monitoring, you can graph their growth or decline and share the information with them. Kids are very receptive to visuals that show how they are performing.
~Focus on the positive, nobody wants to be around a grouch! When kids feel comfortable around their teacher they can relax and focus on the learning and enjoyment to be had. People will always work harder for someone they like and that likes them in return. This will again make the kids feel self worth and grow in confidence.
~Build up each student’s strengths and knowledge. If a student knows a lot of information about something, ask them to tell you about it. “I do not know a lot about playing soccer, can you tell me more about the sport?” Allowing them to explain something to you makes them feel great and it boosts their belief in themselves.
~Students need to be competitive, but not always with each other. Sometimes their best competitor is themselves. Kids should strive to do better than they did yesterday. Read one more chapter then they did yesterday, improve their writing from the day before, go that extra mile academically and socially.
Great self-esteem is needed throughout life and as teachers we have the power to build that for our students! What a great responsibility!