How to spark student confidence

Increased student confidence is a very important classroom leadership tool. When students feel good about their growth, you will have to spend less energy redirecting students and dealing with distractions. But the challenge is how to facilitate student confidence. What works for one student may not work for another. However, I crafted some strategies that I think can be successful with most students. I encourage you to do a little experimentation. The foundation of these tips come from Spark: How to Lead yourself and others to greater success. It’s a great book on leadership and I encourage you to check it out.

 Reflect on past success

Success feels great. When people experience it, they love the feeling that comes with it. They want to experience it again and again. However, as time goes by and new challenges are presented to students, a reminder of past success may be necessary. Reflecting on past success gives students the energy they need to tackle another obstacle. Build time in your lessons to give students the opportunity to reflect on or document their progress and success.

Developing positive self-appraisals

Thoughts affect actions. As a leader, you have to be mindful of what your students are thinking regarding their progress and ability. Students who think negatively tend to confirm their thinking with actions that support a negative outcome. Conversely, there are those students who view anything less than an A as failing. It’s difficult for students to feel confident about themselves if their own self-appraisals are harsh or unrealistic. It is unreasonable to expect students to outperform their own negative thoughts and words. You will have to help them adopt words and phrases that focus on the positive possibilities that exist. Make sure students are aware of it when you hear them using words to describe their performance that is are not uplifting. Constantly do this to build it into your classroom culture. Here is a list of growth mindset phrases you can adopt in your classroom.

Encourage students to seek out positive role models

The words students say to themselves are just as important as the words they choose to listen to. Words have the power to affect confidence. How many of you have had a student come up to you and say something like, “everyone thinks this class is too hard” or “everyone I know is failing this class”? Once these words sink into the mind of your students, it becomes an overwhelming reality that shuts out any possibility of a Growth Mindset. Encourage students to be careful about who they listen to and allow to influence their thinking. Listening to others complain is not helpful. Instead, students should seek out and listen to those who have a growth mindset and can see the possibilities. As a leader, you have tools to create an entire classroom of positive role models who speak words that come from a growth mindset.

Help students manage confidence-killing emotions

There is so much research that concludes that those who are strong in the area of emotional intelligence are better equipped to deal with the challenges of life and find success. This is because they can manage the highs and lows of life and still push forward. Obstacles are accepted, assessed and attacked. Fear, frustration and anger are normal emotions that we all feel at times. However, allowing those emotions to win can kill student confidence. The most important thing is to help students understand that they have to take action even though they may not feel like it. The question they have to ask of themselves is, “What can I do about this right now?” This question invites students to see past the emotion and search for a solution.

What are your strategies to build student confidence? I’d love to hear about them. Leave a comment please and thanks for reading.


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