Children who feel confident in their abilities, who believe that success is possible, even inevitable, are far more like to achieve success simply from having that self-belief. With such a known strong connection between how children feel about themselves, and the success they actually achieve, it is vital to raise self-confidence in every child.
Raising self-confidence over time
Over the years since 2006 when Excelr8 Learning began, we have seen countless examples of the importance and value for pupils of improving their self-confidence.
It would be difficult for us to tally up the number of times a child has arrived for an initial free assessment and been told that he/she hates writing or hates maths. In other words, feels bad about the subject and believes they can’t do it.
Such negative self-belief, in fact, becomes self- fulfilling. These pupils don’t enjoy the subject, often maths or writing, they believe they can’t do it, so they approach all their tasks with a negative mind-set.
That negative mind set then causes them to give up quickly when they don’t immediately understand something, because they “know” (or believe they do), they are no good at the subject. In other words, they expect to find it difficult and as a consequence are more inclined to “give up” quickly on a task.
On the other hand, the child with a positive self-image and the confidence to “have a go”, will often easily overcome similar minor hurdles and move on quickly to the next task.
In some cases, overcoming negative attitudes to a subject becomes one of the most important things we can do for a student. Sometimes it takes a long period of sustained effort on our part, praising and rewarding a pupil for every little success, until gradually over time, she/he starts to notice that, actually, the topic isn’t so bad after all.
The Case Study of Adina on this website is a classic example.
Adina had come to believe that writing was a hard task that she wasn’t good at and she didn’t enjoy at all. We helped change Adina’s attitude to writing by structuring activities so that she could achieve success. In a relatively short space of time, she had started to enjoy writing and it wasn’t long before she was working to a very high standard. Before starting lessons with us, such a possibility seemed very remote.
Our strategy of enabling success
One strategy we use for all our pupils at Excelr8 Learning is to provide tasks that enable each pupil to experience high levels of success at whatever task they are working on. Whether it’s tackling fractions or writing an autobiography, we carefully structure each pupil’s task in such a way that success becomes the most likely outcome. In other words, we ensure that every pupil experiences success.
Over the years we have found this to be an extremely important strategy; even perhaps one of THE most important strategies we employ to help all our pupils.
There was one Year 8 pupil, James, who started with us and who was struggling a lot with maths. We started by focussing on his knowledge and recall of times tables because we believe that a sound knowledge of these basics underpins so much of maths. After 3 weeks of concerted effort, we helped James believe he could “do” his tables.
We gave him tasks in which he could see himself improving (quite dramatically as it turned out) every lesson. This made a huge impression on this pupil. Suddenly, James felt he could do maths. Maths was no longer the hated subject. James enjoyed coming for lessons and over time, made substantial improvements in his maths knowledge and ability.
Self-confidence is a vital ingredient in success
In the comments and examples above, we have demonstrated that helping pupils feel good about themselves is a vital element of success at school, and indeed, in all of life. Having the self-belief and confidence to tackle every task with a positive attitude greatly increases the likelihood of success every time. At Excelr8 Learning, we know that helping pupils increase their self-confidence is one of the most valuable things we can do to encourage success in whatever subject or task they are tackling.
That’s why we created our graphic below that shows the important connection between confidence and success.