• Building Confidence in Students

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    Education is certainly the birthright of all people. The motivation of every nation should be to generate literate, well-educated and intelligent residents who are able to add to the proper progress and progress of the whole society.

    There is still mystery on how accurately a foreign language is learnt. On the subject of building confidence there are yet more theories which are even more difficult to confirm. I myself do not trust that confidence is built using one magic activity, but rather it is continuously acquired all over the learning process. That’s why, all the theories I pick to focus on three things Grammar, Drilling, and of course the role of the teacher. All of these will prepare the student for circumstances they might meet later. [1]

    After the opening to vocabulary the first step to getting students to speak aloud are drilling. Since drills are typically controlled and offer a limited level of variation. It is not recommended they be used too often or for long periods of time.

    They do still provide an environment where students can build an acquaintance with short conversations that will be of use to them in the future. I believe, this will add to their confidence to speak English in public. A great exercise for confidence building is a role play on a subject which is relevant to the students needs. The role play will have an information gap and will include a task that will need to be done. It is important for the teacher to listen for mistakes, but not to interrupt the conversation exercise as this will undermine the communicative purpose and break the student’s confidence down. This exercise alone does not in itself fill the student with confidence, but it is a large part in the overall goal of confidence building.

    On the contrary to drilling which builds acquaintance by means of repetition, grammar gives students the ability to form their own sentences to represent their own ideas. [3]

    It was Chomsky who published in 1959 that “Language is an intricate rule-based system and a large part of this acquisition is the learning of this system”. It is with learning system that students develop competence on how a language works and is used. With competence comes confidence in being able to adapt to different situations. Once a student feels they can move freely by means of a language they no longer feel intimidated to engage in a conversation with a native speaker. It is clear that grammar can not be ignored when trying to ready a student for communicating in English. [2]

    After looking at these areas within the teaching system I feel it very necessary to look at how the students receive feedback for the progress by means of these systems. Feedback lies mainly as a responsibility of the teacher and it is on the teachers. Beth Bedford once said “It can be devastating to the confidence building process to laugh at or undermine any attempt made by a student to communicate using English”. If this happens barriers would be raised by the student and they might never feel comfortable to speaking English. Fortunately it is quite easy to positively reinforce a student, whether it is with a wink, a smile, or a “job well done”. We can build up a student’s confidence in them. The reinforcement does not have to be granted. Moreover it simply must be there. In fact too much of a positive reaction or too often dilutes its potency and could seem demeaning. Teachers must be constantly aware of their actions and responses to students.

    To build up students’ confidence in ELT, Teachers should be calm, unruffled and give due consideration to all questions or queries. [2]

    Be consistent, and aware of any prejudice or bias you might have in yourself. Be impersonal, but not non-personal. Be approachable and available. Give students time and telephone numbers or places for further assistance. Get to know your students as people and remember that you, too, are human. Do not be aloof, but get down to the level of the student, especially as concerns the actual teaching. [4]

    As conclusion, I consider the pathway to confidence in speaking English is acquaintance with language and its uses. All of the above areas are essential and need to be acknowledged if a student is to be expected to use English. As I have said above all three of these areas will arrange students for what lay ahead. Everyone would be in agreement going into a test well prepared is much less worrying than a pop quiz, and after all, the major test in language learning is the real world.

    Aleksandra Janiak

  • Building Confidence in Students

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    What is the best way to build confidence in students? Thinking back to a time in the past, at some point, most of us will have had a pang of self doubt in a classroom environment, or been in a situation where all confidence left the room never to return just when it was needed the most. At some point, each and every one of us has suffered lack of confidence on some level. Thinking back to those times, was there anything that anyone could’ve done to help you?

    Some people say that confidence needs to be found from within. In the case of building confidence in students, they need to be able to learn in a comfortable environment, where they are free to express themselves. Restrictions and outside influences need to be kept to a minimum and it’s fair to say, that all the factors associated with building confidence in students, are the responsibility of the teacher.

    The teacher needs to create an environment which benefits both the student and the teacher. Whether it’s on a one-to-one basis or in a group, the students need the confidence to start to learn and continue learning. One of the most important things that the teacher can do is create this environment from the very first lesson. The following factors must be considered and put into action by teachers to help students build their confidence: to be gentle, caring, encouraging, sensitive, enthusiastic and motivated. If all of these above are brought to the classroom, you are well on your way to creating the right environment. Is there more to it than that though?

    It may be easier said than done to do all of the above and still get results. As we know, Rome wasn’t built in a day, therefore patience and time need to be added to the list.

    If the teacher can create confidence from within and then project it to the students, they can make progress in leaps and bounds.

    Another vital factor in building confidence in students is trust. By gaining trust from the student, it allows freedom of speech. By offering the students a classroom environment which encourages them to trust their own ideas and their own experiences, this in turn will allow them to think for themselves and not just try to read the teacher’s mind. The teacher and student can then begin dialogue with each other and by playing with ideas this forms a bond and brings the group together. The above should then help the students gain confidence in the teacher, which then forms a base with which to work from.

    One way of building confidence in students from the very beginning is to make the student successful immediately. This can be done by giving the students tasks which can be accomplished easily. It is not a long term solution, but initially the student will be successful and by them being successful, this in turn gives the student more confidence to continue learning.

    Giving encouraging feedback and praise to the students is also a must. This gives them a sense that not all hope is lost and gives them the will to carry on learning. One should not assume that because a student appears confident in other areas of their life, that they will be confident in their ability with a specific skill, or in a learning environment.

    Anne Lister

  • Building Confidence in Students

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    Building confidence in our students is fundamental to successful learning. The two go hand in hand; therefore it is paramount as a teacher that we install confidence in our students at every level of the learning process. The question is how? The following article will focus on a few key areas I believe are paramount to this.

    Reliability

    When asked Mathew Kearney of Mercersburg College wrote: “One of the most crucial aspects of building a student's confidence in him or her self begins with confidence in the teacher”.

    A student has to believe that what you are teaching them is accurate and correct, therefore it is vital that you are thoroughly prepared when entering a lesson, and have a good understanding of the material you will be teaching. If for whatever reason you are unable to answer a question in class, tell the student you will find out and come back to them by a certain time, do not make it up. As Sue Mackateer noted, children are experts at detecting phonies. Make sure you carry out any promises you make. If you are viewed as unreliable student are likely loose faith in you.

    Manner

    Equally important in teaching, is your approachability. An affable and friendly manner is probably the most effective way of achieving this. However busy you are, ensure students feel able to come to you with questions/problems, and that these are not seen as hindrances but valued. Such on hand assistance allows students to overcome obstacles and consequently learn at a much faster rate than they other wise might. It also works to reduce the frustration a student will encounter if they are struggling on a topic, and feel they have no help. Anything that can increase a student’s success will increase their confidence in their learning ability.

    Student confidence in the classroom

    Michael Thomas, Head of the counseling department at Florida university observed that a lot of his students would rather “remain confused in class than admit that confusion in front of their classmates.” When questioned, it became apparent that they feared “looking stupid” and that they didn’t want to “risk making a mistake” in public.

    This comes as no huge surprise in a society which values flawless performance and places great emphasis on winning and perfection. In truth nobody likes to be wrong, especially in front of their peers; alas a problem arises because in reality learning is often about making mistakes. As a teacher we play a pinnacle role in reducing the negative impact of “making mistakes” .

    Thinking back to my school days, the memory of being laughed at and called stupid by a teacher still haunts me. Such remarks however innocent their intentions will only have a negative impact on a student’s confidence. As a teacher it is imperative to remain positive and avoid criticizing a student, especially in front of their peers. Instead positive re-enforcement such as praise and encouragement are invaluable tools in a classroom. They should be employed wherever possible when eliciting answers form a student. Whether the answers are right or wrong, a student’s effort should be recognized and rewarded accordingly. Such positive re-enforcement acts to increase class participation and build student confidence in the classroom.

    Emma Healey


  • Building Confidence in Students

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    One by one they followed his signal to move forward, crouching behind trees, navigating through the brush, quickening their pace as they heard threats screamed behind them: "I see you, GI! They paused in a dried-up creek bed, Bennett bringing up the rear. "Keep quiet. There are land mines, B-52s and burnt craters all around us," he warned. "This is what a war zone looks "

    He was interrupted by a ringing cell phone. But he was not getting cell phone reception mid-battle in Fallujah, Iraq. He was teaching his signature Hidden Pursuit escape and evasion class to college students who had forgone the pull of dreary classroom lessons for the chance to dodge simulated gunshots and explosions at Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School here.

    Survival and wilderness schools where students learn team-building and leadership skills through building fires and foraging for food have been around for decades, but this course(Bennett’s) is one of a handful of new offerings around the country that feature a more extreme kind of challenge. Research has shown that re-enacting a scene that relies solely on teamwork gives youngsters the chance to shine. If each person has a role whether in the classroom or in the deep dark wilderness then each person has a purpose. With a purpose you have confidence.

    Alexandra Wolfe/Georgina mcdaid

    This is just one theory of how to build a students confidence, I have found many researchers believe that to build confidence in a student and to maintain that confidence in everyday life you need to apply the following;

    • Continuity. Perhaps the most important factor is to have a person in a dedicated post available to give full-time continuity to training, and to be available for backup if things go wrong in the classroom. This is enormously important as it gives students confidence, knowing that there is help available if needed.
    • Availability of equipment. This is crucial for motivation, so that people can go away and straight away be able to experiment and play with it, and not have a wait in which enthusiasm is dissipated.
    • Delivery. It is very important that this is right; continuity and personal experience in the trainer makes a big difference to motivation.
    • Relevance. It is much easier to hold the interest of trainees when the materials used and created bear relevance to their subject area or specialism.
    • Peer Support. Training alongside other students has improved relations and aided co-operation enthusing them for new ideas and equipment.

    (Sheila Forrest BUILD)

    In my opinion, the Survival school is a clever idea, it helps students to feel like they have a role and gives them vital experience with teamwork but in reality can we really see ourselves in schools all over the world giving each and every student the chance to experience this form of confidence building? Personally I agree with Sheila Forrest who states that the most important factor is to give the students praise; followed by routine, continuity, relevance and support. A lesson without routine confuses students, lessons without continuity unsettles the students. Lessons without relevance become very tedious and lessons without support- well, why bother? Most importantly, a lesson without praise harms their self esteem. It may be an old fashioned method but when it comes down to it praise is the key.

    Georgina McDaid

  • Building Confidence in Students

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    Confidence is something that many students lack especially in something that they know nothing about; something that is of mystery to them. For many years, especially being in high school, I lacked that confidence-especially when it came to speaking in front of the class. Once I got to college, things changed a little for me. I became more outspoken, more determined to participate in the classroom.

    In my case, it took years for me to build that confidence in speaking in front of the class. After years of practice though, you do become accustomed to it and it does get easier. I always hated the teachers that would call on me, or make us do oral presentations, but thinking back on it, I am thankful for that. In the end it really did help me out because now I am a lot more confident in speaking in the classroom, or just in front of many people in general. There are some teachers/professors who know what they are doing, and know how to go about building confidence in students. Then, there are others who are just ignorant and could care less, and make some students feel stupid or make them feel like they do not know what they are doing. This would be unacceptable in any class room environment, but especially in a class room of foreign students who do not know the English language. Building confidence in this type of environment is crucial, and is essential.

    There are many ways to build confidence in a class room full of non native English speakers. I think the most important way to start out teaching a class full of non native English speakers, is to show them that you recognize them; you appreciate them. You can do this by recognizing their achievements; acknowledging what they do. Also, every time they do something right, you give them praise, and tell them “good job.” When they do something incorrect, that is ok-you just have to give them constructive criticism, or say something like “That was great, but it is really this way..” or “You say it this way.” So try to wean out the negative and bring in the positive. In other words, make every negative into positive. This way they can feel good about themselves no matter what. Building confidence will not happen over night-it may take months, even years, like it did in my case. Although my case was different because that was building confidence in speaking in front of the class, but you still can take the same approach to both situations.

    Another way of building this confidence for the non native speakers of English(or any students for that matter) is to ask them their opinion. Students feel included and feel important especially if a teacher is asking them their opinion. If you are talking about something, or giving out an assignment, you can just ask them what they think or how they feel. Talking about feelings is very important as well. I think students feel more engaged and accepted if their teacher asks them how they feel about something.

    In general, to make a student feel more comfortable in any type of situation, you have to expose them to their fear, whatever that fear may be. If it is speaking English, or getting up in front of the class to do presentations. The more they have to do it, the more comfortable they will become, and that is how the confidence will be built in the end, combined with how the teacher responds and acts towards their class. Both aspects are very important in building confidence in a class room.

    Jessica Veira

  • Building Confidence in Students

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    While teaching any subject there is one common theme that all teachers must take in to account. It is the area of a student’s self confidence. This is especially important in a TESOL classroom where the goal is for students to eventually produce language on their own in a meaningful manner. In order for students to be creative in speaking a second language, they must be confident in the skills that they have learned. As teachers, it is our purpose to motivate our students to a deeper level of comprehension and knowledge by building self confidence.

    There are several ways that teachers can help to build confidence in the classroom. The first and most obvious technique is simply to create an environment that promotes positivity. Students should constantly be encouraged and praised for their efforts. The TESOL classroom should be free of negativity and criticism. Any effort to produce the English language should be heavily praised. Students that feel good about their efforts and proud of their abilities will want to continue to learn the language. Success breeds a desire to succeed more. TESOL teachers should be cheerleaders, encouraging students not to give up and praising them for success.

    Other techniques that can be used in the classroom include activities that promote success for everyone in the class, not just the brightest students. Activities where accuracy of language is not as important as fluency help all students succeed because there is more room for creativity. Using as much or as little as they know, students try to convey an idea, and there are no right or wrong answers. As well as with speaking activities, journal writing is a good technique to use in the TESOL classroom to provide students with an open ended way to communicate in English. An added benefit of journal writing is that it promotes independence in idea and word choice which is crucial to communicating in the real world.

    Another technique that should be used to build confidence in the TESOL classroom is giving your students useful contexts for what they are learning. Do not simply teach grammar or vocabulary for its own sake, but put it into a context that represents a probable situation the student will face. Then, practice the exact situation time and again so students will become familiar with how the language is used and will be prepared with what they are expected to say. If they are prepared with appropriate answers, students will automatically feel more self confident in those specific situations. Lastly, the simple advice of having clear objectives for your students will give them a sense of confidence because they know what is expected of them. Also using the same phrases repeatedly and employing target language in your own speech as a teacher will help to reinforce what you’ve taught and thus give confidence to your students.

    “Confidence-building sounds very touchy-feely, but it’s very important”. This statement by a TESOL teacher couldn’t be more true. It may be a portion of our classroom that we downplay as teachers, regarding grammar and vocabulary as more important. But in all reality, students won’t use their newly learned vocabulary or grammar if they don’t feel confident in themselves and their English abilities.

    lexi

  • Building Confidence in Students

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    Building confidence in students is very important because without confidence the students will have a hard time applying their knowledge for practical use outside the classroom. There is also a danger for many students (especially for young adults) to give answers the teacher wants to hear instead of bringing their own opinion and expressing themselves with their own words. Because of this fact it is important as a teacher to be creative enough to help the students turn their fear into curiosity. Of course the confidence level of students varies from student to student and from culture to culture.

    To know our students and to know the confidence level of each, we need to have a good and trustworthy relationship not only with the class but also with every individual. This does not only help the teacher to find out more about the culture and the students but it also helps the students to trust and open up to the teacher.

    One of the greatest fears that students have is to make mistakes and feel rejection or embarrassment. In showing the students that even teachers can make mistakes we can help them understand that making mistakes is an important part of learning. To create a comfortable atmosphere for the students we have to be open for several different ways of communicating answers and giving solutions. Any given correction must be constructive and kind. Encouraging words are more productive than causing embarrassing moments in front of the class. Never allow other students to make fun of other’s mistakes.

    To ensure that every student (weaker or stronger) feels comfortable, we have to treat them equally and do not give more attention to any one individual. We should have a motivational attitude towards everyone. Do not put weaker students on the spot but give them, through more simple tasks, better chances to have successful experiences and to build up their self confidence. We have to give appropriate homework so they are getting enough practice so they can be more confident in using their English knowledge. It is wise to give all students many opportunities to make good impressions in front of the class. It is also appropriate to reward them for extra work.

    The students should realize that it is normal to make mistakes in the process of learning (consider a small child learning how to walk). After making mistakes they are used to getting corrected and the form of correction can and will influence their further learning progress (especially affecting their motivation concerning learning languages). As a teacher we have to make sure that we never leave the impression of correcting a student because of their personality or character. We never should correct in a way where they to feel defensive. It would be a good idea to have students conduct roll plays so they become comfortable with the language while they are pretending to be someone else. In this way, they obtain correction not connected to criticism rather to their language performance.

    We chose this topic because we saw in our own lives as students that it can be very destructive if students lack confidence. Not only the time while we are learning is lost but also the love for the language can be lost. Without fun and a healthy atmosphere it is very difficult to learn another language.

    Sascha and Doris Gull


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