Building Self-Confidence in the Classroom
Teachers are some of the most powerful influences in a child’s life. As a teacher, you can help children increase their self-confidence as you provide them with a chance to build on their achievements and be successful in and out of your classroom.
Classroom activities provide children with infinite opportunities to affirm their abilities. As students strive to do more in and out of the classroom, they increase their self-confidence in performing specific activities and completing assignments. As a teacher, it is important for you to recognize your students’ accomplishments and provide positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement increases the likelihood that the student will repeat the desired behavior and encourages the student to try something more challenging.Furthermore, positive reinforcement enhances protective factors, which are crucial in helping children resist peer pressures to engage in risky behaviors, such as substance use, that can affect them later in life (see “You Can Do It!”).
|Take These Steps To Build Your Students’ Self-Confidence
|Acknowledge students’ accomplishments privately and in front of the group.
||Monitor your students’ activities to see what they are good at doing and what needs work.
|Allow students to be independent so that they can feel their own strengths and abilities grow.
||Encourage students, when they are performing a task or getting involved in an activity, to do better than they did before, NOT better than someone else!
|Express a positive attitude toward your students so they see that they are worth your time and attention.
||Provide time for students to choose their own activities to help them build their self-worth.
To help children recognize and appreciate their growth and success and to increase performance levels.
- Chart paper, markers
- One copy of “I Can Do This Much” for each student
- Art supplies
- Look What I Can Do easy reader, either printed out or projected from the Building Blocks website
- Have the students recall a time when they couldn’t do something (examples: go down the big slide, zip up a jacket, draw a tree). Then, ask each student to complete an assignment that begins, “When I was ___ years old, I could not ______________ (name the activity). Now, I am ___ years old and I can ____________________.”
- As students complete the sentences, write their responses on chart paper to create a class “I Can Do It” poem. If feasible within your classroom space, ask students to give a brief demonstration of what they can do.
- Next, ask the class for words that describe what it feels like to get better and better at something. Write their responses on chart paper as well.
- Distribute art supplies and encourage the students to draw designs or pictures that express how they feel when they accomplish a specific task (examples: tying their shoes, counting to 100). Create an “I Can Do It” bulletin board in the hall to share your students’ accomplishments with the rest of the school.
- Distribute a copy of “I Can Do This Much” to each student. On one side of the handout, help students list things they can do; on the other side, have them list two or three things they would like to learn to do. Send the lists home to share with their families.
Read the Look What I Can Do easy reader book, from the Building Blocks website, by sharing the colorful pages as a printout or projected directly from the site.
Going Further: For Older Students (ages 5–6):
- Preparation: Make a copy of “Power Positive” for 5- to 6-year-olds, from page 20 of the Building Blocks for a Healthy Future: Activity Guide. Have the students perform some of the activities and write their results.
- Challenge the students to choose one activity to get better at and give them a timeframe in which to accomplish this (e.g., 1 week). Remind students that they will be trying to beat their old record, not someone else’s. Send the sheet home for the students to share and complete with their families.
- “Helping Young Children Develop Self-Esteem,” part of the Fact Sheets for Families series, defines self-esteem and suggests ways for parents to help their children feel good about themselves.
- “You Can Do It!,” from Scholastic, describes the relationship between happiness and self-confidence and how they can be protective factors for children.
- “Developing Your Child’s Self-Esteem,” from KidsHealth (Nemours), describes the importance of a healthy self-esteem.
- “Raising Confident Kids,” from GirlsHealth, describes the relationship between self-confidence and competence.
- “Raising Confident and Secure Children,” contributed by the National Association of Social Workers, discusses self-esteem in young children and how their temperament, strengths, and weaknesses affect their self-confidence.
- “Importance of Self-Esteem in Young Children: You Are the Key,” contributed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, emphasizes the role that healthy emotions play in children’s lives.
- “Competence and Self-Worth,” by J.E. Ormrod, explains research into the basic human need for competence and its relationship to feelings of self-worth.
- “Supporting the Development of Self-Esteem,” by N. Close, explores children’s drive toward progressive development and their struggles with independence.
I Can Do This Much!
Directions: In Column 1, write down things you can do. In Column 2, write down things you want to learn to do.
|I Can Do This
|I Want To Do This