How Do We Promote Self-Confidence in Educators and Learners

This morning as I was scrolling through my “Watch Later” videos and came upon this one from Dr. Ivan Joseph via TEDx Talks channel.  There are several things that resonated with me throughout the video and helped me think about how we instill self-confidence in education…some things we do really well already and others we could extend upon in the future.  Here are a few points from the talk that really stuck with me because I think they apply to how we are with our students as well as how we are with each other as educators:

  • We often talk about how we value flexible thinkers in our world.  Dr. Joseph talks about how parents often shared with him as the head coach of a soccer team that their children were excellent at “seeing the whole field” or at “kicking goals.”  What he really valued was self-confidence.  I think that connection is true in our world.  When learners represent skill in one or two areas we appreciate that and value that, but when a student can demonstrate the flexibility in thought to learn and experience learning in multiple areas…that’s really powerful for us as educators and for the scholars themselves.
  • Dr. Joseph references self-confidence as a skill…one that can be taught and learned and that it is “the belief in yourself to accomplish any task.”  The first strategy Dr. Joseph presents is repetition.  When we are in a situation where the task feels comfortable, we’ve done it a bunch of times and that nervousness is gone…that’s when we see self-confidence increase.  Think about this in terms of the classroom.  I don’t interpret this to mean that we drill and drill until a task is so mundane that learners aren’t intimidated by it but instead to mean that we practice and practice and practice being open to learning, feedback and risks.  If our scholars have the opportunity for repetition in this experience and gain that self-confidence in taking risks, being wrong and learning, then I think we’ve succeeded in instilling the right kind of self-confidence in our learners.  Dr. Joseph does a great job of recognizing the hardest part about this repetition…sticking with it.  It’s hard to keep repeating something when you don’t see the immediate success.  That perseverance is the hard part and that’s our job as educators…keep our scholars going!
  • Self-talk is the next strategy for strong self-confidence.  We see this everyday not only with our scholars but in ourselves.  How often do we avoid situations that we aren’t confident in?  How often do we see or hear students sharing that they don’t feel confident in something?  All the time!  Thoughts influence actions.  We need to model these positive affirmations for our learners.
  • Thirdly, Dr. Joseph shared that adults, coaches and educators should think about how we support or impact our learners’ self-confidence.  Do we point out the positives (catching them while they’re good) or do we point out the negatives?  It’s a simple strategy but a powerful one to bring into the classroom, the hallway…every interaction.  The results of this strategy speak for themselves.
  • Self-confident people interpret feedback the way they choose to.  That perception is what makes us different, helps us power our own belief in ourselves.  That’s where true self-confidence comes from.

This was a great video for a Sunday morning!  In my searching I also came upon this post that features a conversation guide to accompany this video.

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