Academic confidence is the unsung hero of academic success. When students have a strong foundation in knowledge, a lack of confidence is the one thing that can prevent them from performing well. It is the keystone that holds everything together.
The main reason academic confidence is valuable is that it allows kids to have more success in the classroom.
However, academic confidence can also help improve student mental health. While it is important for all people to have self-confidence, it is particularly important for teens and adolescents. The World Health Organization has stated that “poor mental health can have important effects on the wider health and development of adolescents and is associated with several [negative] health and social outcomes…such as conduct disorders, anxiety, depression and eating disorders.”
Putting students in a position where they feel skilled, strong and capable in their academics reduces negative self-thought. This can not only improve their academic success but also their overall mental health.
How to Develop Academic Confidence
Confidence isn’t something you find on your way to the classroom. It’s something you earn long before test day ever arrives.
Intelligence doesn’t cause confidence. Every year, we at ASA meet new students who learn and study well, yet have little academic confidence and don’t know how to get it. This lack of confidence may lead to poor academic performance and social isolation.
However, there are ways you can boost your child’s self-esteem and confidence in school.
- Focus on Problem Areas
If your child struggles with reading or math, praise their milestones in these areas. Your child will have even less confidence in difficult subjects, so he/she needs more support and encouragement.
You can give children the support they need to succeed in these subjects. Consider these ideas:
- Sit down and help your child with homework or studying for problem subjects for an extra hour each night.
- Compliment children on how hard they work in their problem subjects, not on how well they perform. Effort trumps ability.
- Have your child complete homework assignments in a specific order. Your child should complete the homework for easier classes first to build the confidence needed to tackle harder the subjects.
The way your child feels about their subjects often dictates how successful they are in getting good grades. Help them start to develop positivity towards their problem subjects.
- Provide creative solutions to difficult problems
One of main reasons why students struggle with a subject is that they haven’t been given effective strategies for understanding and applying the information they are presented with. In a large classroom, a teacher often presents a problem and then explains how to get to the solution. If a particular student doesn’t relate to the explanation or if the teacher moves on too quickly, then the learning is lost and the student loses confidence. If this pattern is repeated, the child’s confidence reduces to a point that the student has no energy for tackling almost any task related to the subject.
Try to work with the student to find practical strategies that work for them and take the time to ensure these strategies work. This can often involve lateral thinking, understanding how the student learns and brainstorming solutions.
- Search for and celebrate the small victories
When a student’s confidence is deflated they have very little faith that they can conquer even the smallest of tasks. Start seeing every small success as a sign that the student is beginning to understand that they can achieve more than they thought they could.
Make sure to look for the glimmers of understanding and foster them. Celebrate the small victories – the big victories will come later as the small victories pile up.
- Help them foster a love for the subject
Some people might consider that a student who hates Maths will always hate Maths, but we’ve found that’s definitely not the case. A dislike of a subject is often linked to a lack of confidence around it. When the confidence builds, so too does the value attributed to the subject.
Students who receive support through tutoring, mentoring, enrichment and skill-building activities that are specifically designed to improve their grades at school are often more capable of entering competitive careers.
- Eliminate Comparisons
By comparing children to someone else, even in a positive way, you are teaching them that their sense of self-worth depends on how they’re doing compared to others. You must teach your child to note his or her own progress and achievements without comparisons.
For example, instead of asking how your child did compared to the class, ask how he/she did compared to the last assignment.
Let your child know that no one is perfect and he/she isn’t expected to be either. The way you react to your child’s mistakes and disappointments will influence the way he/she will react to future failures.
- Encourage Talent
Encourage your child’s natural talent and gifts. If your child is musically gifted, enrol him/her in an extracurricular activity that will foster that talent. Encouraging children to participate in activities they are naturally good at will give them a boost of self-confidence. For children, knowing they are good at something will also help them cope if they didn’t do as well on an assignment in school.
Helping to build up your child’s academic confidence can be just what they need to help them reach their goals and achieve success in the 2019 academic year.
To find out more about the services we offer and arrange for a free consultation with a member of our team, contact us now!