This is a story of a seven-year-old who learnt, but a bit differently. It was no surprise then that she lacked the confidence to present her ideas in front of others. After figuring out her learning style, the teachers at GIG International School, Singapore collaborated to not only help her learn better in her own way, but they also helped her to successfully present her thoughts and ideas, giving her many opportunities to do so. The parents were kept updated at all times, and they, in turn, informed the school of their own supporting techniques at home. Eventually, this reticent child made a (Speech & Drama) CCA presentation on the stage, and she did it confidently and beautifully. GIG is proud of this child who has shown what confidence looks like.
Confidence is the belief in self and the belief in one’s ability to succeed. Confidence in children, therefore, is not just a desirable trait, but it is also an essential one as it allows Children to be open to new challenges, thus ensuring that they reach their full potential.
Though confidence can vary according to the situation, parenting experts like Pickhardt, believe that this trait can be nurtured if encouragement and support is consistently provided by parents. In other words, if parents and school can partner is to provide a similar supportive environment, a child can grow up, ready to face the world with confidence.
Psychologists suggest the following ways in which confidence can be nurtured in children:
- Allow them to do things by themselves, even if it means that the work done is not exactly perfect. Simply promoting independence can nurtures confidence.
- Resist the urge to constantly intervene and instead, allow children to learn from their own mistakes. However, it is also worth noting that constant failures may rob a child of confidence. Therefore, as adults, we need to be aware of which task will teach them a valuable lesson and which will rob them of their confidence.
- Assign goals or tasks that are age-appropriate and manageable. This ensures a reasonable chance of success and eventually leads to a belief in his or her own ability.
- Allow “scaffolding,” or framework to assist the child to do a difficult task. This may mean demonstrating beforehand how a task is done, suggesting an easy to understand the strategy, or even finding a simpler method of approaching it. Apart from providing help with a task, scaffolding also assures the child, that help is available when needed and that it is okay to ask for help, whether at home or at school.
- Encourage, encourage, encourage! Never underestimate the power of motivation and encouragement. Praise helps too. However, it is good to maintain a balanced approach to praise so as to ensure that the child doesn’t get a false and inflated idea of his or her ability.
- Praise the effort, rather than the outcome. This encourages the child to try out challenging tasks without fearing failure.
- Options, Alternatives or Allow Choices. Choices, and especially a set number of choices, empower children, increasing their sense of confidence.
- Allow your child to be curious. According to expert, Paul Harris, asking questions is a helpful exercise for a child’s development. So, go ahead and answer as many questions as you can
- Ensure an environment which nurtures a positive attitude towards each task.
- Successes and failures, both are an inevitable part of life. Allow children to express emotions that accompany both. Verbalising what they feel gives them a channel of self-expression and prevents bottling up of emotions.
Nurturing Confidence at GIG
GIG believes in providing each child with motivation, independence and the freedom to express themselves. Apart from ensuring an environment that nurtures confidence, the school also provides Life Skills sessions. These sessions equip the students to face the challenges of everyday life. Additionally, they also provide the necessary vocabulary and guidance needed to express their emotions that accompany success and failures.
In fact, the story of the seven-year-old is not the only success story at the school. There are countless more. Mrs Aishwarya, a parent gushes about another success story, her son’s. A shy kid, he has benefited a lot from the support he has received at the school, especially the support and encouragement of his Speech & Drama teacher, Ms Hemali. The child’s increased confidence level is now evident for all to see, and even family friends have started commenting on this happy change.