"Kids need confidence in order to engage, and they have to engage in order to grow."
In Kajder's book, (I believe it was in chapter 3
but as I'm writing I don't have the text handy) I read this quote and quickly
highlighted it. What a true statement. Confidence--having belief in oneself and
his or her abilities. Confidence in life and in the classroom is crucial.
Though it may take some time to build up, confidence can be the factor that
makes or breaks an individual's ability to grow as a learner as well as a
person in general. Just a little bit of confidence can go a long way.
Take this scenario for example. Just the other day in
one of my classes my group and I were struggling with various problems we had
been assigned. As students were instructed to write their answers on the board
we all let out long whines and groans of "All of our answers are wrong..."
the teacher responded with, "Have more confidence in yourselves!" It
just so happened that we really should have had some confidence considering the
answers the student wrote on the board had in fact been incorrect and ours were
The half raised hand, adverted
eye contact or the straight forward "my answer is wrong" are all
classic cases of a student having little confidence in the classroom which in
turn hinders the learning environment. Getting the students engaged and raising
their level of confidence is somewhat cyclical--the roads of engagement lead
back to how confident or not confident a student is and vice versa. Clearly, in
the areas in which we feel strongest we have no problem participating and those
areas in which we feel weak, we tend to hide behind others. As teachers, that
is a challenge we must face. How do we get those who feel unconfident therefore
uncomfortable, able to not worry whether or not their answer is wrong or if
what they have to say doesn’t match another student’s interpretation?
Basically, Kajder got me thinking about just
one other important factor I as a teacher will need to bring to my classroom
in order for my students to grow both academically and individually.