Raising Your Students Self-Confidence

A teacher named Dan received feedback from one of previous students: “You saw the potential in me from the beginning. The fact that you believed in my development as a learner had huge meaning for me. It really boosted my self-confidence and resilience.” That was feedback after 20 years.

One of Dan’s strongest qualities as a teacher is that he always believes in his people. He believes that given couragement and responsibility, anyone can be a good learner. Dan knows how to support kids and the growth of their positive self-image as a father figure and a teacher.

Unfortunately some tearchers tend to do the opposite. Sometimes I run into teachers and parents who don’t believe in their students. I often hear them say things like, “The kids in my class are this and that… They are lazy and don’t take responsibility for their own school stuff.”

And when I meet ‘these people’ I often realize they are nothing like persons described by their leaders. They are not lazy – they were just not mentored with the same kind of “Dan’s” attitude.

Dan’s strength as a teacher is his understanding of the meaning of creating the right class spirit and how it supports a successful learning.

Strength-based teaching is way to life-long success and confidence

People have different types of psychological dimensions. The term PsyCap by Fred Luthans and backed by over 30 years of research, consists of four dimensions: hope, realistic optimism, resilience and self-efficacy. This is so called HERO-model.

It has been proven that poor teaching and parenting can diminish an classroom’s attitude and affect potential utilisation of people’s strengths. The best way to develop kids is to lead student’s learning attitude and motivate them to learn in new ways.

Five ways a teacher can develop Student’s Self-Confidence and Learning Attitude are:

1. Check your ego at the door:

An classrooms’s attitude always partly mirrors that of its teacher’s own attitude.

Ask yourself:

What Confidence and Attitude am I reflecting?

How can I strengthen my own attitude?

2) Believe in your people:

Teachers need to cultivate confidence in their students  and help them to cultivate their strengths. One of my old teacher once said, “Every person we teach is a rough diamond. A teacher’s job is to encourage every individual and help them to see their own skills and potential.”

Ask yourself:

How can I help my kids to find (and use) their strengths?

Which of my beliefs are undermining the learning, growth and success of others?

3) Let go

If you want students to learn to take responsibility, you need to give up control. Let them make decisions about how to learn and decide on their own breaks. Don’t be a micromanaging teacher.

Ask yourself:

How can my people exercise individual responsibility in the classroom?

4) Don’t be afraid of praise and gratitude:

Some of us believe that compliments and recognition make kids arrogant or perhaps even lazy. Of course this is a possibility but it’s highly unlikely. You are better off taking this small risk and believing in the potential they have instead of ignoring it.

However don’t be afraid to give negative feedback aloud (in a positive and respectful manner). Speak from the heart and give constructive feedback. Show an understanding of factors that might have contributed to missteps but at the same time challenge the person to see the weak links that can be developed.

Ask yourself:

When and how did you last show gratitude to a classroom member?

5. Cultivate a team learning environment:

Let you kids to talk about to each other every now and then. Team learning is effective learning. Team learning is accelerated learning.

Ask yourself:

What kind of learning example and use of your own potential have you showed over the past year?


Eduten’s VP of Marketing, Makke Leppänen (teacher, MSc of psychology,) is a visionary teacher and a motivational psychologist. Makke is in charge of spreading Eduten Playgroung globally out.