How to Build a Student's Self Confidence

A teacher working with students at a group table in a classroom.
... BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Being an educator means more than simply teaching your students their daily lessons. To a large extent, children develop self-confidence in their abilities through their academic environment. When students acquire healthy levels of self-confidence, they are better equipped to face the stress of school and college education. Students with self-confidence pay more attention in class, get along better with their peers and generally have a more focused and inquisitive attitude. You can use a variety of activities and techniques to promote self-confidence in your students.

Provide positive feedback to your students when appropriate. Tell them when they've done a good job on an exam or report. Children thrive on praise and will push themselves to do well if they know you will be proud of them for their achievements. According to Merrill Harmin and Melanie Toth in their book "Inspiring Active Learning: A Complete Handbook for Today's Teachers," validating your students by smiling at them or letting them know you are happy to see them will also help them to feel worthwhile and appreciated.

Give only genuine praise. If you provide empty praise, they will not feel as motivated to push themselves harder.

Set realistic goals for each student. Recognize that every child is different and has different learning capabilities. Make goals realistically achievable so that children will feel a sense of accomplishment when the goal is completed. Don't make tasks too easy or too challenging.

Use teaching strategies that provide an opportunity for equal participation. For example, in a gym class, make sure all students get equal playing time. In the classroom, arrange chairs in a circle so that all students have the opportunity to make eye contact with each other. According to Barbara Gross Davis in her book "Tools for Teaching," inviting each student to participate conveys the message that you value them as individuals with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Students learn confidence from trying to answer questions and solve problems on their own.

Create an open, positive environment for learning. Get to know your students on an individual level. Call them by name when you ask them a question. Give them credit for trying even when they give the wrong answer. According to author Davis, a learning environment where children feel safe to express themselves stimulates curiosity and the desire to learn which, in turn, develops confidence.

Show enthusiasm for the subject you are teaching and for your students' success. Students will become bored and apathetic if they sense that you are bored or distracted. If you are enthusiastic about your students' success, your students will also be more motivated to achieve their goals.

Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.