Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in Guozhuang Zhen? Are you interested in teaching English in Qingdao Shi? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.
In my experience, one of the major keys and factors to understanding and mastering any subject or topic, is confidence. And of course, with that being so, one might conclude that some of the major factors that contribute to under-performance by students and people in general, are things like insecurities, fear and timidity. I know this for a fact, as both a student and a teacher at various points in my life. As I look back at my years as a student, I can’t help but think of how I’ve robbed myself of many great moments, opportunities, and experiences. In my time as a mathematics student at university, I can recall numerous occasions where my lecturers would ask for solutions to questions that we previously worked out, or random questions about the topics they were presenting. Many times, I would know the answer, but out of the fear of being wrong, I would keep quiet, and then some other student would give the correct answer, and it would be the same as my solution. I would often think of what I could have or should have done, but the past couldn’t be changed. My reason for regret was that in the times that I did answer, I found that it built my confidence and also my motivation to do more, and to aim higher. And that there is the first reason why increased confidence in students is important. Confidence builds more confidence, and motivation about the topic and being a better student. I have noticed this same trend in my own students as of recent and have pulled from my personal background to help such students to overcome their shyness and timidity. Some of the steps that I’ve taken have included reassurance to the student, that whatever they say is okay. That he/she is in a safe environment. That no other student is to laugh or ridicule, but instead show support. Motivating the student by always making what they say sound intelligent, even if it has nothing to do with our present topic, relating it even to another topic if necessary, and so on. After implementing and practicing these methods, I noticed an increase in class participation, even among the quietest students. And not only that they would participate, but they would also answer questions with a calm look on their faces, confident from previous ‘right answers’ which may or may not have even been right. Confidence built more confidence. Their activity and hence their benefit from the lessons increased because of it. Practice makes perfect, and especially in English language training, the confidence to practice is most important. With this being said, practice also reveals the truth. There are occasions where students may feel that they are strong in an area, but when tested, they realize that they are actually not. The confidence to practice is important in revealing hidden weaknesses. Besides being timid and shy, I’ve found that the lack confidence in students, was as a result of their fear. Fear of making mistakes in front of others. In this case, students doubt their own ability. Fear of being criticized. This may be as a result of the lack of confidence in their teacher. Students my think that their teacher might be harsh with them or embarrass them if they give the wrong answer. Fear of being thought a fool. Students fear looking unintelligent in the presence of their friends and classmates. As previously mentioned above, it is important for the teacher to create a safe environment for their students to express themselves. Freedom from the fear of making mistakes, as making mistakes is a great opportunity to then learn what is right. Freedom to be wrong in front of their classmates, since the environment created by the teacher is one of helpfulness and not ridicule. Freedom from the fear of being criticized by the teacher, as the teacher is understanding, patient and helpful. In conclusion, building confidence is important as it encourages students to practice the language, and also, increased confidence results in increased motivation, which helps the student to take all necessary steps, with or without the help of the teacher, to pursue success in his/her studies.