Confidence or a lack thereof, is something that needs to be worked at constantly and improved in order to maximize learning potential. This is no different in an esl
classroom. If anything this is more stressed as learning a language is very much dependent upon active participation and communication.
The job of building confidence for students often rests on the teacher
. This is no worry however, as there are countless ways to instill this confidence and comfort level in students. Creating a warm environment is an easy way to do this. Younger learners are especially sensitive to their environments and it’s helpful to decorate the classroom appropriately in order to make them feel at ease. This includes adding colorful pictures, motivational posters or posting up work the students have completed. While less sensitive, adult learners are no different in needing a welcoming environment.
According to Anne Lister, confidence should be built up from the very beginning. This is done by makings the students immediately successful. This includes giving them tasks which are below their ability level in order to ensure they can answer the questions
with ease (Lister). Trust is also conducive to confidence. This trust between students and teacher
should be developed from the start. By building an environment in which students learn to trust their own ideas, they are able to speak freely (Lister).
A recurring theme in building student confidence, as found in this course, is pair or group work. Pair and group work will let student practice in a safe environment. Rehearsal with groups before presentations is another opportunity to build confidence. The teacher
can observe students act out a task and give them the necessary support or corrections. When students can be helped and corrected before presenting to the rest of the class they can present with confidence. As a former language student, I believe this controlled/guided practice is vital in building confidence for students. This takes away the pressure of wonder whether or not you have correct material. The task is now focused on an entertaining reiteration to the rest of the class rather than uncertainty in material.
A lot of confidence building is managed in how a teacher
corrects their students. It can be productive to sandwich criticism between praise. Let students know they are doing something right when you continue to correct them. This can be done with interjections such as “Oh yeah, that makes sense. I understand. What else?” (Tutoring esl
Students) It’s also good practice to inform students of how they have improved over time (Tutoring esl
Students). In many cases a simple comment is enough to keep students confident.
classroom is a place where confidence has a great impact on learning. While a lack of confidence is detrimental to this learning experience, it is easily managed with a little extra work and guidance from the teacher
Lister, Anne. Ways to Build Confidence in Students
University of South Caroline Aiken. Tutoring esl
Students: Everything You Need to Know