“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation” – Arthur Ashe
Life is not a bed of roses. To achieve something in life, we need to believe in ourselves and must have perseverance. A firm determination, dedicated effort and self-confidence are the stepping stones to success.
Why is self- confidence important?
Self-confidence is our inner voice which gives the strength to do something and march towards success. In today’s epoch, there is no place for those who lack self-confidence. Self-confident people can judge their position in any environment, be it their schools, workplaces or the community where they live. They use confidence as a ladder to improve their position and excel in whatever they do.
People can grow and succeed only if they live in a positive atmosphere where they receive constructive feedback. In such a positive environment, people can nurture their talent and skills. They learn new things, lessons from their past mistakes and understand how and what they need to do to attain their goals.
However, if people live in a demotivating environment where they are constantly compared to others, never rewarded for their efforts, and seldom encouraged to do something outstanding, their self-confidence is hampered. Such people start underestimating themselves, and they develop an unhealthy mentality, thereby resorting to unfair means for achieving success.
How to build self-confidence in students?
Children are our future, so it is imperative to educate them well and guide them on the right path. Parents are the first teachers of children, and it is the combined responsibility of parents and teachers to help children bloom and acquaint them with the essential qualities and skills.
- Every child must be helped to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
- Children should be taught to speak confidently and with dignity.
- Children should learn to be honest with themselves and others.
- Children need to develop a positive outlook towards life.
- It is essential to make them believe that they can improvise themselves in order to achieve the things they want, faster and easier, thereby enjoying life.
Why do children struggle with Math confidence?
Struggling with Math can affect a child’s overall self-esteem and social life. Math anxiety causes poor Math performance and also poor Math performance evokes Math anxiety. Without a strong mathematical foundation, students experience Math failures and it embarrasses them. It has been observed that generally, students develop a negative attitude towards Math from their family members or peers who have fear of Math. Students may also dislike the subject if they have insensitive Math teachers. If children find an answer to their ‘why’ and ‘how’ related to various mathematical concepts, they develop proper conceptual understanding of the subject.
Then, they will definitely start developing a liking for the subject. Developing a mathematical mindset is critical for every child. Solving any real-life problems require an analytical and mathematical mindset which in turn will set up a child for lifelong success.
10 strategies that the best Math teachers use to build children’s confidence in Mathematics:-
1. First and foremost, there is a need to help the children think mathematically so that they develop a love for Math. Every Math teacher should try to incorporate various approaches that bring Math to life. For example, drama and role play, music, songs and dance which includes Math.
2. We should realize that there is nothing called ‘Math gene’. We should make every child believe that each one of them has math potential and it is through hard work and practice that every child can be great at Math. Teachers and parents should build such confidence in children that they can always say, “If I do not know, let me find out.” It is essential to identify children’s individual strengths and build on them so that children believe in themselves.
3. Math teachers should provide enough time and space to their students for developing self-confidence and mathematical thinking. Children need to be provided time to understand any concept thoroughly so that they can easily apply the knowledge gained to a wide variety of topics. Sufficient time should be provided for mathematical discussions to take place which would enable the children to discuss and portray what they know, what they do not know and how they can improvise themselves.
4. Playing mathematical games inspires mathematical thinking, improves student’s reasoning ability, provide a better understanding of concepts as children find different solutions to various complex problems. If mathematical games are included in Math classes, math learning becomes more fun-filled, motivating and engaging. Students can be asked to create their own Math games or modify the rules of an existing game.
For example, a modification in the ‘Snakes and Ladders’ game with a mathematical twist could be like this –
– Spread out the Snakes and Ladders mat on the floor.
– A child picks up a number chit and gets a puzzle card.
– If the child solves the puzzle correctly, the child moves to the number mentioned in the chit picked up.
– The child picks up a new number and gets a second puzzle. As the child moves on the mat, he climbs up ladders or slips down if he encounters a snake. When the child fails to solve a given puzzle, the next child starts his game. This is how the game proceeds.
5. A good Math teacher makes Math visual and accessible as this may fuel the students’ desire to investigate Math topics and provides opportunities to acquire a positive Math outlook. By displaying mathematical aids in the classroom and by engaging the students in creative hands-on activities, teachers introduce the students to mathematical thinking informally and get their students excited about Math. Students can build physical models to express their understanding of mathematical concepts in a better way. Every Math teacher should celebrate their students’ work by displaying their creative work in the classroom or by displaying photographs of children actively involved in Math learning. These are few excellent ways of changing the attitude of students who have lost interest in Math due to its abstract nature, as they understand concepts better with the use of concrete things.
6. Maths teacher can boost the self-confidence of the students by helping them to tackle complex aspects of Mathematics more simply through everyday activities. For example, children can be asked to cut a pizza into four equal parts and acquaint the children with the fact that they have shown skills in fractions. Their knowledge can be extended further, by asking them to cut the pizza into eight parts. Teachers can take various examples of day to day activities and make their students understand how Math learning happens naturally – like walking to a shop (deals with calculation of time and distance) and purchasing from that shop (deals with calculation of money).
7. Another meaningful way of building confidence in Math among children is by acknowledging their works positively and genuinely listening to their answers, without saying ‘Incorrect Answer’ every time. Some mathematical problems can have multiple solutions or may have different ways of solving them. Math teachers should always value different ways of thinking and accept all correct answers if the students provide the right justification. Math teachers should make the students understand that it is alright to make mistakes, but they should learn how to correct those mistakes and use them in the next step of learning. Teachers should provide a safe and supportive environment to allow the students to discuss their ideas freely and have healthy debates about the topic.
8. Providing feedback on time plays a significant role in building self-confidence and has a developmental impact on Math learning. Children should be taught what is right or wrong constantly as this would help them to identify their mistakes or misconceptions and they would learn to rectify their mistakes and plan for better learning. Children should be encouraged to consider mistakes as learning opportunities.
9. Math teachers should have students set their own Math goals. These goals will help students understand their progress in their Math learning. Teachers should monitor their progress periodically and assist the students to take appropriate measures to reach their target. Teachers should celebrate their student’s achievement of goals and make them proud of the hard work that has helped them to accomplish their goals. The next goal should be set immediately for further Math learning.
10. Celebrating Math week is an excellent way of exploring and learning Mathematics beyond the boundaries of a classroom. A range of different activities can be designed for engaging all the students in Math learning like – Math puzzles or riddles designed by students to enhance their mental ability, brain games like Sudoku that helps to stimulate their cognitive abilities, merging Math with poetry, musical rap based on Mathematics, street play to show the importance of Mathematics in day to day life. Some renowned person who is an expert in Mathematics can be invited to talk about Mathematicians, their discoveries, etc. Organizing treasure hunt competitions and math quizzes are fantastic ways of engaging students.
We should understand that success in Mathematics breeds confidence and confidence in Mathematics breeds success. Like any other skill, self-confidence can be learned, practiced and mastered. Once we master it with the right guidance and support from the right people, everything in our life will change for the better.
To conclude, here’s a beautiful quote on mathematics –
“Mathematics may not teach us how to ADD happiness or how to MINUS sadness, but, it does teach one important thing..every PROBLEM has a SOLUTION.”
With 8+ years of teaching experience, I am honored to be in this role of being a proud teacher. It feels amazing to know that I have touched the hearts of many young people and helped them to plan for a better future. I am passionate about bringing about a spark in a child’s life, that ignites a love for learning.