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7 Classroom Activities to Build Self-Confidence

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Publish date: 2019-04-15

​​​​​Check out these 7 great activity ideas of things that you can do to boost self-confidence and self-esteem in your classroom. Simple, easy, to the point, and effective. Let us know which one is your favourite... 


1.    Picture Perfect: learners draw a picture about themselves and include words and sentences which describe all the things they like about themselves. 

2.    Learner Challenge: learners keep track of all of the things that they can do and add to the list throughout the school year (i.e. How high you can count?     How far can you jump?). 
3.    Pride Line: Pride is related to self-concept. People enjoy expressing pride in something they have done that might have gone unrecognized otherwise. It is sometimes difficult for people to actually say that they are proud of themselves. Create a “pride line” poster where learners can acknowledge and add their own accomplishments. Suggested topics could include: good deeds, scholastic/sporting accomplishments, personality traits, habits, etc. 
4.    The Magic Box: Construct a “magic box” with a mirror placed so as to reflect the face of any one who looks inside. Begin the activity by asking, “Who do you think is the most special person in the whole world?” After allowing the child to respond, you may continue, “Well, I have a magic box with me, and you can look inside and discover the most special person in the world.” Give the learner a chance to look into the box after you ask who they think they will see. Some learners may have to be coaxed because they may not believe what they will see. Start a discussion: “Are you surprised?”; “How does it feel to see that you are the special person?” Explain that the box is valuable because it shows that each of us is special. You might then want to ask how it is possible for each of us to be the special one.
5.    The Who Am I Questionnaire: In order to assure that he/she will be as open and honest as possible, you can tell them that the questionnaire will be kept confidential.  Ideas to include in the questionnaire: 

-  School is…. 
- My best friend is… 
- The thing I like best about my class is… 
- Something I’d like to tell my teacher is… 
- I don’t like people who… 
- I’m at my best when I… 
- Right now I feel… 
- People I trust… 
- The best thing that could happen to me is… 
- When I don’t like something I’ve done, I… 
- When I like something I’ve done, I… 
- When I’m proud of myself, I… 
- I’m very happy that… 
- I wish my parents knew… 
- I hope that someday… 
- I would like to… 
- Five adjectives that describe me are… 
6.    The Cube: Learners make a cube using a cardboard template. On each of the 6 sides, write (or draw) something positive about themselves. The cubes are then decorated and hung up on string in the classroom. This can be used as a positive reminder throughout the year.
7.    Conversation Starters: Integrate discussions with learners on a regular basis. Make use of their answers to initiate further class discussions. Suggestions for classroom conversation can include:

-    What is the greatest lesson you have ever learned? 
-    Describe yourself as a stranger might see you. 
-    Describe yourself as your best friend sees you 
-    What are the qualities a best friend must possess? 
-    What makes you special? 
-    Describe the qualities you most admire in someone you night call a hero
-    Describe your favourite relative. 
-    How do people know when you are upset? 
-    Describe your favourite teacher. 
-    Describe the ideal job for a teenager. 
-    Who has it easier: girls or boys? 
-    When have you been wrongly accused? 
-    What must a person do to be trusted? 
-    What famous person would you most like to meet? 
-    If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 
-    What is the best movie you have ever seen?  

The Self-Esteem Construction

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Publish date: 2019-04-08

Just like constructing a house, a positive self-esteem is built on a solid foundation. The level ground of liking yourself and who you are. This doesn’t mean being overconfident- it's just about believing in yourself and knowing what you do well. 


Feelings of self-worth are multi-faceted. It is not one big area. Children may feel good about one aspect of themselves and not so good about another, i.e. scholastic performance, sporting ability, physical appearance, social interaction. All these aspects make up the total sense of self-worth. 


Teachers are the builders who are given the important job of building self-esteem every day, in the normal course of interacting with their learners. You cannot teach learners to feel good about themselves but you can provide them with the necessary tools to nurture their self-esteem, through continual support and encouragement.


Excavating the factors influencing self-esteem:


Age -  Self-esteem tends to grow steadily until high school when the transition of moving from the familiar environment of primary school to a new setting confronts learners with new demands. Self-esteem may then either continue to grow or begin to decrease. 


Gender - girls may be more susceptible to having low self-esteem. It is often difficult to identify when they do have poor self-esteems as their behavior changes can be more subtle than their male counter-parts. Increased social pressure that emphasizes appearance more than intelligence or athletic ability may be a contributing factor. 


Socio-economic status - Researchers have found that learners from higher-income families usually have a better sense of self-esteem in the mid to late adolescence years than those from poorer backgrounds.


Body image - This concept is formed within the context of media images from television, movies, advertising, and social media. These images and narratives generally portray children as perfect – thin, muscular, tall, of a certain race, sex or stereotype. Children who compare themselves to this unobtainable standard may become overly critical of themselves and develop poor self-esteem. 


The phases of constructing self-esteem:


Self-esteem comes from various sources at different stages of a learner’s development. 

Infants start to build self-esteem from birth. Parents who give their babies love and attention teach the infants that they are important, safe and secure. 


During the toddler years, children see themselves through the eyes of their parents, family and care-givers. Toddlers who feel unloved find it more difficult to develop a sense of self-worth. If parents show their children love and treat them as special, self-esteem will usually develop. 


By the age of 3, the preschool child has a clearer understanding of who they are and how they fit into the world they know. Their self-esteem is mainly developed in physical ways, such as comparing their appearance to that of other children. The development of body concept and their growing independence in this stage of life are two significant factors in how they view themselves.


Starting their school career can become a critical point in the development of their self-esteem. In the early school years, self-esteem can revolve around how well the children manage learning tasks and how they perform in sporting activities. It also is affected by their physicality and social skills.


Negative factors at home (e.g. parents arguing) and at school (e.g. being bullied) can have a detrimental effect on a child. Children with low self-esteems may start bullying other children or become victim to bullying behavior themselves.


The self-esteem of a teenager is often affected by the physical and hormonal changes they experience. Their self-concept can become very fragile as they undergo major changes during this phase of childhood. Their outer appearance and being accepted by their peers tend to be their major concerns.


Teenagers who set goals in their lives usually have higher self-esteem than those who do not. High self-esteem is directly related to teenagers who grow up in a very supportive family. 


The pitfalls of a shaky foundation:


The learner with low self-esteem may have difficulty dealing with problems. They are usually overly self-critical. These learners tend to appear passive, withdrawn or depressed. They can be hesitant to try things and often speak negatively about themselves. They can also become easily frustrated and may have a habit of seeing temporary problems as permanent conditions.


Low self-esteem can lessen a learner's desire to focus in class, absorb information and be willing to take risks. Positive self-esteem is one of the building blocks of school success and provides a firm foundation for learning.


Learners with low self-esteem can be a challenge to teach. Their belief in themselves needs to be restored so they can persevere in the face of academic challenges.


6 Tools to build a positive sense of self:


By equipping your learners with the critical skill of self-esteem, you are equipping them to succeed both socially and academically.


Acceptance -  Learners whose needs aren’t being met may begin to feel that they aren't truly a part of the class, or that they are not living up to the teacher's expectations. 


Establish realistic expectations and goals that reflect the individual needs and strengths of each learner. Engage the learners in conversation about their interests and try to incorporate these interests within the learning environment. 


Learners with low self-esteem are often isolated from their classmates. Help to promote a learner's peer involvement with others by finding ways to integrate them into activities.


Responsibility - Help the learner feel important in class by giving them suitable classroom duties. When learners are encouraged to contribute to their community, it gives them a sense of ownership and pride.


Ownership - As tempting as it is to solve learners' problems by telling them what to do, it is even better to give them opportunities to solve problems independently.


Provide them with decision-making opportunities to help boost their confidence. Actively involving learners helps them to feel in control and reinforces their sense of ownership and empowerment. Overall guidance by the teacher is still required. Help learners to set personal goals and refer to their progress throughout the year.


Self-discipline - Learners who have difficulty developing self-discipline also have difficulty developing self-esteem and resilience. These are the learners who act before they think and often express opposition to limits, rules and structure.

Involve your learners in the process of establishing the classroom rules. If learners create the rules, they are more likely to remember and adhere to them.


Introduce the concept of self-talk as a tool for learners to build their confidence independently.


Encouragement - Communicate genuine appreciation and encouragement of your learners. We tend to focus on learners’ negative behaviours, and their positive qualities and strengths aren't sufficiently recognised. Make a consistent effort to focus on the positive.


Back this up by the use of words and actions. Showcase their accomplishments as the school year progresses. Reinforce the positive by making a point of informing parents of their child's successes.


Coping with failure - The fear of failure is real. Most people worry at least a little about making mistakes and looking foolish. Intervene early to help avoid a learners' fear of mistakes and failure. The learner that is more resilient, with a stronger self-esteem, tends to view mistakes as learning opportunities.


Start a discussion at the beginning of the school year about making mistakes. Ask the learners “Who fears making mistakes?” Be sure to raise your own hand and involve yourself in the conversation.


Brainstorm possible solutions on how to minimize the fear of failure. Be aware of how you respond to the learners’ mistakes. Change an incorrect answer into a teachable moment.


The benefits of possessing a solid self-esteem are clearly evident. With a more optimistic outlook on life, these learners will be equipped to handle conflict more easily. They have a stronger sense of self which will help with positive social interaction as well as resisting negative peer pressures.


For everyone, self-esteem comes from knowing that you are loved and feeling that you belong. This is an ongoing, continual process. Keep this in mind as you help your learners to build their self-esteem, brick by brick.


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