As a teacher, Tony Murray saw how celebrating achievements motivated his pupils in the classroom. He reveals how you can help build children’s confidence to help them succeed while learning.
Confidence, or lack of it, governs every action we take during our lives. Our thinking, decision-making, relationships and social interactions, and attitudes towards the tasks we undertake, are all governed by our confidence.
We, the parents and the teachers are best placed to create the conditions for building children’s confidence. This is to support children to have high self-esteem, to try new activities and feel a sense of pride in their accomplishments.
Encouragement and praise
You may wonder how you can effectively offer encouragement and praise as a parent or teacher. One method is to accentuate the efforts and achievements of pupils, to “catch children doing things right”, as my father, the creator of Key Words once said.
A great starting point is to emphasise the tasks that have been done well. When listening to children reading, point to the words that are correct, and then the corrections. If some words or sounds are proving difficult, try making those into a game so there is an element of repetition. From time to time, it’s valuable to discuss what the child has achieved and to talk through how they can improve the areas they need to. This accentuates the positive.
Confidence can increase potential
As an adult, I went with my friends to a keep fit class. I clearly remember the P.E. teacher coming alongside me as I was doing another press-up and saying, “Well done”. Here I was, a mature adult feeling so good and trying even harder. It was a lesson I have always remembered.
I find it most interesting to watch professional sportspeople to see the improvement in their play when they are confident; it is most marked. The confidence seems to increase their potential, their play is more fluid. There is a saying among those who are interested in these matters, “As is confidence, so is capacity”.
Success breeds success
My father William Murray, who wrote the Peter and Jane series, said that sometimes the thrill of success can lead a child into continually re-reading the first book mastered. A teacher in his school said that one of his pupils took her Key Words 1a book home to show off her reading progress. She told the teacher the next day with shining eyes, “I read it to my mum and she was so excited I read it to my dad and he was so excited I read it to my auntie and she was so excited I read it to my brother and he was so excited!”
It’s good to encourage and give time and recognition of success. I believe success breeds success, and I learned long ago that the Key Words with Peter and Jane series, which is so carefully constructed, gives the best possible chance to children to learn to read successfully.
So let’s celebrate achievements and build strong future adults by building children’s confidence. As my dad said, “The first steps should be easy, learned in a happy atmosphere, and effort rewarded with praise and encouragement.”
TagsClassroom learning | English as a first language | Key Words