One of the things that fascinates me the most about teaching is the extent to which self-esteem and self-efficacy influence a child’s ability to learn. I have students that do remarkable things but are self-effacing to the point of negativity. I also come across kids with an hyperbolic sense of self even though, well, they’re just everyday people. And then we have all combinations and everything in between.
I consider an advanced student in my class to be someone who doesn’t easily get thrown off track by relatively minor failures, yet is able to recognize them and not make excuses for why they have occurred. If failure is not an issue, it’s like exponential learning.
It’s not surprising that self-confidence seems to equal more positive risk taking. That’s why, when I give feedback to students, I try my best to stress the positive in their work or behaviour. It’s an essential ingredient if you want to become someone that adapts to change quickly; optimism. When describing next steps, I try hard to be as practical as possible as well. To be honest, that’s one of the hardest parts of the job. It takes a lot of energy to be doing assessment like that every day. I often question whether I’m doing it well.
What do you do to foster a positive outlook in the people you work with or teach?