It is recognised that our pupils and Scotland’s young people as a whole suffer from a lack of confidence. Pupils’ confidence in their ability to learn is linked to resilience and self-efficacy. Luckily these can be developed.

We must recognise that confidence is different from self-esteem and that we would be better served focusing on developing pupils’ confidence in specific areas rather than focusing on raising self-esteem per se.

Feedback plays a very important role in developing this confidence. It has been recognised that feedback which promotes the idea that performance is down to hard work, rather than innate ability, is most successful in bringing about improvements in performance.

A growth mindset, which is characterised by the determination to meet challenges and overcome difficulties and by the belief that intelligence is not pre-determined or fixed, is best developed by praising hard work and effort rather than praising good results. Here are some links to more info on growth mindset.

Matthew Syed: The myth of talent and the power of practice

Khan Academy: You can learn anything

The Guardian: Secret to Success – Practice, not talent

Understanding Talent

Mindset Online: The Nature of Change

Emotionally intelligent responses to different situations can also be fostered by the use of strategies such as Edward de Bono’s Thinking Hats. This technique is useful in encouraging pupils to approach both learning and behaviour issues from a variety of perspectives, ensuring that their responses are considered and thoughtful rather than purely emotional.